There is a musician called Yusuf Islam. Back in the day he was known as Cat Stevens. There’s so much about “back in the day” that’s to like. If you listen to his songs you will find a kindred spirit, a seeker, someone looking for a better world and there is a simple honesty about what he wanted to say.
Don’t be shy, just let your feelings roll on byDon’t Be Shy – Cat Stevens
Don’t wear fear or nobody will know you’re there
Many were enchanted by his music throughout the 70’s, which I know is like history to you. An unimaginable time when there were no cell phones! But not quite when dinosaurs walked the earth. No cell phones? I imagine you won’t be able to pass this point in the blog.
Anyway, he wrote several really great albums then just dropped off the music grid. In 2006 he reappeared commercially with his album An Other Cup. There’s a lot more detail and if you’re interested you can read it. But this over long introduction brings me to a song on that album called Heaven/Where True Love Goes with the following:
I go where True Love goes
And if you walk along and if you lose your way
Don’t forget the one who gave you this today
Follow True Love, follow True Love
Noticeably Yusuf has capitalised True Love. In my section Before You Read My Blog (possibly in the menu, depending on the device you are reading this on) I make mention of the way language is used and the differing terms we may have for the same thing. So, is True Love another term for the Great Spirit or God? I think yes and this brings me to the use of the term “love” in our culture.
In your religious book a man named John wrote “God is love”. Not “Love is god” but “God is love”. In his mind he wrote it as a statement of fact. So what do you and I understand by the term “love”?
The Greeks of John’s day (and John would have been influenced by their thinking) had 7 words for love compared with the singular English word. These are:
- Storage: natural affection, such as between a parent and child.
- Philia: friendship, hence Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.
- Eros: sexual and erotica.
- Agape: unconditional, divine love with an element of sacrifice.
- Ludus: flirting, a playful love.
- Pragma: a committed love that needs working at, married love.
- Philautia: self love
I am sure we would find most of these elements within our definition of love if we were to knock this about over a bottle of wine. Not sure we would put Ludus in there. But the Greeks would lump all these under our word “love” and as such, if “God is love” as John claimed, all these qualities belong within God’s love and do so in perfection. Even Eros, which the church finds so challenging and so very difficult to deal with. Guys, Source, God, The Great Spirit is a sexual god who gave the world sexual love. Get over it.
So Love, to use the English all encompassing word, is a place of complete an utter well being. It is given unconditionally as the purest, most embracing experience in Agape. This alone would be sufficient to max out our sense of well being and acceptance. But it reaches out to enable us to pay it forward as Philia as we seek others highest good. It gifts us with the ability to have meaningful, mutually fulfilling relationships as Storage and fires our bodies and emotions to higher levels of experience as Eros. To be within love enables a wholesome respect of one’s self and the self love so important to a healthy world view but so absent in todays society. Finally, God even allows for the playful love in new relationships, Ludus. This love is the experience so many seek through so many means, and yet I want to suggest, as said in the last blog, it’s not something we can achieve or buy or whatever. Rather we, like Yusuf said, “go where true love goes”. We put ourselves in the way of true love and God. We go to silence and know God in that place.
Van Morrison seems to have got it and sang:
No guru, no method, no teacherIn The Garden
Just you and I and nature
And the Father in the garden
You talk about “hanging out together”. Well that’s it. Hang out with the Father (yet another term for the ultimate being) and let “True Love” do what it does, then take that with you into your world. Easier said than done I suspect, because we can do nothing except put ourselves in the way when everything we have ever been taught says we need to do something.
Go and find your “garden”.
Yours, from under the trees,
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