Saturday, December 25, 2010

Love is the Source

When I began this blog, my third post was on Loving-Kindness and Social Change (6/24/08). My very first quote in my very first post was from the Dalai Lama, "My religion is kindness." While I've been clear that this blog is about social change, I've also been clear that love, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion are at the base of any real change.

I think that love is at the core of most spirituality. Many religions acknowledge this. In the Gospel of John, Christ tells his apostles to "Love one another." In fact, in the First Letter of John, he says it outright: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." This goes all the way back to Leviticus in the Torah, "Love your neighbor as yourself..." Love even extends to our 'enemies'. In Matthew, Christ says to "Love your enemies" and in the Torah, in Exodus, God tells Moses, “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it." (In other words, be kind and helpful even to those who hate you.)

The Qu'ran begins with the line, "In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate..." and most of the following chapters (or suras) begin with this also. In Islam, in other words, God is mercy and compassion. The Sufis are particularly taken with love. I've heard it said that to the Sufis, God is Love, Lover, and Beloved. In my post on Rumi Night, a few days ago (12/20/10) I quoted from Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, Sufi poet and mystic, "Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed."

The Buddhist scriptures contain a whole piece on Loving-Kindness, the Metta Sutta, which says, "Even as a mother protects with her life, her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart, should one cherish all living beings..." In Hinduism, Bhakti Yoga is focused on love and devotion. Practitioners (according to the Bhagavad Gita) need to be "devoted to the welfare of all beings" and be someone who hates no one, "is friendly and compassionate... and... forgiving". (Chapter 12, The Way of Divine Love)

The witches I've hung around with follow the Charge of the Goddess that proclaims, "My love is poured out upon the earth..." and "...all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals." Thorn Coyle, a witch from the Reclaiming and Feri traditions says that "Love is that which uses the life force well, and for the good of all. ... It is a sharing, the underpinning of life that infuses all."

Some very radical folks also speak highly of love. Emma Goldman called love "the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy..." Che Guevara said, "At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love." Malcolm X said, "...understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity." And Martin Luther King claimed that "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

It's Christmas, which seems to me a celebration of love. Whatever path you follow, may it be a path of love. I believe that love is the source, the very foundation of what we need to do in the world. Whatever you do, do it with love. Loving one another is social change.

Quote of the Day: "The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done..." - Mother Teresa


Austan said...

And to quote one of my influences, "All you need is love." Which is a short version of
1 Corinthians 13:2-
"And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."

You'd think this would just be common sense; we all know that if you are kind, you usually get kindness in return.

Here's to raising consciousness. A blessed and happy 2011 to you, MoonRaven.

MoonRaven said...

Thank you--and may 2011 bring you love and joy as well.

I wish it were common sense--but I think you are a great example of someone who gives out kindness to the world.

Austan said...

Thank you, as are you. You made me tear up! dammit.... :)