Inner and Outer Freedom
Freedom to Love
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Everything is a manifestation of divine radiance. Love rushes everywhere, in everyone, in everything. —Paula D’Arcy
My friend Paula D’Arcy leads and attends retreats where people from many different backgrounds come to face their deepest grief, insecurities, and anger to find the freedom that lies on the other side. She shares one of her own experiences here:
There is a love which itself has the power to free the human heart. Many remarkable people live in testament to this love, even though they are held in jail cells and prisons, or suffer the harsh conditions imposed by poverty, [racism,] adversity, war, and occupation. The truth of this love is that, if we can be uprooted from our daily preoccupations and taken by direct experience into its presence, then a profound transformation is possible. Whoever arrives at this place looks at the world differently. The distinctions on the surface no longer exist. Here it is possible to suspend our certainties and touch something greater: the Spirit within us.
In January 2014, I met the fire of that inner heart. The outer circumstances were the ten days I spent at a retreat center in California with thirty other men and women. . . . We were Americans, Mexicans, Israelis, Bedouins, and Palestinians. . . . We all expressed a longing for freedom, while having little idea what that meant, or might demand. We were about to touch the fire of Spirit, embedded not only deep within our own [bodies], but in all life. I recorded our journey through those days, and this telling is excerpted from my journal. . . .
I don’t want to see that how I participate in the world is often less than love, and that the environment in which we all live is the result of our sense of entitlement and greed. I don’t want to know what freedom demands and what dedication to love and peace may require. Words from the poet Rumi haunt my thoughts: his saying that, in order to live in this world, you have to be truly and completely in love. . . .
Love does not come as theory. It moves in bodies, in nature, in the ground beneath us and the space between. True Love is not emotional. It is a different nature, waiting in us like a secret seed. The illusion is thinking that, by changing a system, an ideology, or our external circumstances, things will change. No; freedom is . . . realizing that this Love is not a symbol or an ideal; it is a living power. . . .
And I understood what it could mean if we met the outer world with our inner world. . . .
There is a living love that exceeds our circumstances and our conditioning. That’s the truth we all must find. The profound problems of hatred, judgment, [racism,] and revenge, our jealousies and our violence, will be solved by love, and love alone.
Paula D’Arcy, “The Freedom of the Greater Heart,” “Emancipation,” Oneing, vol. 3, no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2015), 53–54, 56, 57, 58.
Epigraph: “The Freedom of the Greater Heart,” 57.