If we are one with God, how can we love Him?


Every sage teaches about non-duality and says there is nothing but The Self only. At the same time they talk about love for God. And here duality is created i.e. "I" and "God". Can you please help me understand this topic. Thank You.

—Siddharth Patel, India


Dear Siddharth,

Although there is nothing but God, our limited perception of reality tells us, “I am separate from God.” We simply can’t yet comprehend our oneness with Him.

Knowing this, the sages recommend that we work with what we can comprehend: a loving human relationship. When we love someone, our sense of sense of self begins to expand beyond the body and personality. Similarly, as we cultivate love for God, we begin to leave behind our limited self-identity. Because our separation from God is only an illusion, that is all we need to do; we need not become something else in order to experience our oneness with Him.

An oft-used analogy speaks of having a thorn stuck in your foot. You can use another thorn to dig it out, then throw both thorns away. Our sense of separateness is a misperception (a “thorn” that is stuck). We can use another thorn—love for God—to dig out that first thorn. Ultimately, we will throw away both thorns in the experience of our eternal oneness with Him.