If I loved you, Time and again I would try to say
All I’d want you to know.
If I loved you, Words wouldn’t come in an easy way.
Round in circles I’d go!
– Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), from the musical “Carousel” (1945)
The harder we work to ever better understand the Gospel teachings of Jesus, the more we see that He did in fact come to us as literally God on earth. He knew things about how reality works that we are only now beginning to see, and He understood and could use facets of our minds that our religions are too stuck in the past to imagine. He was comfortable with phenomena that materialist scientists cannot conceive are even possible. He knew it all, and much more, two thousand years ago! And because all of this is true, if we hope to make sense of what Jesus was saying in light of what we are coming to see that He knew, we will need now to delve a little deeper into His use of a word that until recently I had thought we must have done to death. In fact, we have barely understood it at all.
There is a common belief that the Eskimo-Inuit people have fifty words for snow. My research suggests this is an exaggeration, but it is true that many cultures will have different words for variations of some of their favorite phenomena. And so the ancient Greeks had a number of words for the emotions that English-speakers refer to all together as just “love.” In general, the ancient Greek words for “love” seem to boil down to these eight:
The Gospels were first written in Greek several decades after the Lord’s death, and those earliest writers used “agape” for the transformational love that Jesus preached. The first authors of the written Gospels were trying to be faithful to His words, but their vocabulary was so limited. And their understanding was even a great deal more limited! They could have no glimmer of the monumental truth that God had entered a body and had come to earth in order to teach us. Nor did the later architects of Christianity understand more than had those first clueless authors. Nor, indeed, did any of us really begin to understand very much until the turn of this century, when the earliest pioneers in the field of non-material consciousness research followed the insights of the great quantum physicist Max Planck. Then they achieved the gigantic revelation, since confirmed in many different ways, that what we experience as human consciousness is in fact the base creative force, and that force is all that objectively exists.
In the few decades since the amazing discovery of the primacy of consciousness was initially confirmed, we have learned a lot more about the eternal Mind that continuously manifests reality. In brief, we have learned that the base Consciousness is:
The Universe Exists To Give Us An Efficient Way to Raise Our Consciousness Vibrations. We come here to experience and push against negativity, and to learn to always choose love and reject fear and every other ishy emotion. We come here to grow spiritually! Indeed, there seems to be no other reason for the material universe to exist. With this background, we can look again at some of what Jesus says about love in the Gospels. He says:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (MT 22:37-40). This sounds like agape. Universal love. For a long time, agape seemed to be the sort of love that Jesus was teaching, but agape-love feels easy and mellow. Simply develop warm thoughts for people in general. And Jesus Himself insists that He wants us to embrace an entirely new kind of love! How can we have missed this fact? He says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (JN 13:34). Loving others with the love of the Godhead Itself as Jesus expresses it to us in the Gospels is in fact a whole new kind of love! How can we have missed seeing what a departure the Lord’s love is from every other kind of love there is in our lives?
In His Sermons on the Mount and on the Plain, Jesus tells us much more about the new kind of love that He came to earth to teach. Let’s listen to Him more closely now! He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:43-48).
And He says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you. Whoever hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. … If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. … But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you” (LK 27-38).
This is very far from just a generalized agape sort of love! This is love the same way the Godhead loves, love at an Olympic level, selfless and infinite. And to achieve this proactive and divine form of love requires that we cleanse and purify our minds of all our old negative habits. It also demands that we learn prevenient forgiveness, so we can effortlessly forgive “up to seventy times seven times” (MT 18:21-23).
The divine love that Jesus came to teach is the only sort of love that actually increases our consciousness vibrations. He knew the primary facts about consciousness that we have laid out above, and He knew a great deal more besides. He also knew something that we are coming to suspect only now, which is that our eternal vibratory rate is naturally so much higher than it is while we are in material bodies that when we remove the fear-based barriers to love’s awareness, we rise naturally toward ever greater love as a bubble of air in water naturally rises to join the air above the surface.
The Lord’s method for raising our personal consciousness vibrations really works! If you will take His teachings seriously, you can achieve an amazing level of personal spiritual elevation within only months; and as you continue the process, you can make that elevation permanent. It has to be the easiest method there is to improve both this life and our eternal lives to come! But when we simply use the word “love” in reference to our efforts to grow spiritually, that bland word has such a fickle set of common meanings that unless we can make a major effort toward striving to love as the Godhead loves, we are not going to grow spiritually by very much in this lifetime. Perhaps we hardly will grow at all.
Now at last we can learn and ever more perfectly live the divine form of love that Jesus taught! And as we grow spiritually, we soon find that all the eight forms of selective and ego-based love for which there are terms in ancient Greek are replaced by one universal and all-encompassing love that is by far and overwhelmingly the greatest and most joyous love there is. And we can so easily do this. Following the call of Jesus to love in the perfect way that God loves each of us is actually natural for us. And it is so richly self-reinforcing!
Now that we better understand what the Godhead wants, and especially the beautiful way the Godhead wants us to love, let’s consider next week how we can carry out our personal spiritual transformation. Okay, Lord! So I finally do get it. And I’m game! Now, what comes next?
Longin’ to tell you, But afraid and shy,
I’d let my golden chances pass me by!
Soon you’d leave me. Off you would go in the mist of day,
Never, never to know how I loved you. If I loved you.
– Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), from the musical “Carousel” (1945)