Monday, August 6, 2012

The Great Triple Love

In the middle of all my busyness and worry, I want to write about love.  Love, compassion, kindness, caring, concern, generosity, and forgiveness.  These are central themes in my life and I'd like to devote my next two posts to them.

I see love (etc) as having three focuses.  (Many religious people will want to add a fourth.)

I want to begin with love of self.  This is often disparaged as being selfish, yet it's absolutely essential.  The bible says (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31), "Love your neighbor as yourself."  It sounds good, but how would that work if you didn't love yourself?  At a Sufi dance I went to, someone taught us the song, "I love me so much, That I can love you so much, That you can love you so much, That you can start loving me."  (Attributed in at least one place to James Bevell.)  I think we need to begin by loving ourselves.

This allows us to love others, which is the second focus of love.  I will talk more about this in my next post, but I think we need to focus on loving everyone we possibly can.  The bible says to not only love your neighbor, but to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44), love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19), and, most important, love one another (John 13:34). While I think it's important to love everyone, I think it's most important to love everyone you come in contact with.  (Loving world figures, people in the news, "the oppressed", "the oppressors", politicians, etc, is good but I think it does more good for you then for them--unless you actually see them or email them or otherwise get in contact with them.)  I try to imagine how I can be loving with each person I meet today.

Beyond loving others is loving the world.  This focuses on the natural world, but includes humanity since, really, we are part of the natural world.  We forget how dependent we are on it but gaia/the ecosystem/the earth gives us our life as well as what we need to live.  We wouldn't live a minute without it and it is a beautiful, amazing process that isn't hard to love if we open ourselves up  to it.  And we need to love and care for the world because if it dies we die and everything we love dies.

So we need to love ourselves, others, and the world, and we need to work on ourselves, support each other, and take care of the world.  This is why I talk about personal growth, social change, and ecological awareness.

However, from a whole systems perspective, as well as an ecological perspective, a Buddhist perspective, a Taoist perspective, etc, there really isn't any separation between ourselves, everyone else, and the world.  We are all one giant interconnected system and therefore the Great Triple Love is really only one love. Love all, serve all, be grateful to everyone, be grateful for everything.

Quote of the Day: "If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than yourself, you will not succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person..."  - Meister Eckhart

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