- The Christian religion describes love as this:
“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13) and “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 31, Lev.19:18)
- The Islamic religion describes love as this:
"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. " (Sunnah)
"Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." (Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13)
Mohammed is said to have said:
"Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself, that you may be a believer; treat well as a neighbor the one who lives near you, that you may be a Muslim [one who submits to God]." and "That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind."
The Buddhist religion(s) describe love as this:
Buddhism involves the complete renunciation of oneself in order to take on the burden of a suffering world. The strongest motivation one has in order to take the path of the Bodhisattva is the idea of salvation within unselfish, altruistic love for all sentient beings.
These are just a few of the many religions around the work, but I think it is safe to say that the ideal of most religions is the propagation of love—to show compassion and tender care towards others. Even Humanisms “Manifesto” states:
Humanism…affirms…the greater good of humanity…(is) inspired by compassion…values in human welfare…(is) committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity…(is) concerned for the well being of all.
Simply reading these passages my stir ones heart to feel love and compassion towards others. Those ideas resonate with something inside our hearts and minds that is real—we just know that it is, and that it is a good and wonderful thing…and that it is something we want to do, to act upon, to reach out to touch the hearts and minds of our fellow human beings…for about 5 minutes a week—and that’s if we go to church every week! The rest of us think that way about 5 minutes a MONTH, if that! The rest of the time we go around killing each other, figuratively or literally.
Why is that!? Perhaps it’s not our true nature to love people that way? Perhaps our nature is mostly selfish? Perhaps that’s what we really are in essence? Does that give us an excuse, then, for not acting in a loving way towards other people? In fact, it DOES!
It does, but is that ok? Of course not! As Hal David wrote in a famous Burt Bacharach song, “
“What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love.
It’s the only thing
That there’s just too little of.
What the world needs now
Is love, sweet love-
No, not just for some
But for everyone…”
And so how do we DO that? How do we love our neighbours? Indeed. What is needed is a fundamental transformation from deep within our psyche. How do we achieve that? We cannot in a million years achieve it. Effort is futile. It can only be seen, realized, comprehended. We already have it! It’s already there. How do we see it? In some sense, that is a gift. I think the key is simply to be open to receiving it—by opening our hearts and minds to the possibility. Do that, and it will come. This is something like Buddhist “Enlightenment”, Christian “Christ Consciousness” or New Age “Cosmic Consciousness”. Once achieved (although it cannot be “achieved”) a profound, selfless love for others ensues.
The statement creates questions, raises objections, demands clarity. Let’s address those my friend. Join me.