Love is something that no one attains mastery of. It is inexplicable. Like God, it is something that some people feel it necessary to deny the existence of, with much the same reasoning, and with the same effect on the populace at large. As with the religious impulse, saying that “it’s only a biological/sociological phenomenon,” appears profoundly unsatisfying to most people.
The problem is that Love is as hard to define and categorize as God. Love takes many forms, and not all of them kind; it is love that lets us euthanize a beloved pet, and it is love that lets us define boundaries that sometimes exclude people and end relationships. The love that draws people to live together and create relationships, and the love that causes people to work for the greater good of all; those are aspects of love that we are familiar with. Yet explaining them all is beyond us; we only know that it is love when we experience it, when we feel it – as irritatingly misty as that sounds.
In Thelema, it is said, “Love is the law, love under will,” and perhaps the reason that Love and Will are placed in this relationship is that Will clarifies Love, sharpens love, brings it into focus. To my mind, this might also mean that Will is an essential part of genuine love. Could it be that love consists of an active principle and a passive principle, uniting to make a whole? (Thus bringing in the concept of divine twins, but I digress.) Thelemic thought offers us this possibility. This leads us into the idea of love as cosmic in scope.
The reason that a statement like that strikes people as funny is because we have a strangely limited idea of love, for the most part. Our idea of love is defined by poor songs and bad movies and much confusion – again, much like our idea of God. And then the words of 1 John resound in our ears, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” And if we return to our friends in Thelema, Hadit lives in Nuit, and their love is consummated in this way.
Existing experientially in Love, and having that love be sharpened and focused by the True Will, is a long working, something that is not done overnight, and a process that is full of false starts, mistakes, and periods of standing around scratching my head and wondering what I was thinking. Then the only thing to do is to begin again.
Perhaps the only way to do this is to open myself to Love itself, without knowing what it is truly, or understanding it completely. This is frightening when I dwell on it, but then again, life itself is an unknown, and is never completely understood even while I am experiencing it. If I read an autobiography, I can see patterns in someone’s life that they never perceived while they were alive, and I can see in some cases that things the person did, which they took no account of at the time, became significant after their death.
Opening to love is not easy for me. I do not think that it is easy for anyone, because love is a powerful, terrible thing that none of us truly understand in full. We simply know that it is and it, in some way, fulfills us, or offers us the possibility of fulfillment at the very least, a joining with something greater than ourselves and yet intimately part of ourselves. And perhaps this is why will is needed as a focus, to direct this great energy, to mediate this holy power so that we are not immediately consumed by recognizing its existence.