Law and Love

That evening we began to discuss the ‘Ten Sufi Thoughts’ but people were troubled, their minds veiled by impressions of recent violence in Europe and elsewhere. Unsurprisingly, we came to focus on the fifth thought: ‘There is One Law, the law of reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience, together with a sense of awakened justice.’ The mystery was, how to relate justice and divine law to such cruelty?

When we encounter pain or difficulty, there are two reactions; one is to contract, to withdraw, and the other is to seek an explanation, to ask ‘why?’

These two reactions work together in the physical world. If we reach into a drawer, for example, and receive a sharp pain, we pull our hand away and then look to see what poked us. But when we feel a spiritual pain, the two reactions can work against each other. The pain of loss makes us contract, but often the understanding of the loss can only come from an expansion.

This Sufi thought seems to promise the comfort of divine justice, but it also presents a great responsibility to the spiritual seeker. To see the Divine Law at work, one needs a selfless conscience and a sense of awakened justice. Who has such a view? Only the one whose horizon has expanded to embrace the whole creation. And what can expand the horizon so far? Only the forgetting of the self in the infinite stream of love.

In other words, it is love that permits the understanding of the One Law, because love embraces all, and stands above law.

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