“Bind me like a seal upon thine heart:
love is as strong as death.”
– Song of Solomon 8:6
I am alone in the garden. The sun is rising. A little robin tugs at a worm in the grass.
In true love, there is no object of desire, affection and tenderness, for the beloved has collapsed into the lover. The object has collapsed into the subject, and there is only love. Only love, and nobody to be aware of it, nobody to know it and nobody to deny it. Only love, both radically alone, and intimately connected to all things.
A subject and an object can never be in love. They are forever divided from each other, split from each other. They can only gaze longingly into each other’s eyes across an unbridgeable divide, with the fervent hope that one day, perhaps one day, love will bridge the chasm, and the isolation of multiplicity and fragmentation will give way to the joy of intimate companionship, togetherness, and unity.
But no, love cannot and will not bridge the gap, for the gap is inherent in the subject-object split. Indeed, the gap is the subject-object split, and nothing can fill a gap which is so deeply engrained into the very foundations of our experience. No, love cannot bridge the gap, because a subject and an object, a lover and the beloved, are inherently, fundamentally separate. It is unlikely that they will ever truly meet as people, as human beings.
True love is the death of this terrible divide, and with it, the ending of all division between two people. This will never be achieved through effort. The very effort to end the division strengthens the division, gives power to the division. This is because the division is not there. It has never been there, and it will never be there. The division is an illusion, and when you fight an illusion you are bound to lose.
Lovers can never meet through effort, although they may die trying.
So, our lovers continue to gaze longingly at each other across this unbridgeable divide, a divide that, in their innocence, they have created for themselves. How to help them? Any effort they make to come together will pull them more strongly apart. Are they doomed to live and die like this? Is there a way out?
Yes there is, but it involves death. Not physical death, but death of the ego, death of everything that separates, death of everything that fragments, death of everything that divides, death of everything that isolates, death of everything that has been carried over from the past, death of everything that projects into a future. Death of the idea of love itself. Finally, it will involve death of the beloved, death of the lover. Death of you and me, and with it, death of all that comes between us. A descent into pure nothingness, a plunge into the unknown.
It is quite a risk.
He who risks in this way may taste it, the sweet and simple joy of radical aloneness that is true love. Look! The robin tweet-tweets as he hops over the dew-soaked grass, and the morning sun begins to warm and wake the slumbering creatures in this Garden of Eden that we have named Earth, and nowhere can I find isolation, loneliness, separation, because all things are in all things, and everywhere is mother, everywhere is home.
And I smile to myself with the realisation of the utterly, utterly obvious. I have not found you, but I have recognised something that has eluded me for a lifetime: You are not out there, but in here. You are part of the experiencing structure I take to be myself.
So I do not love you, for there is no ‘me’ to love and no ‘you’ to be loved. No, I do not love you, for you are an integral part of that which loves.
The great search ends here, now, in this moment. There is only love, and you are that – you are love itself. You are what I feel now, you are the thoughts bubbling up from nowhere and dissolving into nothingness, you are that robin over there, and the fresh dew on the morning grass, and the sun in all its radiance, and we are eternally, timelessly bound in this way, you and me, together with all things. Except there is no ‘me’, no ‘you’, and no ‘things’. So we will never be apart – no, we cannot be apart, not now, not ever.
So, this morning, I am alone in the garden, and you are here with me to see it all.