Love is Light

February, 16, 2016

I might’ve written about this before, but over the weekend I was moved by how different the dynamic on death watch is compared to other sections on death row. Gus Garcia was in the dayroom Saturday night and we all were at our doors hanging out with him. See, he had just been told the day before that all appeals and clemency were denied and so he knew it would be the end of the road for him today. So he went to rec to holler at everyone and we fed him tacos and gave him something to drink. As he was laughing and joking and hollering at everyone I was struck by two things: first, I admired his strength and his sense of peace in the face of death. He’s spiritually centered and believes we’re eternal and I’m sure this will help him the rest of the day. I was also impressed by how a few others were getting along with each other that night, dudes who were once enemies. Gus has always been a really friendly, good natured dude that most people liked. I have never heard anyone back here speak a bad word about him. It was how the others were being kind to each other as we all talked together that caught my attention. It seems like when most people actually have an execution date on paper and come over here they tend to let go of petty dramas and focus on what’s most important in life. I’ve always known that dudes on death row are generally more kind to each other compared to those in general population, but most tend to be less inhibited here on death watch and quick to forgive and forget. There’s an air of love and camaraderie on death watch that you don’t see anywhere else in prison and I felt it when everyone was hanging out with Gus, letting him know he’s loved and will never be forgotten. His light will shine eternally.

The idea of love has been something I’ve contemplated a lot over the years. We have all of these different types and definitions: Eros or romantic love for those who light our fire or passion; philia or brotherly love for our friends; agape or the love of the spirit for humans everywhere. On love, Eckhart Tolle wrote, “love is the recognition of oneness in a world of duality. This is the birth of God into the world of form. Love makes the world less worldly, less dense, more transparent to the divine dimension…. love is not selective just like the light of the sun is not selective. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person (or multiple) who reflects your love back to you more clearly and intensely than another… but the bond that connects you with that person is the same that connects you with the person next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs…”

I agree. I think love is the very essence of existence. It’s the light of the spirit inside everyone and everything. The problem is we so often restrict its flow. The trauma of childhood and our repressed emotional themes need to be worked out before we can love ourselves fully and be able to allow the love within to flow uninhibitedly towards others. It’s not an easy process and some never seem to even work on it. But it’s within each of us, the eternal essence connecting us all, and it’s all about learning to open up to it.

I want to believe I have grown in the ways of love over the years. Polyamorous is a word I like to use to define my thoughts on it: I love everyone and approach connections / relationships without attachment or any desire to control, possess or obligate anyone. Like I said, in my view pure love is the essence of the eternal spirit in all of us. It transcends all thought, yet we feel it and express it as best we can. Often our egos get involved and attachments creep in along with the desire to control another and inhibit their flow. But pure love doesn’t try to possess, separate, weigh /measure, compare / contrast or fear. In traditional relationships of exclusivity you are not allowed to connect with anyone else on any kind of deep and meaningful level with another person. That’s cheating. I think this view is built on fear; the fear that someone else will steal our love, or that it somehow diminishes the love we share with one person if we develop a deep rapport with another. In my view, love and fear are polar opposites and when one enters the equation the other is absent. Personally, I don’t want to ever be the reason someone holds back and inhibits their flow of love, which is why I don’t try to impose any type of restrictions on those I love. And I don’t want to be restricted. To me, love is the recognition or ourselves in another, and when we’re compelled by someone and begin to build a connection with them it doesn’t mean we no longer love someone else or love them less. To me, that’s the ego wanting to possess and control… as is the need to be the “most special” to another. Every person I encounter has entered my world for a reason, and every connection I develop means something and is special to me. Yes, there are “degrees of intensity” with which each connection is felt, but I think we’re off the mark when we begin to weigh and compare our love .That’s ego to me. Tolle also wrote, “A genuine relationship is one that is not dominated by the ego with its image-making and self-seeking. In a genuine relationship, there’s an outward flow of open, alert attention towards a person in which there is no wanting whatsoever…. The ego wants to want more than it wants to have.”

I try to love in the moment without attachment. Some think that attachment = love, but I’m not one of them. To me attachment binds us to the ego and is the cause of suffering. When I am able to be present in a moment with someone and not attached or thinking about anything but the Now, I find that love flows through me more purely, that it’s a deeper, more meaningful experience. I don’t need to own or possess someone.

In my view love is light. Light (the photon) is the force particle of electromagnetism and everything is electromagnetized so light is in everything and everyone. To be en-light-ened is to see the light within, to feel your connection to the universe and everything in it. Pure love knows no boundaries because it recognizes that there is no such a thing as separation. Tat Tvem Asi. You are that love / light pervading the cosmos. And I prefer to allow it to flow through me unimpeded and love in the moment.

Love and Light