Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: Love is a Fire
The song of love is in every heart. Each of us longs to be loved, loved by a mother, a lover, a friend, a husband or wife. We long to be touched, to be held, to be embraced, to be understood, to be needed. We need to know that we are loved and we need to love in return. Love is the primal music of life, the song of creation, the fabric of being human. For some the need for love is buried beneath other needs, beneath psychological problems or other patterns. Their feelings may be caught in a tangle of fears or insecurities, hidden or inaccessible. Some people are frightened by their need for love, or by its intangible nature, and seek instead material security; they cover a deeper hunger with a greed for money or possessions. Some people seem to run from love, seeking pain or rejection as a way to avoid loves vulnerability. And some people are drawn by love, drawn deeper and deeper within themselves to the core of their being. They are drawn to the essence of love, to the root of the root of loving which is the souls love for God and Gods love for the creation. Those who are drawn to the root of love are mystics. Mystics are not satisfied with the surface patterns of love, with the emotional tangles and insecurities of human loving. They seek a purer wine, a more potent passion. They need the essence of love, its divine substance.
For centuries mystics have been walking secret paths to love, paths that lead to the shores of loves infinite ocean. Some of these travelers became known as Sufis, wayfarers on the path of love. Sufis are lovers of God, going Home to their hearts Beloved. Because Sufis are lovers of God, their relationship with God is that of lover and Beloved.
Some souls need to know that they love God. They are drawn into this love as a moth is drawn to the flame. There is a spark within the heart of the lover that is ignited by love and can only be satisfied by union with God. But how does one live this love affair of the heart of hearts, how does one make this journey Home? For centuries Sufis have tried to describe the way love draws us back to God. They have made maps of the path across the desert of separation and described the provisions we need for this journey: the practices and qualities that will enable the lover to go Home to the Beloved. Each in our own way we are drawn to God.
Each in our own way we make the journey from duality back to oneness. There are many different Sufi paths, reflecting the different needs of wayfarers. Some are taken into the arena of their heart through music and dance, while for others silence is the only way. But underneath there is the one note of the souls longing for God, the cry that comes from the depths of the heart and reminds us of our real Home, of where we truly belong. Every Sufi path awakens this cry and helps us to follow it. The hearts cry is a golden thread that leads us through the maze of our own psyche as well as through the distractions of the world.
Longing takes us back to God, takes the lover back into the arms of the Beloved. This is the ancient path of the mystic, of those who are destined to make the journey to the further shores of love. Why we are called to this quest is always a mystery, for the ways of the heart cannot be understood by the mind. Love draws us back to love, and longing is the fire that purifies us. Sufis know the secrets of love, of the way love takes and transforms us. They are the people of love who have kept alive the mysteries of divine loving, of what is hidden within the depths of the human being.
Since the beginning of time, long, long before they were called Sufis, the people of love have carried this wisdom for humanity. Sufism is the ancient wisdom of love, a wisdom that is as free as the sunshine. Sufis belong only to love, and in their essence are free of the constrictions of outer form. Just as love has no form, so Sufism is Truth without form. At different times Sufism appears in different outer forms, according to the need of the time and the place and the people. But under the clothing of the mystic there is only the oneness of love, a oneness that cannot be limited or constricted.
The heart has many secrets, and its greatest mystery is how it can contain the wonders of God. The heart is the meeting place of lover and Beloved, the place where the lover dissolves into love. Those who are drawn into the arena of love, of a love that carries the fragrance of what is Real, can learn from the Sufis. They can follow the footsteps of these pilgrims of the heart, this band of lovers who have tasted the sweetness that was before honey or bee. Sufis tell us of this journey, and their maps outline the stages along the way. Their wisdom of love is alive and belongs to those who have been awakened by love and need to find their way back to their Beloved.
Sufis all sing the one song, that of lover and Beloved. The Beloved looks into the heart of the lover and ignites it with the spark of remembrance, with the call for the journey. This spark becomes a fire that burns us, that empties us of everything except love. Through the fire of love we come to know the essence of love, the greatest secret hidden within every cell of creation. Finding what we really are, we become lost in the mystical truth of humanity, that there is nothing other than God.
Love is a Fire