The primary purpose of Project Agape is to transform the first pillar of unwisdom into that of wisdom by invoking Nondual Love as the principle healing energy, which has no opposite. For Divine Love has no object to love, existing, as it does, at the heart of Wholeness, the union of all opposites. It just is, as Peace, Stillness, and Presence. This is the starting point for all love between beings in the Universe.
Project Agape is named after agapē, one of four words for love in ancient Greek, the others being storgē, philia, and erōs, which C. S. Lewis called ‘Affection’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Eros’, and ‘Charity’ in his classic work The Four Loves. As used in the New Testament in the Bible, agape means “usually the active love of God for his Son and his people, and the active love his people are to have for God, each other, and even enemies; love feast, the common meal shared by Christians in connection with church meetings”.
This definition does not enable us to go as far as affirming, “I am Love,” the Divine Essence we all share. Nevertheless, it is sufficiently close to the Truth that sets us free to give us all a common purpose, becoming free of the sense of a separate self, completing the Cosmogonic Cycle, returning to the Nonmanifest, whence we began our journeys in life.
There are thus no deliverables in Project Agape. It is not even concerned about the transformation of consciousness, which is the purpose of Project Aditi. Rather, we shall know that Project Agape is beginning to have an impact in the world when Thich Nhat Hanh’s prophecy that the next Buddha may be a sangha, a global community of spiritual seekers, rather than an individual, becomes ever more evident in the collective consciousness.
As he said at his Day of Mindfulness at Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California in October 1993, Shakyamuni Buddha predicted that the next Buddha would be Maitreya, the Buddha of love. For the Sanskrit word maitreya means ‘friendly, benevolent’, cognate with Pāli mettā ‘loving-kindness’, the translation of Sanskrit maitrī ‘friendship’, akin to Buddhist compassion (karunā) and love or charity (agapē) in Christianity. And maitreya and community share the same PIE base, community deriving from Latin commūnitās ‘fellowship, community’, from commūnis ‘shared, common, general, universal, public’, originally in sense ‘sharing burdens’.
However, for such an awakening global movement to become manifest, two major obstacles need to be overcome. First there is the problem of spiritual egoism, as the egoic mind likes to grab our deepest mystical experiences for itself. As Chögyam Trungpa wrote in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, “There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centred version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.”
Secondly, nearly all of us are suffering from what Abraham Maslow called the ‘Jonah Syndrome’ to some extent. This means that while we all have an impulse to realize our fullest potential as human beings, “We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moment, under the most perfect conditions, under conditions of greatest courage. We enjoy and even thrill to the godlike possibilities we see in ourselves in such peak moments. And yet we simultaneously shiver with weakness, awe, and fear before these very same possibilities.” Furthermore, we attempt to prevent others from realizing their True Nature as Divine Cosmic beings, which Maslow called ‘counter-valuing’.
Elaine Pagels makes a similar point in Beyond Belief, the quotation in this passage coming from the sayings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas:
Discovering the divine light within is more than a matter of being told that it is there, for such a vision shatters one’s identity: “When you see your likeness [in a mirror] you are pleased; but when you see your images, which have come into being before you, how much will you have to bear!” Instead of self-gratification, one finds the terror of annihilation. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke gives a similar warning about encountering the divine, for “every angel is terrifying.
As a consequence, we are a species that is much afraid of Love and Freedom, what we most desire in the depth of being. The first step in overcoming this fear is recognizing its existence, which we cannot really do in isolation. For as Bodhisattvas know in Mahāyāna Buddhism, no one can be fully awake and enlightened until we all are.