I live in a region of the United States that is often called "The Bible Belt" because the predominant religion in the South is Christianity. I am deeply familiar with the Christian religion having been raised in the Church and having been very active with volunteer service for and with the Church all my life.
My own personal spiritual growth took me along a path of expansion beyond the religion of Christianity (not abandoning rather augmenting) to a far wider spiritual journey that touches every aspect of my work as a therapist, life and wellness coach, teacher and writer.
This article is about Universal Love - though I will reference Christ's teachings. This article is for all of humanity and is not intended to incite divisive debate rather to invite coming together on the subject of Love.
I have worked with a lot of clients and students who have been deeply wounded by the Church, by people who mis-use and even abuse Christian teachings. Many of these people have subsequently turned and want nothing to do with the path of Christianity. I teach classes that include theories and perspectives from the philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, Universalism, Unity and I observe a path of Yoga which means "to unify" and practice "mindfulness" in everything I do (defined as paying very close attention to present moment without judgment). All of this, for me, fits WITH the essential teachings of the great spiritual master, Jesus, as well.
It is human beings, human doings who often twist and pollute the good teachings many religions are based in. It is important to dig for the essence we can all agree upon in order to elicit this powerful resource called Love - especially now in the face of terrorist attacks and violent warfare, tragedies and atrocities, hate crime.
I feel strongly I have been given a task and that task is to meet my clients and students where they are and help them discover - or rediscover - the path of Love. Depending on where someone is in their spiritual journey I use different words, different ways of understanding but it all boils down to this resource we call Love.
Regardless of where you are with your personal religious and/or spiritual leaning, I believe anyone can agree that if we read the teaching of Jesus we will see very clearly the message was all about the path and power of Love.
From the gospel of John 13:34-35 Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Upon examining the measure by which Jesus demonstrated how to love, let us consider the stories of compassion for the lepers, the adulteress and the prostitute whom he took under wing - the very outcasts of society.
That by itself pretty much says it all. So what is Love? And what is love not?
Love is patient not impatient.
Love is kind not cruel.
Love does not judge and condemn rather seeks to understand.
Love is humble, understanding none of us knows everything.
As human beings having human experience we are all connected as one collective humanity.
We all have the option and responsibility for our own choices, actions, behavior AND to set firm boundaries around the human behavior of others as needed. That is to say we can choose to use the resource of LOVE without allowing for abuse and violence.
Interestingly, though we DO need to set and hold to boundaries around human behavior, Love knows no boundaries meaning it can travel to, from and between us WHILE we say, "This behavior is something I can no longer accept."
I believe the source of Love does melt "un-love" (hatred, anger, rage, fear)) even though un-love can be quite stubborn! Fear (un-love) and all destructive emotional energy that comes from fear is like gravity and it is quite like addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, - it is dense, dark energy that has a gravitational force of pulling humans down and making it hard for them to see or feel love and light.
Though we can not can not rescue someone who does not want to be rescued and we can not pull people to Love when they do not wish to be pulled, we can actively use this resource of Love to help.
And it's actually quite a simple practice.
We need not use words to communicate Love necessarily. We simply CHOOSE in any given moment to follow a few practices:
- Before words come out of your mouth or through the keyboard, check in and ensure they are coming from Love and not anger or fear - EVEN WHEN SETTING NECESSARY BOUNDARIES.
- If you slip up and say or write something unloving - return to source of Love and apologize sincerely and forgive yourself.
- Stay humble. Let's not take it upon ourselves to correct others' unloving behavior. Stay focused on just being loving and extending love.
- Choose kindness even in the face of cruelty.
- Be actively kind every chance you get. Hold the door for someone. Smile. Be patient. Ask if you can help.
- Send wave of love to others - especially those who are angry, hateful, violent. Simply set the intention to send waves of love and envision literally waves of love and light flooding them and lifting them and dissolving, melting away the un-love.
- If you are a praying person, say prayers from a space of love for others to receive love and remember their true essence.
When you see someone in that dense, dark energetic pattern of angry, hateful behavior, sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is flood them with love even when we need to walk away and maintain physical distance.
Love is a verb. We can take action to be loving every moment of every day.
Love is a noun. We acknowledge Love is a form of powerful energy we can employ and draw from.
Love is a choice. We must intentionally CHOOSE to be loving and come from love even in the face of anger, hatred and violence.
Love melts away un-love. This is where faith comes in... believing in the power of Love and leaning into it habitually can bring beautiful shifts and changes, smoothing waters and improving relationships.
And remember, you are a human being having a human experience which means you will falter. We all do. Simply return to Love again and again. It's not how many times you drift away that matters rather all the times you return.