The Law of Love or how to experience that All is One

Law of LoveDelight of the Law

Law of Love

Law of Love

When nothing’s left to rely on anymore,

Only the Law of Love will remain.

The Law of Love is not about repression or dogma.

Not about rules or brute force.

The Law of Love is about how I deal with others

every step of the way.

The Law of Love gave me,

That nothing else has given me before.

No image of god, no guru, no method, no teacher

Has ever brought me greater joy and delight

Than knowing and following the Law of Love.

After all my searching under the sun I never found a stable image of God,

But thankfully I found the Law of Love.

And where does the Law of Love presses and urges us to?

Treat every living creature in the world

The way you would have liked to be treated,

If you, by a simple twist of fate,

Had been him, or her, or it.

Because remember: All is One.

And still I forget about the Law of Love day after day

And bring misfortune and sorrow into my life.

O Universe, teach me to pursue the Law of Love

Instead of the petty delusions of my own karma.

The Words of the Law call for love and love alone.

Everything else that’s been said

Or written about them is commentary, manipulation

Dogma and idleness.

What I’ve got to say might be an example of that.

No War, But Peace

The Law of Love doesn´t call for war,

It calls for Peace.

It calls for delight and happiness and

For putting ourselves in the position of others,

Even if the others are our enemies

Or, like we say, just animals.

Act according to the Law.

Because remember: All is One.

The Law of Love calls for openness

And for Belief in an undreamed-of perception,

That grows on the Tree of Life far away from our dreamworld.

The Law of Love calls me,

As It calls every living creature in the Universe.

Because remember: All is One.

Back to the Garden of Eden
The Law of Love. Don’t judge anymore. Be like the child you once were. Then the cherubim and the flaming sword which turns every direction, your superego, will disappear. Painting in the Saint Barbarachurch in Bunnik, the Netherlands. Made by Wim van Woerkom (Nijmegen, March 8, 1905 – February 28, 1998)

Information on the Saint Barbarachurch https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sint-Barbarakerk_(Bunnik)

More about Wim van Woerkom https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wim_van_Woerkom

These pages are available in Dutch only. However, the page on the Saint Barbarachurch gives an impression of the context of the painting by Wim van Woerkom.

Full Circle or how Paradise was regained for a brief moment

Today the story made full circle. As a child my father´s garden was a real paradise to me. There were trees, shrubs, crops. In between the plants there were exciting paths that nevertheless felt safe. In summer the green coolness of the leaves protected me from the scorching sun. There were animals, too, but I did not call the animals by their names. Nothing had a name yet: the plants nor the animals nor the green coolness nor the scorching sun: to me it was as if it were one. And not only didn’t I distinguish between the phenomena around me, I didn’t experience a separation between those phenomena and me either. All was one and eternal.

But one day I was riding on my tricycle in my father’s garden: back and forth. Just a few inches, back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over again.

The day before it had rained a lot and with my head bent downwards I watched the wheels dig deep into the mud. Back and forth, back and forth, still deeper into the morass.

I must have been four or five years old. Oh, I awoke in anger, so alone and terrified. I wasn’t part of the wholeness anymore.

***

It was an early winter morning, two years ago. I drove my wife to work. Wet snow was drizzling down. Suddenly she says:

“I know what you should do. You get off that bike, leave it stuck in the mud and start looking for a new horizon. Remember as a child, in church, what you wanted to be? Well, become that bird in the child’s hand and fly away!”

Full Circle

Full Circle
Back in the Garden, for a brief moment…

Today the story has come full circle. I was back in the village of the cinema.

The cinema has been closed for years. As I passed by I saw a child’s tricycle lying in the middle of the road. Without thinking I picked up the tricycle and put it at the front door of the former cinema.

It wasn’t until I walked away, that I realized how wonderful and mysterious this moment was. Thank God, because otherwise I might have taken a picture and spoiled the mystery.

***

I remember what my wife had also said during the car trip two years ago: ”You may believe that you are kicked out of paradise. Or you may believe you walked out voluntarily to experience life in a world with myriads of choices. In either case you may stay out of paradise or you may return at any time you choose to do so.”

For a brief moment I felt like flying, far away from the mud.

For a brief moment…

 

Death, grace, glory: found on a day when all of God’s promises are fulfilled

Death, grace, glory

In Lorraine we drive down another hill and I think of my father. How he had lied down on the floor in a nursing home, blood gulping out of his mouth, dying from gastric hemorrhage. An hour and a half before his doctor had called me on the phone. He wanted my father sent to hospital, but my father had refused. The doctor asked if I could affirm that my father was lucid and aware of what was going on. In the background I heard my father saying that he was as lucid as could be and that he didn’t want treatment. I asked if I should come, but my father was adamant and said I shouldn’t.

All day long he had been throwing up blood and he knew he was going to die. But he didn’t want me around. He wanted to spare me the sight. I had to respect his wish, but ever since I have been torn between guilt of not being with him in that moment of agony and gratitude for his characteristic unselfishness. It remains a note of discord in my life that will never be harmonized. My father was my brother, my friend, my closest ally.

The Coast No Cow Can Tell

As we reached the valley, I realized that the song was not only about my father’s death but also about the cow which now lay dying in the meadow. Tears were dropping from my chin on the steering wheel. As I looked at my wife next to me I saw that she was crying, too. Now there was nothing that stood between me and sorrow and relief. I had become sorrow and relief itself. Is it the real me for a moment: the child in front of the silver screen?

It is the last song of the album. The silence afterwards weighed lightly upon us as we were driving through another empty French village. We neared the last houses of the village. The road took a slight bend to the right. Around the bend a bird was sitting right in the middle of the road and it kept sitting there until we were very, very close. As if to show itself to us in all its alien-like beauty. When we were at a distance of about ten meters, the hoopoe flew up and disappeared into the trees by the side of the road.

Instantly I understood that the cow had just died and sent the hoopoe as a sign.

It was 11 AM.

***

Death, grace, glory

Finally we arrived at the Basilique du Bois-Chenu, which is devoted to Joan of Arc. It’s two kilometers from Domrémy-la-Pucelle where Joan of Arc was born.

Outside the church men in working clothes were putting up a stage and a huge lighting installation. A man in a green coat greeted us and said something in French. As I didn’t understand him at first, he quickly switched to a somewhat laborious English. Carefully searching for words, he explained that next weekend there was a spectacle with 200 supporting actors and a sound and light show. The show was directed by the famous Damien Fontaine who is, among other achievements, a four time winner of the Trophée des Lumières at the Lyon Festival of Lights. For a moment I considered staying longer, but alas we had to be home by next weekend.

It was such a nice gesture from a stranger though: taking time and bowing to us by speaking laborious English. (We should bow to each other more often).

Such a nice gesture on this day of death, grace, glory.

***

When we returned to our house on the hill, we heard that the cow had been euthanized that morning after having been examined by a vet of the insurance company.

“At around 11 AM,” the farmer said (truly, truly true of course).

That evening the glowing finger on the hill glowed sadly and gloriously in the red and purple sunset.

Death, grace, glory

The Red and Purple Sunset of the Day of our Death, grace, glory

On making gestures and reading words to a dying dog

Gestures

Gestures

I am always on guard in a group of people, but the gesture of an individual can move me to tears. Like in church in the old days, I shouldn’t mind words that much and pay more attention to gestures. Small gestures made unconsciously, without calculation: a father holding a little child’s hand or a grandma blowing kisses into a pram.

But sometimes words can make a difference, too.

I remember the night before one of my dogs was to be euthanized. It was the one dog that I had had since it was a puppy. I could literally read its mind. It was only eight years old and dying of cancer. That night I picked up the Tibetan Book of the Dead from my bookshelf and let it fall open arbitrarily.

I started reading to the dog:

Dazzling Bright Light

Be not fond of the dull, smoke-coloured light from Hell.

That is the path which opens out to receive you because of the power of accumulated evil karma from violent anger.

If you are attracted by it, you will fall into the Hell-Worlds; and, falling therein, you will dig yourself deep into the morass of unbearable misery, from where there is no certain time of getting out.

That is an obstruction on the Path of Liberation, look not at it; and avoid anger.

Be not attracted by it; be not weak.

Believe in the dazzling bright white rays of the Light.

I understood that these words weren’t meant for my dog. My dog was a playful, happy fox terrier who hadn’t known anger. It was a time during which I myself fed the malign wolf way, way more than the loving wolf.

***

Yes, it’s true: we live in a Universe that is ruled by the Law of Cause and Effect. But sometimes this Universe holds its breath to give way to the Grace of God. We wouldn’t stand a chance if it were otherwise.

***

In this bleak winter of existential loneliness (not a trace of the Big Painter, even the candles in the alcove of my mind have dimmed) there’s nothing I can do than sit by my window and wait for God to come by in the words and the melody of a song, a spring bird that lands on my windowsill or, yes, the small gesture of a grandpa scratching his head in amazement. Is that all there is to life in this world? It seems so. But it isn’t forbidden to keep dreaming of a Pure Land where God manifestly walks with us every single step of the way.

Impatience

Whenever I get impatient with the imperfections of my species and myself, I  try to remember what my old dad said: “Neither you nor the others have created yourselves. That is an advantage as well as an disadvantage. The clear advantage is that if humans were only slightly able to create themselves, they would have made of themselves unbearable, self-indulgent gods which wouldn’t allow imperfections neither from themselves nor from others. That’s the First Sin.

But we were driven out of the Garden and allowed to become human. We may make errors or may not make errors. We grow by our imperfections, the shadows cast in front of us. The disadvantage is that this growing takes a million reincarnations, over and over and over again, and a hundred thousand wars and famines. But we can’t have it all, you know. We can’t have freedom and perfection at the same time. Thank God there’s forgiveness.”

On making gestures
Grace as a wormhole

Jesus or Our love is all of God’s money

Jesus etc.

In reality I didn´t attend to any ceremony. I stayed in Hopi Nation for a week and slept in a church in Kykotsmovi Village. When I was introduced to the chief of Old Oraibi I asked him about an inscription in a rock I had read about. The conversation had been friendly up until that point. But now the chief got very angry and practically chased me out of his house.

“You white men, you poke your nose into everything that is holy to us. And when you’re ready, leave a ruin behind. You go to that other village (he meant Hotevilla). There they will tell you everything you want to know.”

Lost and Found?

In the drizzling October rain of 1985 I walked along road 264 in the direction of Hotevilla. But halfway I turned back. Maybe the chief was right after all. Maybe I just came here to get some short-lived spiritual kick and then leave ruin behind. But a few days later, I felt that I couldn’t have come all the way without actually trying to find out more about the inscription that had fascinated me so much back home. I decided to give it another try and leave it to the whims of chance if I was to be initiated into the secrets of Hopi Prophecy.

The first persons I saw in Hotevilla were two youngsters on a scaffolding busy renovating a house. After I’d greeted them, I heard them sneeringly saying behind my back: “Huh, Bahanna.” Bahanna is the not so flattering name for white people in Hopi language.

The second person I met was an old man who was climbing with a basket full of vegetables from the fields at the foot of the mesa up to the village on top of it. He was panting under his burden. I took on his load. When we’d reached the village, the old man insisted to carry his basket himself. He said Thank You and when I said a few words in English to him, he kept repeating Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

At last I hitched a ride along road 264, back to Kykotsmovi Village. A Native American drove me to a fast food restaurant at the side of the road. We ate a hamburger and talked about cars and the lack of money. It was very cosy but we didn’t discuss spiritual matters.

Outsider Art

At the end of my stay a Hopi converted to Christianity showed me the rock. He couldn’t tell anything about the inscription that I didn’t already know. Except that the inscription wasn’t of a prehistoric origin, but that it is was made by a modern-time Hopi, who was an outsider in the community. A real voice from the wilderness…

Jesus etc

As we listened to Jesus, etc. we drove down the hill called Sion on the other side. Here are the fields where we had seen the hoopoes a few years ago. Well, frankly my wife is the birdwatcher. I can hardly tell a starling from a blackbird, but even for me the hoopoe was easily recognizable with its almost alien appearance. This time there were no hoopoes, though.

My wife loves to read Marianne Williamson. Sometimes she quotes from her books. I don´t read Ms. Williamson´s books. I don’t read books at all. One of the peculiarities of my obsessive-compulsive disorder was that sometimes I had to read and reread sentences over and over again. Twentyfold, fortyfold, sixtyfold…

When I was a teenager I had to repeat prayers that way, until I felt that they were utterly perfect. Nowadays I hardly pray. As for reading, the remembrance of that experience is so disgraceful, that I avoid reading as much as I can. But I must admit that without my wife’s quotes from Ms. Williamson’s books every now and then I might not have started writing this account.

Jesus etc is written by Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett from Wilco. It’s for my wife. This is her: a burning sun.

Jesus
Jesus: Everyone is a Burning Sun

Be At Peace With Yourself For One Fine Afternoon

Peace

be-at-peace-with-yourself

…when through the branches of a barren tree the full moon paints freak patterns on the ground, the men from the village dance their ecstatic moves. They wildly jump around and stamp their feet wrapped in the skin of deer on the soft springy soil. Their bodies, sweat accentuating strong muscles, stirred up by the rhythmic beating of wood on wood, their minds brought into a trance by a secret potion of henbane, belladonna and dried fly agaric…

The men dance in circles around the shaman, the initiate who is at the center of the open space dancing his own crazy dance. He is totally immersed in his own pre-worldly universe and is dancing even wilder and more ecstatic than the other men. His head is hidden behind the mask of a deer’s head, the horns sweeping through the air as he dances around the fire. Still faster and wilder until he is just running in circles around the fire, slipping and sliding and falling down, his mask rolling aimlessly over the trodden grass. His body is shaking while he turns his face to the flames.

The women and the children sitting at the edge of the open space are the first witnesses to the miracle. Their cries wake the other dancing men from their trance. They stop dancing and look at the initiate and they see it, too. The fire in the eyes of the shaman and the fire of the flames seem as one. No, his eyes are not alight but for a short moment in time it looks as if the flames and the eyes of the shaman are of the same origin.

Fire, that is not as any of the other phenomena in this world as it doesn’t stand on its own but can only exist as long as it flames consume other things and in doing so create the beginning of something new, that fire is the representation of divinity on earth. And the eyes of the initiate, who may have been passed on secret knowledge from his forefathers, but for the rest is, just as the other men in the village, a farmer of the desert, those eyes represent humanity, taken from the soil.

And so, on this first night of spring the great miracle occurs in which divinity and humanity become one again for a short while.

In that short, holy moment the people of the village bow their heads and ask humbly from the divine spirit if the farming may bear fruit again this year: twentyfold, fortyfold, sixtyfold…

…when through the branches of a barren tree the full moon paints freak patterns on the ground and the stars make their rounds of the Eternal Mill through the endless universe, deep into the desert the coyote, feared and revered, sends his invocatory howl travelling through the night. For the time being the coyote still drowns out the sound of drums of an unknown people that has come from far away to, as rumor has it, subject all other races in the world and put an end to the old way of living that was taught by the Great Spirit.

Without making a sound a desert owl hovers over the open space. With fearful premonition the people around the fire raise their heads and pray that this year everything may still be well. For this one year at least…

This is the world into which I am born, time and time and time again…

Peace, One Fine Afternoon

I have this vivid memory of how my life was at the beginning. The kid in the cinema who became one with laughter. And look what has become of it  50 years later: a bag full of opinions. Conflicting, constantly changing opinions, too. A bag full of mixed emotions and passions:  generosity and greed, compassion and rudeness, love and hate, pleasure and pain. Driven from the garden of oneness and openness, predator and prey at the same time.

The more I am at peace with what has become of the kid in the cinema, the more I am able to slip into the garden of Eden. Be it just for a brief moment.

As we drove up the hill called Sion I thought of another hill long ago. The hill where the shepherd had been waiting to lay his healing hands upon my ancient wound while singing: Be at peace with yourself.

Koyaanisqatsi, The Time When Life Gets Out Of Balance

Koyaanisqatsi

The Big Painter in the Sky said to the bunch of yokels that was a leftover from his creation: “You are my chosen people. I will lead you to a country of milk and honey…  No, wait a minute.”

The Big Painter wetted His fingers with His tongue and thumbed through the pages of His Holy Book. “Yeah, here we are. I already have a story with a country of milk and honey. So many stories, I can hardly tell one from the other. Anyway, now it’s time for something completely different. So listen, instead I will lead you to a country where hardly enough rain will fall to raise your crops. You will not build big cities or sleek golden palaces like the other nations. You will be poor and looked upon as backward and slightly stinking.”

“Well, that’s a nice business,’’ someone yelled. “Can’t you pick others as your chosen people?”

The chosen people-to-be murmured, but the Big Painter in the Sky hushed: “Nope, the leftovers of creation will be my chosen peoples. And on the other hand: for every disadvantage there is an advantage. The fact that you are poor and live in the boondocks is your bliss, too. Other nations will not be likely to wage war on you as there is nothing to rob you from. You will live in peace for centuries, while other nations fight each other over their gold and silver. In the end they will be conquered by a strange people that comes from over the sea. In the meantime you will keep my law and live in peace for a long time. Your name will be Peace”

“And what is your law about, if I may be so bold to ask you?” a man with a hunchback shouted.

The Big Painter in the Sky threw two flat stones from a mountain and said: “Here you are. A lot of rules but it all comes down to this: treat the whole of creation: the air, water, rocks, trees, plants, animals and fellow men as you want to be treated yourself. For everything that lives is holy.”

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance

Curiously the chosen people-to-be studied the stones. But the Big Painter resumed: “I have buried something precious in the ground you live on. In the end the people from over the sea will come and devastate my holy land to retrieve that treasure. That is the moment that you must reveal my prophecies to this strange people. For if they go on destroying all of my creation in their pursuit of wealth and profit, the end of this world will be near. The Great Watersnake Palulukon will rattle its tail in anger and floods will drown the coast lands.

This is the time when life is out of balance: Koyaanisqatsi. The weather will change, crops will fail because of draught or of decay because of extreme rainfall. And there will come an awareness among the nations, for those who are supposed to be the leaders will humiliate themselves as they are no longer led by wisdom and vision but by sheer greed.”

Lost White Brother from over the Sea

An so it was to be. When the white man came from over the sea he found coal and uranium in the soil where the chosen people lived. The white man divided the chosen people to the core with a prospect of wealth and comfort. But the traditionalists amongst them warned the world for disasters to come. But as they are just marginalized, slightly stinking folks, no one cares about them. And as one man’s dream is the other man’s nightmare, the chosen people in their worn-out shoes became street sweepers in the white man’s city of dreams, sweeping up the fall-out of their greed. As they had always done, they warily observed what went on in the other tribe.

No one heeds their call. Their warnings for Koyaanisqatsi, the end of times, are considered the sort of folklore that turns up every time when chosen peoples see their way of life threatened. There are quite a lot of them. Every continent seems to have at least one. These peoples share a common memory of how life was in the beginning and a grand vision of how it will be in the end.

koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance