Last evening on Open Air I heard myself say a sentence I really like: “We are in love and we can fall in love with the love we are in.” We are in love. As fish are in water, we—and they!—are in love. This notion of “being in love” caused me to think of the Garden of Eden tale.
If we read from Genesis in the Judeo-Christian bible we find this creation story:
God charges Adam with tending the garden in which they live, and specifically commands Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve is questioned by the serpent as to why she doesn’t eat from that tree. Eve states that the commandment not to eat of its fruit says that even if she touches the fruit she will die. The serpent responds that she will not die, rather she and her husband would "be as gods, knowing good and evil," and persuades Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve eats and gives the fruit to Adam, who also eats. At this point the two become aware, "to know good and evil," evidenced by awareness of their nakedness. God then finds them, confronts them, and judges them for disobeying. God expels them from Eden to prevent them from also partaking of the Tree of Life. The story says that God placed cherubim with an omni-directional "flaming sword" to guard against any future entrance into the garden.
When I look at that tale I get to:
1) This, our very world, is the garden and the garden is love.
2) We, as human beings, have the ability to experience ourselves as separate from life, outside the garden, cut off from love.
3) Rather than that ability being an example of our inherent evil, it is a beautiful gift enabling us to feel lost and then know the joy of feeling found. We believe ourselves to be unloved and unlovable only to realize we are unconditional love.
4) Once we realize who/what we truly are, we can see that there never was an entrance or exit to the garden, we have always been in the garden, there is nothing other than the garden, and we have always been living in love—we just didn’t know it.
5) When we have that knowledge we are free to be love, which is when we fall in love with the love we are in, and, yes, if that isn’t God-like, I can’t imagine what is!
“A lover’s food is the love of bread,
not the bread. No one who really loves,
Lovers have nothing to do with existence.
They collect the interest without the capital.”
When we are in love with love rather than with an object, in love with the process of love rather than the content, we can feel that we are always in love, a love without conditions. How can we practice that? We can practice turning our attention away from the conversation in the head aimed at reducing the unconditional to conditional, be with the breath of being, and recognize that as love.
In gassho, in love,