Inspiration

There can be no excuse for us if we do not embrace the path of love.

There have many who have gone before us, who have left behind their wisdom for us to ponder.

“Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I’ve decided that I’m going to do battle for my philosophy. You ought to believe something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days. I can’t make myself believe that God wants me to hate. I’m tired of violence. And I’m not going to let my oppressor dictate to me what method I must use. We have a power, power that can’t be found in Molotov cocktails, but we do have a power. Power that cannot be found in bullets and guns, but we have a power. It is a power as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth and as modern as the techniques of Mahatma Gandhi.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

“From whence comes love, where does it have its origin and its source; where is the place, its stronghold, from which it proceeds? Certainly this place is hidden or is in that which is hidden. There is a place in a human being’s most inward depths; from this place proceeds the life of love.”

- Søren Kierkegaard

“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world. Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at at all. Do it for peace. Let us radiate the peace of God and so light His light and extinguish in the world and in the hearts of all men all hatred and love for power.”

- Mother Teresa

The Mission Field of Love

What color is love?

What is its gender?

Does it have an age?

Does it have a political affiliation?

Does it even have to be reserved for human beings?

Love can be bestowed upon everyone, or upon any living creature. For example, if you don’t get out much, and don’t know anyone, but you have a dog or cat, you be love for your four-legged companion.

That’s a no-brainer for most people. Especially people with pets. But here’s one that isn’t so obvious: the Internet.

The Internet is — to use a Christian term — a mission field that stretches, literally, around the world.

One way to be love is to not get embroiled in squabbles online. Don’t ramp up arguments to the point where Facebook friends react by blocking/banning other Facebook friends.

How do you do that? By not taking sides. By not drawing a line in the sand that says, in effect, “THIS is what I know to be true. YOUR way is wrong.” Doing that immediately bifurcates reality. It creates an us and them. My way, or your way. That’s where animosity begins.

You’ve seen it. The anger. The heated arguments in Facebook posts. There are some nasty people — who may not even be truly nasty offline, in person — who are trying so hard to make their ideological points that they lose the ability to be kind. It exists on both sides of the political aisle, too. I’ve seen “Liberals” who are extremely angry and bitter against those who don’t share their views. Likewise, I’ve seen “Conservatives” who are dead-sure those on the other side of the aisle are hastening America’s demise. The chasm between them seems too vast to be bridged.

Maybe it is. But it’s worth a try to bridge it. And one way to accomplish that is to keep only-love mind.

That means to be mindful of what you say and do in your world, where you are.

So if, where you are, is sitting in front of a computer, or standing in line with your smartphone in hand, you can practice only-love mind by keeping your fingers from typing words that divide, rather than unite.

Divisions…and Opportunities

The elections in America opened up a whole world of opportunities to be of service to others.

Here’s what I mean:

Even thought President Obama won, the margin separating he and Mitt Romney was only about 3 million votes, or an overall percentage of (roughly) 50% to 48%.

That means our nation is sharply, deeply, perhaps irrevocably, divided. For every person who rejoices in President Obama’s win, there is one who mourns Mitt Romney’s loss.

That means the real work of being Bodhisattvas has just begun. We have a lot of healing, loving, and compassionate outreach to do — on both sides.

Now’s the perfect time to approach all of life with this attitude, “How may I help you?”

Only love. It may not be the only way. But it’s a terrifically uplifting, energizing way that heals and unites rather than divides.

To that end, I have challenged friends to put aside politics from now on. That means:

    Turn off the talk-radio hosts while driving in the car

    Turn off the TV at night (no news – from any network!)

    Quit reading blogs and web sites of a political nature

    Quit associating with friends (on Facebook or in real life) who are entrenched in hard-left or hard-right ideologies

    Reach out to those on “the other side” of the aisle

Now’s the time. This is the place. Either love will see us through…or hate will kill us all.

It begins with me. And I vow to embrace love.

How about you?

Elections

Tomorrow — Tuesday, November 6, 2012 — Americans go to the polls to choose a President, to re-elect Barack Obama, or to elect Mitt Romney.

I have a feeling that no matter who wins…

…The media will gin up (or will continue to gin up) controversy and division.

…Facebook and Twitter will overflow with anger — or haughty smugness.

…Friends and family members will rejoice — or feel marginalized and defeated.

…Political groups will demonstrate — perhaps even resorting to violence.

In other words, now’s the ideal time to keep only-love mind.

If the candidate for whom you voted wins, remember to love those who voted against him. Don’t lord it over them. Don’t add to the divisions. Approach them with open arms and ask them to work with you to help make America a better place. If the ideologies are too great, and unity can’t be achieved, then lead with humility, compassion, peace, and grace.

If the candidate for whom you voted loses, remember to love those who voted for the other guy. Don’t hold it against them. Don’t add to the divisions. Approach them with open arms and request to work with them to help make America a better place. If the ideologies are too great, and unity can’t be achieved, then follow with humility, compassion, peace, and grace.

Either way, love will see us through — come what may.