The Greek word Agape means Unconditional love, which comes from conscious presence, beyond the concepts of the mind. Agape is Love that has no opposite; it cannot become hate or anger, is non reactive. Agape is Love that endures in the face of what appears to be hopeless and insurmountable problems, desperate and unforgivable situations. Agape is conscious presence, which is a constant pressure welling up from deep within you.
This idea of Love is difficult for us to comprehend and realise in ourselves, so we run away from it, hide from it, because to embrace it, we must first drop all our ego positions and identities. The poem of 1 Corinthians 13:1-10 gives us some insights into what this means.
To translate a mystical poem from Biblical Greek is not easy, it is not the same as changing ideas from one modern language into another. Like Love itself, there are many layers, and translating is an art, an unveiling that reveals deeper aspects of ourselves as we engage with the text without fear of loss.
The beauty of this poem on conscious love speaks to the heart, and is why I have heard it read at so many weddings, funerals, and other occasions that mark important transitions in peoples lives. Agape is an opening to the universe – to the conjunction of male and female, the human spirit and God. Agape is our natural state, and holds the key to deepening awareness of the unity of all life, and points the way forward if we are to break free of all needless pain and suffering.
The translation of the first ten verses of the poem given below is an approximation of the nuances contained within the Greek text.
If I speak with the inspired language of the Human Spirit (Anthropos) and of Angels but have not Agape (Unconditional Love), then I become like the roaring echo of an empty vessel, the clamouring of restless and raging passions.
And though I have inspired prophecies and insights into the mysteries, and all gnosis (spiritual knowledge), and such faith that I could remove mountains, and have not Agape, I am nothing.
And if I give away all my possessions to the poor, and give my body to burn as a shining light showing the way, but have not Agape in me, I gain nothing.
Agape stays constant, is patient and kind, Agape does not envy or hate – knows no anger; Agape does not boast, and has no pride, it is not coarse or rude, does not insist upon its own way: it is not irritable (easily provoked) or resentful (injurious/destructive.) It does not rejoice at finding wrong but rejoices at goodness and truth; it bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.
What we can know is only partial, our prophetic visions are only ever partial, but when that which is perfect comes (the peace of completion/Oneness with the creative outpouring,) the imperfect will pass away.
Agape is the creative passion of the universe for continual renewal. Renewal can come out of intimate relationships and it can come out of death and the dissolving of forms.
Agape is unaltered in the face of calamity, danger, and the difficulties that we face in our every day lives. Agape is accepting not knowing: faith in the continual creativity of the universe – far beyond the understanding of the mind.
Agape enters a consciously receptive vessel: inner silence: inner peace, which means stillness.
In Agape is the realisation that by staying alive to the creativity that continually flows into the universe, creativity will arise in you as it does. This is to enter paradise here, now; to realise the Kingdom of Heaven, here, now; to find true freedom, here, now. You do not have to wait until your physical body dies to access this living reality, but come to a deeper realisation of the essence of life within you now.
Agape as Love is beyond what the mind thinks of as love; I will explore this theme in greater depth over the coming months.