Metaphysical gravity Something we are?


Jesuit paleontologist and philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin S.J., wrote that love is “The affinity of being for being.” Affinity recognizes love as an energy that’s not only a human experience, it’s also intrinsic to the universe. In support of this, engineer and futurist, R. Buckminster Fuller, often said that “Love is metaphysical gravity.” That is, it holds all things together, in relationship, at all times, everywhere. And with regard to the action that love gives rise to, Mother Teresa said, “It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.” Love can be many things but putting these ideas together we can say that love is an energy, a force the favors relationship and affects bonding throughout the universe.   

Country singer, Clint Black, sings a beautiful song that says, love isn’t something that we find or have, “It isn’t something that we’re in, it’s something that we do.” The song references the frequencies of love that are the subject of literature, theater, film and mass media—romance, intimacy, amorous relationship and marriage. As biological creatures it’s natural and evolutionarily necessary for these to be paramount in our consciousness, rites, rituals and celebrations. Within these frequencies we marvel at the process of “falling” and “being” in love and lament the falling out of love. Indeed, love at these frequencies is something that we do.

The ancient Greek philosophers understood that there’s more to love than finding it and making it. Their term, eros, referred to this kind of elemental love—eroticism and intimate love, the kind of love where there’s an expectation of return. “If you make me happy and I’ll make you happy.” Another kind was storge, the natural affection between parents and children. It says, “I cannot help but love you.” Philia was affectionate regard for friends—“If you show me virtue, equality and familiarity, I will care for you.” And agape was the term applied to brotherly love, charity, the love of God and God’s love for man. Significantly, the latter was regarded as unconditional—“No matter what happens or what you do, I will love you.” Thomas Aquinas wrote that agape was “To will the good of another.” 

All these distinctions, different frequencies of vibration, regard love as a quality of relationship between human beings or humans and God, given our five senses and common interpersonal experience. But there is a higher and more potent frequency. “Transcendent” love steps away from material, space/time relationships and moves into the realm of Ultimate Reality, the present moment and union at a cosmic level where there is no object at which to direct love. It simply is, often occurring as an unexpected, fleeting and uncontrollable upwelling, a completeness that encompasses all that is. And it urges no action, no reciprocation. Indian guru, Sri Nisargadatta, said “When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that’s wisdom. When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love. Between these two my life turns.” It’s the difference between doing—”I love you,” and transcendent love—”I am love.” 

If love is metaphysical gravity, the energy that holds all things together, might it be that the experience of transcendent love occurs when this is fully realized? I’m reminded that we only know these energies by their effects. For instance, we know how atoms interact and unite to form matter, that sub-atomic “particles” are actually energies of attraction and repulsion and that between them by far is space. But we don’t know why these energies are as they are. The same is true of love. If Buckminster Fuller is right about the energy of love holding everything together at every level, might love be—or give rise to what scientists are calling “Dark Energy?” Indeed, something we are? 

Benjamin Disraeli wrote, “We are born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.” If all the above is true, what would be the consequence of living in such a universe? My view combines what Mother Teresa and Thomas Aquinas recommended, that as conscious beings, evolution encourages us to maximize the amount of love in all that we do and, as much as possible, widen our circle of love until it becomes inclusive, universal and unconditional, willing the good of the universe and all it contains.

On the everyday practical side, awareness of these vibrational distinctions in love can ease suffering. From the Buddhist perspective, the more we move from eros to agape—from thoughts and words of judging to non-judging, from controlling to allowing, from disapproving to supporting, from criticizing to empowering, from denying to accepting and doing to being—the less we suffer in the face of breakdown and disappointment. Irrespective of the frequency of love energy, it promotes union, the refinement of personality and the expansion of consciousness.    

Someday after mastering the winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., Priest, paleontologist


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