An unedited first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid
Love is not the Answer
For generations, wise people, mystics, religious leaders and self-help gurus have told us that love is the answer. We can find meaning, they told us, in love. In the love of the beloved. In the love of family. In love of community. In love of work. In love of country. In Love of God. In Love of humanity. But again – if we are really honest with ourselves, it doesn’t seem to be working. Our big experience of love is often short lived by romantic highs, or buddy bonding moments. Or the obligations of love that define our lives. A sustained experience of True ecstatic, profound and pulsating Love, how many of us can say we have that?
It was a half a century ago that John Lennon sang “love is the answer and you know that for sure”. For most of us however love has not been the answer.
On the one hand, the most potent remaining shared value in the world is love. Music is the universal language. Our deepest yearning, our implicit values and our most naked desire appears in our songs. It is surely significant then, that the overwhelming number of songs in the history of modern music, are love songs. This is true in virtually every language and every culture. Usually it is the amorous love of human beloved. But it might also be love of country, nature, God family or friend. It might be about love betrayed, love yearned or love fulfilled. But it is virtually always about love. The same Beatles sang to us, “All you need is love.” But if love is our final frontier we have crossed it and found it wanting. We have raced the great race of love, crossed the finished line and found ourselves, frustrated, hurt or bitter when love had gone bad. But even more significant, we have found ourselves still empty, lost and lonely even when our human loves have gone pretty well. The problem is not merely the failure of so many of us to realize love. The much larger challenge is that even those of us who feel like we have found love, have also found love wanting. Love does not seem to deliver on its promise. Yes there is a short period of time when we are in love and even write occasional love letters. But this time of bliss is short lived. We are virtually always exiled from Eden and rarely know how to find our way back to the fleeting paradise of yesteryear.
Here is the crux of the problem. The way we usually understand love is what we have called ordinary love. Ordinary love is limited and small. We understand ordinary love to be a human experience. We further limit love to a very particular human experience, that of emotion. We then further limit true love to a very specific and limited human emotion. Usually the human emotion that we associate with love is the euphoric but seemingly fleeting feeling of “falling in love.” Even however, if we expand our understanding of love beyond falling in love we still understand this human emotion of love to be appropriately reserved for family or romantic partners. Very occasionally it might also extend to include a close friend. These are the people who show up on the short love lists of ordinary love. People who love more broadly are alternatively thought to be saints, psychotics or sinners.
Open any book on love and you will find the same answer to the question of “What is Love?” “Love is an emotion.” Love is understood to be an emotional reaction to some form of outside stimuli, person, place, idea or thing. Ordinary love is a reaction. It is a transitory feeling that arises in response to something outside of us. A fleeting feeling of love in response to external stimuli is what passes for love today. That however is precisely what love in its essence is not. Only Ordinary love is an emotion and a reaction. The true nature of love is what we call Outrageous Love.
Ordinary love is not Outrageous Love. Outrageous love is not merely an emotion and a reaction. At its source Outrageous love is a perception and an action. This is but one of a series of key distinctions between ordinary and outrageous love which critically empower your awakening as an outrageous lover. Outrageous Love is a perception of essence. The true lover has eyes to see. Love perceives the essential nature of the beloved and the feeling tone of delight emerges from the perception. That is a critical distinction.
Ordinary love is a reaction. A ball hits the wall and in reaction to the impact bounces off the wall. Very quickly however the energy of the reaction peters out the ball ceases its motion. An emotion is energy in motion, in reaction to outside stimuli. Because it is in reaction, the emotion, energy in motion, comes to a rest. Ordinary Love inevitably withers and dies. The feeling and the power that derive from Ordinary love never last. That is simply its nature.
Outrageous love is an action which emerges spontaneously from the outrageous love which is the very essence of reality. Outrageous Love is the Eros of evolution which awakens in us and as us. It is sourced in a deeper seeing, a capacity for perception and is not merely a reactive emotion which eventually wears off. Perception is a capacity of consciousness that only deepens over time. The more we cleanse our doors of perception the deeper the experience and emotion of love. If we love each other now with only the limited perception that are available to us today, then naturally, after years of deeper of truly knowing one another, our love will grow exponentially in both intensity and depth. Instead of love growing stale and eventually disappearing which is the inevitable trajectory of ordinary love, Outrageous love invites us to a path where love grows ever more powerful, passionate, vital and erotic in the fullness of time. It is only that Outrageous Love, which has the sustaining power to transform both our personal lives and our planet.
I remember sharing this particular distinction around the nature of love in a dialogue I had with my friend, the Dalai Lama, in his home in Dharamsala. He was so excited. He kept saying “beautiful, beautiful.” What he understood that this set of distinctions between Outrageous and Ordinary love would forever change the entire game of love. Being science friendly in that way that he is, he further realized correctly that the concept of outrageous love is not fanciful conjecture but rather emerges from an integration of the leading edges of mystical science, physics and evolutionary theory.
There is not one self that lives in us. The more we engage in the great game of personal transformation the more we are able to access the deeper voices of self that live within us. Just like there is a baby self and an adolescent self which reflect different stages of physical and psychological growth there is an ego and essence self which reflect different levels of spiritual growth. Ordinary love is a strategy of the ego self. Outrageous love is a natural expression of essence. The ego self is narcissistic, mindlessly competitive and contracted. The essence self is creative, outrageously loving and expansive. The move from ordinary love to outrageous love is precisely the movement from ego to essence.
It is no surprise therefore that the core distinction between ordinary love and Outrageous Love appears directly in the patterns of heart wave. The heart has long been recognized as having its own intelligence, independent and prior to the rational mind. Science has now done the HeartMath to decisively conclude, based on over a dozen rigorous studies, that outrageous love and ordinary love literally produce different heart patterns. The heart wave patterns of ordinary love are jagged, crooked and what science has called incoherent. The heart wave patterns of Outrageous Love are sloping and beautiful, what science has called coherent. Love which generates coherent heart patterns yield a series of immunological, neurochemical, hormonal, psychological and health benefits which have been clearly measured and documented. But of course.
The distinction between ordinary love and outrageous love runs much deeper however than even the distinctions between action and reaction, perception and emotion.
Ordinary love or ego love, will neither awaken, transform, nor satisfy us. The only love that can take us home is Outrageous love. However outrageous love at its core is none of the above. It is not merely the emotion of falling of love. It is not merely an emotion. It is not merely human. It is the pulsating, erotic, love intelligence that initiated the great flaring forth of reality that we call the big bang. It is the force of allurement and attraction that moves all of existence. It is the invisible lines of connection that entangle evolves and animate all of reality.
The difference between ordinary love and outrageous love is the whole difference. All the great promises of love are true. But they refer not to ordinary love but to Outrageous Love. That is perhaps the most critical hidden teaching of the great mystical wisdom traditions. It is this realization – shared in different languages – that is the most significant shared depth structure of all the great traditions. Ordinary love will not get you there. Only outrageous love will take you home.
Perhaps the most important three words in written in the great work of evolutionary mysticism called the Zohar are Be’Chavivuta Talya Milta “It all depends on love”. This phrase does not refer to ordinary love. It refers to Outrageous Love. What is the difference between the two? Understanding that difference is the single most important piece of wisdom you can own. It is the change that changes everything, the key to all transformation. The kabbalistic masters expressed this distinction as love before creation and love after creation. Ordinary love is reactive. Outrageous Love is proactive. It does not merely react to other. It seeks out other to love. The Zohar calls outrageous love, Noam Elyon, the “pleasure from on high.”
Outrageous love is the field of love intelligence awakening as you. This field has been known my many names. It has been called the field of holy apples by the kabbalists, the Christ field by mystical Christians, the field beyond good and evil by Sufis and the Zero Point field by leading edge voices in post quantum science. It is the field that mystics have always known and the leading edge of physics is now discovering. In writing Outrageous Love letters the field of outrageous love intelligence that connects, animates and suffuses of all of reality awakens in you and as you. You awaken as an outrageous lover. You live, for the first time, with an open heart.
Outrageous Pain and Outrageous Love
When we look around us we are bombarded by constant images and facts of horrific pain. We are fully aware that as we go about our daily routine thousands of children are starving to death every day. When we truly feel into the reality around us we are overwhelmed by the enormity of the raw anguish. Put together our internal wounds and tragedies, our routine lives, and the vast objective pain that surrounds us, it becomes almost unbearable. Our only reprieve from the pain comes from somehow closing our hearts and deadening our emotional nerve endings. Or at least we try and select carefully what to let in to our heart.
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.
Outrageous love is not ordinary love. Ordinary love cannot hold outrageous pain. Ordinary love is reaction. It is a transitory feeling that arises in response to something outside of us. A fleeting feeling of love in response to external stimuli is what passes for love today. That is ordinary love. But the feeling and the power that derive form it never last. Outrageous love is an action which emerges spontaneously from inside of us. It is only that can of love which has the sustaining power to transform both our personal lives and our planet
Love which arises in response to something external to us is not at all bad. It can remind us of the outrageous love inside that we have forgotten. But it never lasts. And when we only experience it on rare occasion it simply makes the rest of life seem dull and drab. It only by awakening directly to the outrageous love that lies dormant in us that we can access the full aliveness that gives our lives power and meaning.
To live on purpose and in joy, liberated from aching anxiety, it is not enough to be in love. More than being in love you have to be love. Being lived as love is a much more awake and evolved state than being in love. It is a key difference between ordinary love and outrageous love. Ordinary love is being in love induced by an external source. Outrageous love is being lived as love. Being lived as love emerges from the inside of the inside of our core identity. When we become love then we do not need to search for stimuli. We are love incarnate. Being lived as love is the essential experience of outrageous love.
We need to evolve beyond ordinary love to outrageous love. That is the way to love more; to love more widely, more intensely and more deeply.
The practical solution to almost every challenge we face is to love more. Bill Clinton said in a public speech at the Davos economic summit that the only tenable response to the threats that loom over us is the evolution of consciousness. This goes for all threats internal and external. The inside of consciousness is love. The evolution of consciousness is no less than the evolution of love. It is from our ability to love more that we will make new choices, unleash higher imagination and transform our identity from consumers to creators. Said simply the solution to all that confounds us is to love more. And to love wider. And to love deeper. And to love more powerfully.
One Love: Outrageous Love
But this only becomes possible when we understand that all forms of love come from one source. There is only one heart and one love. This is the love that is source itself. Bengali mystic Tagore said, “Love is not mere sentiment, it is the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.” The ancient Shamans would say to a person before a journey of awakening, “may you find your heart in this journey and may you discover that your heart is the one heart.”
Tagore and the Shamans were referring to the same truth understood by certain dimensions of quantum mechanics, evolutionary emergence and complexity theory. Reality itself moved to make greater and greater levels of contact between ostensibly separate parts. All of the parts are part of a larger field. They are drawn to each other by the allurement of Eros. This interior force of attraction in the cosmos is what makes the entire universe hang together. This is the interior Eros which is the ground of reality, love by any other name. It is this same Eros which is the ceaselessly creative impulse of becoming. Through this erotic evolutionary impulse, love by any other name, reality moves to higher and higher levels of interconnectivity, mutuality, union and embrace. Christian mystic Dante talked about “the love that moves the sun and the stars”. Process philosopher Whitehead speaks of evolution as the “gentle movement towards god by the gentle persuasion of love”. By gentle he meant gradual and not self-evident to the one who is asleep. Tagore, the shamans and Whitehead were all pointing to the truth of what we are calling Outrageous Love.
Outrageous Love is not the pallid strategy for ego security that so often masquerades as love. It is precisely that form of ego love that we have called ordinary love. Outrageous love is source itself. The same love that moves you to make contact and connect with other is the love that moves the sun and the stars. When you awaken to a lived experience of this knowing you begin to be able to access Outrageous love as the core aliveness and motive power of your life.
Outrageous love is what the leading edge of post quantum physics calls the quantum field. It is the field of love intelligence. Another name for Outrageous Love is what the mystics called Source.
When we access the source, we are capable of love in any and all situations. We are able to keep our heart open in all circumstances. We are able to live fully alive and radically empowered in every dimension of our lives. In other words, we become capable of Outrageous Love. Outrageous love is the source for all other forms of love. It is source itself. Outrageous love is the opposite of dissolution, deconstruction and destruction. Outrageous love is not ordinary. It is epic and extraordinary. It is not reactive it is active. Outrageous love is what Meta-thinker Charles Pierce referred to as evolutionary love. Outrageous love is the very impulse of evolution. Outrageous Love is the only force that is more powerful then entropy.
Outrageous Love is both the currency of connection between human beings and the essential eros that drives the evolutionary process as a whole. Outrageous Love is the eros of all relationship even as it is the very Eros of evolution itself. Personal and impersonal love are one. One love. Evolutionary love. Outrageous love.
Evolutionary Mystic de Chardin wrote, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for and as God, the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
This is not the dulling comfort of ordinary love designed by the ego to soothe over the challenging nature of this life. This is the fierce and tender fire of outrageous love. Fire is not tepid or weak. Fire is outrageous. To master the capacity of outrageous love is to be on fire. It is to awaken a capacity in you for joy and aliveness, for intimacy, for manifestation that is beyond your current imagination.
We do not want to share this with you merely as information.
Rather we intend share with you a transmission of the inner nature of reality that animates your essence in every moment. A transmission of outrageous love.
The Universe feels. And the universe feels love.
In every single moment, aware of it or not, you are drenched in the cosmic love that animates the Kosmos, which is alive in and as all that is.
In this sense Love is not hard to find. Love is not difficult to achieve. Rather love is impossible to avoid.
Sometimes we go our whole lives waiting for somebody to say “I love you”. But the fact is that moment to moment to moment, spirit is saying, “I love you.”
Every single corner of you is loved and accepted. Every single inch of you is loved and accepted. Every single part of you is absolutely loved and absolutely accepted, and it’s that extraordinary love that is so utterly nourishing and utterly enlivening and utterly profoundly awakening.
You are responsible to know this. You are responsible to know that you are loved in every moment. You are responsible for your own arousal. You are responsible for your own awakening to the truth of outrageous love. That is the essence of spiritual practice
We usually think of spiritual practice as developing our capacity to love. And this is of course true and important. But the other thing that’s just as important is our capacity to recognize and receive the love that’s already raining down on us like a thundershower. Spiritual practice is about being open not closed. It is about being able to open ourselves to that love.
To just feel into the heart and just open the heart in gratitude and blessedness and feel that love entering us and nourishing us and breathing us and actually being us is an extraordinary phenomenon.