Can Love Be Transformed Into True Love?
Like metaphorical love for objects of love can be transformed into true love, can the metaphorical love that most people have for this world also be transformed into true love?
Yes, if a lover with metaphorical love for the transitory face of the world sees the ugliness of the decline and transience on that face and turns away from it. If he searches for an immortal beloved and is successful in seeing the world’s other two most beautiful faces, that of mirror to the Divine Names and the tillage of the hereafter, his illicit metaphorical love then starts to be transformed into true love. But on the one condition that he does not confuse with the outside world his own fleeting and unstable world, which is bound to his life. If like the people of misguidance and heedlessness he forgets himself, plunges into the outside world, and supposing the general world to be his private world becomes the lover of it, he will fall into the swamp of Nature and drown, unless, extraordinarily, a hand of favor saves him. Consider the following comparison, which will illuminate this truth.
For example, if on the four walls of this finely decorated room are four full-length mirrors belonging to the four of us, then there would be five rooms. One would be actual and general, and four, similitudes and personal. Each of us would be able to change the shape, form, and color of his personal room by means of his mirror. If we were to paint it red, it would appear red, if we were to paint it green, it would appear green. Likewise, we could give it numerous states by adjusting the mirror; we could make it ugly, or beautiful, give it different forms. But we could not easily adjust and change the outer and general room. While in reality the general and personal rooms are the same, in practice they are different. You could destroy your own room with one finger, but you could not make one stone of the other stir.
Thus, this world is a decorated house. The life of each of us is a full-length mirror. We each of us have a world from this world, but its support, center, and door is our life. Indeed, that personal world of ours is a page, and our life is a pen; many things that are written with it pass to the page of our actions. If we have loved our world, later we have seen that since it is constructed on our life, it is fleeting, transitory, and unstable like our life. We have perceived and understood this. Our love for it turns towards the beautiful impresses of the Divine Names to which our personal world is the mirror and which it represents. Moreover, if we are aware that personal world of ours is a temporary seed-bed of the hereafter and Paradise, and if we direct our feelings for it like intense desire, love, and greed, towards the benefits of the hereafter, which are its results, fruits, and shoots, then that metaphorical love is transformed into true love. Otherwise, manifesting the meaning of the verse,
“Those who forget God; and he made them forget their own souls. Such are the rebellious transgressors (59:19)”,
a person will forget himself, not think of life’s fleeting nature, suppose his personal, unstable world to be constant like the general world, and imagine himself to be undying; he will fix himself on the world and embrace it with intense emotions; he will drown in it and depart. Such love will be boundless torment and tribulation for him. For an orphan-like compassion, a despairing softness of heart will be born of that love. He will pity all living beings. Indeed, he will feel sympathy for all beautiful creatures, which suffer decline, and the pain of separation, but he will be able to do nothing, he will suffer in absolute despair.
However, the first man, who is saved from heedlessness, finds an elevated antidote for the pain of that intense compassion. For in the death and decline of all the living beings he pities, he sees the mirrors of their spirits, in which are depicted the perpetual manifestations of the enduring Names of an Ever-Enduring One, to be immortal; his compassion is transformed into joy. He also sees behind all beautiful creatures which are subject to death and transience, an impress, a making beautiful, an art, adornment, bestowal, and illuminating which are permanent and which make perceived a transcendent beauty, a sacred loveliness. He sees the death and transience to be renewal for the purpose of increasing the beauty, refreshing the pleasure, and exhibiting the art and this augments his pleasure, his ardor, and his wonder.
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi