Having been meditating and studying Buddhism for over 15 years the question of how meditation and love go together has always intrigued me. In the practices I’ve learnt they are often presented as separate in theory and somehow are meant to fit together. Buddhism is abound with meditations on loving kindness and compassion and then there are techniques that empty the mind or single pointedly concentrating. So how do they fit together?
My intellect battled with this question looking for answers but it wasn’t until I finally rested my mind completely and found a thought free experience that I discovered it was actually filled with warmth and bliss and an abundant amount of love pouring out. It turns out that the empty state of mind is not empty at all but is actually full of radiant love.
Meditation Masters have described the essence of mind as being like space because it has no boundaries and it is immaterial. But unlike outer space, inner awareness is full of good qualities like intelligence, intuition, love and bliss.
In the ancient Indian Vedic scriptures our true self is described as Satchitananda which translates roughly as pure being, consciousness and bliss. In Buddhism the closest thing to the true self is Buddha Nature which is luminous awareness filled with unconditional love and wisdom.
So the empty space of awareness is actually pure love. Love is in the inner space. The Dalai Lama has said that love is the absence of judgement. When you can be with someone without judging them you give a chance for the deepest type of love to arise. This is what I’m getting at here, when you can still the mind to such a subtle state, naturally occurring love is ever present.
This not the type of romantic love between two people. It is the very essence or heart of ourselves radiating into the world. When you touch the essence of your own being you touch the essence of all beings. Oneness, without separation. Without the dualistic thinking mind covering it, the essence is free to shine unhindered.
It is our thinking mind that divides and separates us. Identifying with the surface stuff like the colour of our skin or our gender or our political beliefs divides humanity. But it is our core awareness which actually unites us because it was never separate in the first place. In other words the core of ourselves is a unified field of clear awareness or universal consciousness that connects all living beings.
Just like the expression Namaste means – ‘the divine essence in me recognises and honours the divine essence in you’ what I am explaining is that the divine essence is the one essence, it is not two different things it is the one universal essence of being.
As Zen Masters have said it’s only when you are completely empty can you be filled. When the mind is empty it can love every sentient being without holding back. The space to accept others however they are with all their imperfections. This is letting go of all concepts not trying to conjure up love or manufacture kindness but resting into complete openness; a non conceptual type of love that requires no effort and has the ability to radiate out for every single being. Exactly as Rumi said:
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
To touch this source of ever present love within is the aim of all meditation training. To find the true Self; the unconditioned awareness within which does not see the world through beliefs but instead sees clearly by not seeing differences. By not judging or trying to explain the situation but instead having a certain amount of faith that things are perfect just the way they are. You are not firstly separate and then have to unite with everyone, simply by not dividing and judging things Oneness is naturally present. You are already united with everyone from your very core and love is just what happens.