I listened to Adyashanti talking about the dual motivation of (a) wanting release from suffering, and (b) love for…. Spirit. (Or life, Existence, Spirit, God, or finding clarity, or aligning more consciously with love and truth…. whatever form it takes.)
I can find that in my own experience.
One motivation may be to find release from suffering. (Or even to escape it, depending on how the mind frames it.)
Another may be love for this self, or others, or life, or Existence, or God.
For all of us, I assume that both of these plays a role. Sometimes, one may be more in the foreground, and other times, the other. And they may also be understood in different ways.
For instance, the wish to find release from suffering is really a wish to protect this self. It comes from caring. It’s a form of love. It is love.
So whether the surface appearance is a wish to find release from suffering, or love, it’s love. It’s just love taking different forms. And it can be very helpful to recognize this.
For me, love was in the foreground for many years. A deep, heartfelt love for Existence, life, all as Spirit, all as love. This came following the initial opening or awakening in my teens, where everything – without exception – was revealed as awareness, God, Spirit, love, wisdom. And even before then, from as far back as I can remember in early childhood, I had a deep longing which I later realized was a longing for all as awareness, Spirit, love, wisdom. (Or a recognition of this, a lived recognition of it.)
I remember being at a retreat a few years back, and the teacher talked about suffering as our motivation to find “enlightenment”. I suggested that perhaps love was part of it, and he seemed to scoff at it. It helped me see that for him, avoiding suffering was probably the strongest motivation. (I also got that from his autobiography.) That’s completely OK. Life takes many different paths. And it’s completely possible that he recognizes all of this, and more, and chose to not speak about it there and then. (As a teaching strategy.)
I must admit that I have gotten to experience the “wishing to resolve suffering” side much more during this most recent phase of my life, what some would call a “dark night of the soul”. Even here, there is love “at the bottom”, and a recognition of that wish as a deep caring for this self, and love. A love for life. (Although I sometimes “forget”, when mind gets caught up in struggle and drama.)
As Adya also said, it seems that love can take us further. Also since we can, or perhaps will, recognize – at some point – that both are forms of love.
Wanting to escape suffering is very understandable, especially if we experience a good deal of suffering in our life. And yet, it tends to create a sense of struggle, and it comes from a slight misunderstanding. It comes from not yet recognizing this impulse as a deep caring for the self and life, and a form of (worried) love. When it’s recognized as a form of love, as love, this dynamic tends to soften and relax.
Suffering itself comes from a wish to protect this self, and love. It’s worried love. And recognizing that, suffering itself is more easily allowed and welcomed. It’s recognized as love itself. It’s not something we need to escape, or do away with, or avoid. It’s welcome. It’s recognized as awareness. As love.
During a retreat I did some years back, the teacher talked about all of us seeking awakening to escape suffering. I mentioned that perhaps love is a motivation too, at least for some of us, and he seemed to scoff at it.
I still feel that those two go hand in hand, and really are the same.
One motivation, and perhaps especially an early one for some of us, may be to find release from suffering. I can find that in myself now, although on my path, love seems to have been a much stronger motivation for much longer.
The initial opening or awakening, in my teens, revealed all as awareness (Spirit, God, love, wisdom), and it opened both the head and heart centers. I experienced a deep love for existence, and that love led me to wish to clarify this realization and bring it into my everyday life more fully. Even as a young kid, I remember a love and longing for something, and after this opening, I realized what the love was for….. all as God, Spirit, love, wisdom. (Or the realization of that, the lived realization.)
Also, the impulse to “resolve” (or find release from, or even escape) suffering comes from a desire to protect this self. It’s a form of love. That impulse itself is love and caring.
So in either case, what’s behind it is love.
– avoid suffering + for love – ongoing exploration, clarification, love for what is etc.
– suffering, here to protect me, a form of love,
– so both are forms of love
– one obvious (love for life, oneself, Spirit, others etc.), another perhaps less so (love in the form of suffering, wanting to protect the me)