Do you want to be a full expression of love?

Or do you want to be fully awake and enlightened?

Perhaps, like me, you aspire to both – Love and Enlightenment.

Sometimes the lovers of love say that to be enlightened is meaningless. They assert that love is the only meaningful expression of life. All that matters is a complete surrender to love. They may even suggest that to seeking enlightenment is just a form of egoism.

Sometimes, on the other side, seekers of enlightenment – moving from darkness to light, from ignorance to wisdom, from being asleep to being awake – say that love is just a sentimental delusion. Essentially the cosmos is consciousness. Our noble path is to become fully enlightened to that reality, fully awake, fully present, witnessing of all that is.

This debate between love and enlightenment can be portrayed as the major difference between the spiritualities of east and west. In the west, there is the Love taught by Christ. In the east, the Enlightenment taught by Buddha.

This polarisation is an interesting and provocative perspective, but of course it is an overgeneralisation. Christ, for example, challenged us to be awake and fully alive, just as Buddha taught compassion and love in action.

Often in my workshops when I start to discuss love, some participants have a knee-jerk suspicion. They assume that I am discussing a sentimental love and that I do not know or appreciate the path of enlightenment.

Equally when I start to talk about the merits of detached witnessing and meditation (which I love), some lovers of love immediately assume I know nothing about or am rejecting the underlying cosmic ocean of love and benevolence.

I have learnt that I need to pause and clarify what I mean. By Love I do not mean sentimentality. I mean heartfelt, meticulous caring attention, goodwill, generosity of spirit, and the infinite and mysterious power of benevolent universal energy that ultimately penetrates everything.

By Enlightenment, I do not mean a cold frigid detachment. I mean the ability to be fully mindful and awake, and have a continuous compassionate awareness of all life and beings.

So here is a vision of a perfectly fulfilled human that inspires me.

It is you and it is me.

It is Christ and Buddha. Mary and Tara.

Fully love. Fully enlightened.