Barriers to Love

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

If God is indeed love and man was created in the image and likeness of God (rather than the converse which seems to be how most people see God), then man is love. The core of man is love. It is his inner essence. Now not much of that essence might ever find expression over the course of his lifetime, but it is nevertheless, according to this formula, what sits in the center of his inner being.

That said, one of the more peculiar characteristics of human beings is that they often fear the spirit of love. They instinctively know that the spirit of love intensifies all things and they are happy to let it flow in relation to certain of their affairs, but they also dread its purifying influence. So rather than yield to it, to let love reign in their hearts and minds, they often end up struggling with it and spend most of their lives trying to control it so that it doesn’t control them.

This struggle manifests in many ways. One of the more popular tactics can be seen in the attempt to preempt love’s command by building internal barriers to both the giving and receiving of love, in attempt to stay clear of its powerful influence. These barriers are designed to stop love from getting in as well as love from flowing out, the idea being that avoiding the love of God or one’s fellows and refusing to let love radiate outward insulates one from love’s transformative effects.

The problem with these barriers is that they virtually ensure mediocrity. They unplug man’s outer capacities – body, mind and heart – from his inner reality. They seal the truth of the individual – a radiant core of God or love or whatever you want to call it – in a living, breathing tomb. To my mind, this is not living, but existing.

What’s worse is that this unnecessary and sorrowful experience is rationalized as being the norm. “It’s just how things are”, we’re told, and from a very young age we are encouraged to accept it as being cast in stone.  Some even go so far as to actually convince themselves that this state of affairs is actually desirable. They claim, as Milton put it in Paradise Lost, that it is: “Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven”. Really? That just does not make sense! Is love really that harsh of a taskmaster?

Having been raised in the Judeo-Christian pattern I was taught that God is a God of love, but that He also gets angry, exacts revenge on His enemies and He can be moody and volatile. I was also told that sacrificing His son was the greatest act of love in relation to mankind. I’m probably not the first to admit that this bill of goods, which is riddled with internal contradictions, may cost more faith than I possess, and I doubt I will be the last.  Is love really wonderful and violent at the same time? Hollywood and the priesthoods of the many religious sects might paint it that way, hundreds of millions of faithful people might believe it to be so, but I cannot help but think that painting God in this light is just another example of man thinking that God was created in his image and likeness, rather than the converse.

To know love is to be vulnerable to love. To know love is to radiate love from within outward. Love is not man-made. It is neither contrived nor mechanistic, neither is it subject to human control. It is beyond us in one sense, but it is us in another. We cannot study it like scientists, pick it apart and hope to understand it in its wholeness in the end.

To know love we must let ourselves be vulnerable to love. We must let the barriers come down and let love flow in and out more freely. We mustn’t fear love. Love has our interests at heart because our hearts and minds and bodies are animated by love. Love does not seek to destroy itself just as truth is never in conflict with itself. Love is “union with” and we can – in fact, we were designed to experience this union, this oneness, which comes only as we become acquainted with love.

So let them crumble! Let them fall! Let the persistent state of mediocrity which has governed men’s affairs give way to the excellency of a world ruled by love. What really do we have to lose? A half-baked world stuffed with uncooked ideas? It’s time to turn the heat up!




5 thoughts on “Barriers to Love

  1. David R

    It’s too bad in a way that the only word we have for ‘vulnerable’ is vulnerable! To be vulnerable means to be capable of being wounded or hurt and, having been hurt enough, most people just aren’t about to make themselves vulnerable where they can avoid it.

    To be ‘vulnerable’ to love, however, is a very different matter. We may be permeable, open to being touched, moved, changed and governed by that Spirit which is the essence of kindness, reasonableness, joyfulness and indescribable fulfillment. In a sense we do need to take what appears to be a risk to let this happen, but we find when we do that we have relinquished the truly hurtful taskmaster in favor of a governing Force who loves us, cares for us and has our greatest fulfillment at heart.


  2. Ricardo B.

    How refreshing it is to participate in this clean meditation on love! I too have been confounded by the discordant, dissociative accounts of various people’s experiences on love. I mean really, ‘what’s love got to do with it’?! – with all the problems people have in their own experience with love? It’s clear when you think about it, that love’s got nothing to do with it, nothing to do with the harmful outcomes of our historical record’s events being done in its name. It is simply the barriers in human consciousness that have twisted love into all of the asymmetrical, grotesque forms we have all sadly seen and read about roaming around the earth for millenia.

    People are not secure in love to be vulnerable. This one innocent quality of our being has been trampled underfoot and so the world of cynics arrives and no longer can one feel safe to extend any trust.

    I find vulnerability to be entirely freeing and I find I can’t live without allowing myself to be vulnerable. It’s weird, as vulnerability has been perverted to be a sign of weakness. As with all things in a house of mirrors, the truth is not what it appears to be. If I don’t find myself experiencing weakness in vulnerability, then how can it be something weak? If I find that being vulnerable allows me to live my life honestly and if I find that I actually need vulnerability to keep my life in integrity, then how on earth should that be something to be avoided? I mean, this kind of discordance just goes on and on. And I know it’s not just me, as I see this and feel this in many people. Guess what, when you need help — can you actually receive it without vulnerability? This is one of those sacred trusts in life, and I am of the belief that we all desperately need it. To me, there can be no transcendent experience with out it.

    I live and shall live, to the best of my abilities, to bring back the good name of Love – that is what declare on this very special day!


  3. Steve

    Giving way to the excellency of a world ruled by love is the core purpose of our being. When acknowledged and touched in heart it opens our mind to understanding and forgiving that which has been amiss in ourselves as well as others. There really is nothing even the most extreme perpetrations upon humanity dictated from minds and hearts looking after thier own interests disguised in the name of doing good that cannot be forgiven. As a greater light is seen and the effulgence of love is allowed to flow the core of our beings can have release in truly transforming this world.


  4. Lady Leo

    I believe the primary barrier to letting love flood our hearts and express through our living has been man’s addiction to judgement. Looking to relinquish the barriers in ourselves does put the responsibility on each of us; as opposed to thinking our Creator is punitively holding out on us; which makes mankind thinks it’s responsible to conjure it themselves. It’s the old country song, “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places”. Loved your quote today!


  5. DeeDee

    The power of love certainly is looking for a few good men and women who are secure in their purpose, noble and valiant in their expression, and constant in their devotion despite living in a less than perfect world. I remember a quote on love you shared in an earlier post to the effect that love consists in looking together in the same direction. Love’s fulfillment is for naught except as we move forward together in the truth of love. So it is wonderful to share a love for this truth and to give radiant expression to it!


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