Nonduality Salon (/ \)
issue number two - October, 2000
Nonduality Salon Magazine
LIBERATION AT THE FEET OF LOVE
by Scott Morrison
(editor's note: Scott Morrison passed away late September. As of this publication I do not have details with regard to the date, his age -- he was around 40 -- or the cause of his death. As information becomes available it will be posted here and on the NDS email list)
it mean to love, absolutely and unconditionally? It means that no
matter what arises in consciousness, in the mind, in the body, in
the environment, there is only love. There is a story told about
St. Francis of Assisi that illustrates the radical nature of true
love. It seems that there was some kind of dispute that arose in
the course of things between Francis and one of the other
brothers. The dispute itself was not particularly important, but
the thought of saying something
derogatory, something harmful, about his comrade arose in Francis' mind. He was so disturbed by this that he lay down on the stone floor and had his friend place his foot, his sandal still on, on his mouth, lest he ever consider saying something hurtful about his brother again. That is radical love.
Who is willing to be a fool for Love? In recent years, the ancient ritual of foot washing has been rediscovered in Christian churches of all different sorts, from among the most liberal to the most conservative, particularly in the Southern United States and other areas of the country where there has been a long history of racial tension, fear, strife, and deep, unhealed wounds. In what would on the surface of egoistic concerns appear to be a considerable risk, white people, men and women of all ages, from all walks of life, would get down on their knees in front of black people with a large pan of water, and affectionately wash their feet. Black people, men and women, would then get down on their knees and do exactly the same for white people. That kind of vulnerability, that kind of willingness and unconditional commitment to openly give and receive love without any psychological or social defense whatsoever, is itself liberation and transformation. In the touching and being touched in that way, who was the giver and who was the receiver? In the flood of tears and release that followed, what became of the fear, anger, hurt, and sorrow?
These are just two extraordinary examples, and there are countless others, but it comes down to this fundamental question: Am I truly willing to be a fool for Love? Am I willing to be in absolute and unconditional support, in whatever ways are skillful, wise, and appropriate, of my friend's healing and freedom from suffering? My neighbor's? My adversary's or enemy's? A total stranger's?
This is not in any way some kind of escape into codependency or compulsive pleasing or "loving too much." None of that is love to begin with. It is rather a total and irreversible commitment to a world where everyone is included. Is there some other more noble or intelligent way to live? Is there really anything else I'd rather be or do with my life? When this body draws its final breath, what will I have wanted this life to have been an experience of and an expression of more than anything else? Do I really have anything to lose? Do any of us?
Scott Morrison's website is www.openmindopenheart.org/dharma/