I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Monday, 20 January 2014

Love Is An Absence

Love is an absence much more than a fullness. Love is a fullness of absence. Christian Bobin

Love is not the presence of man-made gods and angels 
Love is not (to quote Dylan) ‘flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark’

Love is not the comfort of ritual
the stroking of romance
the safety net of marriage
the golden ring with which you pledged the world
the silver chalice you dug up by accident in the garden
or discovered after a dedicated lifelong search

or the heart you embalmed
or the hidden spring you dowsed
or the madman you calmed
or the rabble you roused

or the self-control you exercised
or the serenity you cultivated
or the disciplines you practised
or the game plans you activated

or the duty you did 
or the pain that you hid
or the disciples you led
or the vices you shed

or the virtues you upheld
or the views you withheld
or the thresholds you crossed
or the paths that you lost 

or the friends you invited
or the enemies you indicted
or the sutras you recited
or the candles you lighted

Love is not happiness sadness or blind indifference
Love is not approbation reprobation confrontation or perturbation
Love is not cunning or svelte words
or transient feelings and emotions

Love is beyond the moaning of the sea
the passionate fervour of the ocean
the land’s hard embrace
the salty kiss of the waves on the shore

Love is not any of these things
yet Love is all of these things

for Love is all there is
and Love is all there is not

yes Love is all there is
yes Love is all
yes Love is
yes Love
yes

Love is an absence
Love is a fullness of absence

THE SOLITARY WALKER

4 comments:

George said...

Brilliant, Robert! How quickly these Bobin seeds are bearing fruit.

Ruth said...

I appreciate your meditative exploration of your reading, Robert. It would not be time ill spent if each of us created a list, poetic or otherwise, of what love is not and what love is, and contemplate this idea of love is a fullness of absence. It may be one of the best, most helpful statements I've read about love to help me understand agape.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love is indeed unconditional - I like this and it has made me think Robert.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for reading, George, Ruth and Pat.

In my meditation I wanted to approach love through what it is not, in the same way as some of the ancient Christian, Jewish and Muslim mystics attempted to describe God by what God is not — a kind of circuitous 'via negativa'. Through shock and paradox one may get closer to the truth.

The references to 'disciples', 'the madman you calmed', 'the sutras' etc. are meant to hint at Christ or Buddha or other religious leaders — but you can't enclose love just in the one basket, even (heretically) in the basket of Jesus.