This article is shared by Guy Finley
Guy Finley has just released his newest book, “Apprentice of the Heart: Lessons in Life Only Love Can Teach” (WhiteCloud Press, 2004). Here psychologist Dr. Ellen Dickstein interviews the author about his new book, the true meaning of love, and how anyone can find more love in life.
ED: This book is really about learning how to love. It seems that should be the most natural thing for people, yet everywhere we see people suffering from lack of love. Why is that?
GF: Before we can actually learn what it means to love, we have to have something awakened in us. We have to have a new relationship with Love itself that allows us to have love with other human beings, or the other creatures of the world. Love teaches us how to love, but it begins by helping stir in us the need for a new love.
ED: So an “Apprentice of the Heart” is something we’re each intended to be, to learn what it takes to be receptive to this stirring by a higher love?
GF: We’re intended to go through life day by day, wherein the lessons that only Love can teach are always producing moments of change in us so that we can understand the relationship between this moment in life and a much broader life.
ED: It’s very clear in the book that you’re talking about a higher kind of love, a connection with the divine, and yet, it’s also clear that higher love informs all of the other love relationships. How can we get more of that higher inspiration into every moment of our lives?
GF: It’s a strange thing. The way that Divine Love works through us and for us is through our relationships with life. As we are now, we don’t see the unseen. We’re not conscious of it. When we look out and see a winter grapevine, for instance, it’s not part of our consciousness to see the fullness of that grapevine in its barrenness. That’s not the way our mind is yet. But as the mind awakens through the process of Love, of being united to that which moves and perfects everything around us, slowly but surely, one’s eyes begin to change, meaning that the nature within us starts to see the action behind all things. It’s not a selfish seeing anymore. It’s not connected anymore with, “Darn it. Why aren’t these grapes growing? I want to make my jelly.” It’s not like that. It’s like being one with, a part of the whole of that movement.
So when we have these various relationships, whether it’s walking outside and seeing the grapevine and the grapes aren’t there, or we look at someone that we think is great and they betray us, or we love someone and we’re on the rocks with them, or we’re in an exalted moment with them, we understand that every relationship we have in life waxes and wanes.
Just as the grapevine seasonally waxes and wanes, our heart waxes and wanes. But here’s the beauty behind this idea. It’s not so much that the heart itself waxes and wanes, which it does; these vacillations are natural and necessary for all living things. What we need to realize is that all such movements ‘in and through our heart’ serve a higher purpose than first perceived: it is for us to discover that each of our hearts is a part of a broader reality within which the waxing and waning of a Greater Life is always taking place. That’s Love. It holds all things equally. It sees the whole of everything in one movement.
ED: One idea the book develops is that it’s something in us that we’re not giving that pushes love away.
GF: The only problem there is between ourselves and Love is that we are in it. This is a difficult principle to grasp. The only thing that comes between you and what you love is that you want something to love to make you you.
The great ones in any field are educated by Love. They are taught to become masters of their art because Love has mastered them. Love takes them, transforms them. Love does what we can’t do as individuals, which is to dissolve the border that exists between myself and what I love. When I truly love something, I’m completed by it and no longer am someone trying to take something from it. I am it. That’s everything, to erase the distinction that exists between myself and what I love. You cannot possess Love. Love possesses you, or it’s not Love at all.
ED: This book has many deep ideas in it, but there’s a practical side to it too. You have a chapter in which you talk about how anybody can bring love into their everyday activities.
GF: What I want to do is help individuals understand what is possible for them to do. The fact is, no matter what it is that you have a longing to do or become, you have that longing because Love itself has seeded something into your heart, and if you follow it, Love will take you through the process of purifying yourself through that relationship. It’s unfailing.
ED: And if you give yourself to that Love, even in a small thing, then that will bring you along higher and higher.
GF: If we’ll give our heart to something, then the Love that invited us to give our heart to that will give us the love we need to unite us with that which we want to give ourselves to.
If people could just understand this: It is possible for us to become one with whatever we give our love to. In the end, everything is intended for us to learn what it means to give our love to Love, to God, to the Divine. Then there is a completed cycle, and the circle is whole. There is no longer a distinction between ourselves and that which we love. What could be better than that?
ED: So even if a person feels “I have no love in my life,” if that person would even have a sincere wish to know love, that would be the beginning of true love.
GF: You can build a fire in the winter, and if you come back after it has been out for a long time and stir those ashes, there’s always a little spark in there. I don’t care who you are, how dead the heart feels. If you can feel that the heart is dead, it’s still alive. If it’s still alive, that means it can be re-inflamed, but it’s work. Love will give you everything that you need. That which draws you to it will also give you what you need to succeed with that relationship, but you have to be willing to approach it. You have to give up what is unloving. You have to give up the sense of self that you cling to about how you’ve been denied something or didn’t get your fair shake. That’s all nonsense, and it’s coming to you from the part that has turned those ashes dark and cold. It can be changed if you want it to be.
ED: So the cost of love is to give up that part of us that keeps us from love and that puts us in pain.
GF: To a degree, but there’s much more to it than that. We must understand that there is a third party necessary. Can I love you or you love me without there being something that allows you and me to meet in a common place? When there’s real love between people, it’s because there is something that is mediating. There is an existing force that mitigates the barriers between the two, the selfishness, the isolation, the parts of us that are always trying to prove ourselves at the cost of others. There is a third party in any true relationship, and that third party is this Love, that Light.
ED: The two people actually enter into this higher relationship that is already there, that has always been there.
GF: Yes, that’s exactly it. They enter into something that has brought them together. “Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name” has to do with the fact that there already exists a level of life, an energetic field, a pure and positive light that makes it possible for human beings to transcend the individual characteristics that are at the root of our conflict, and find what is in common between ourselves in this Love that unites us that way.
ED: I think most people believe that they have to have certain conditions in their lives in order to have love. But what you teach in this book is that love is always waiting for us, isn’t it?
GF: Love is saying: “Seek me and I will find you. Come toward me and I will guide you every step of the way.” Love is a part of a continual transformational force. There is no moment in which it ceases to produce, in whatever it’s present in, a new promise.