LOVE & LIGHT - Cultivating a Culture of Giving
Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love unfolds and reveals. Love is Knowledge.
“To love you must know.
And to know is to have Light.
And to have Light is to Love.
And to have knowledge is to love.”
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
But are we ready and mature enough to accept the call for Love as a universal force? Perhaps now is when Love should be applied as an existential balm for our aching, if not, bleeding world? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to those who opposed him:
“I love you. I would rather die than hate you.”
He was also one of those fascinated with the Power of Love and stated that:
“Love is the only creative, redemptive transforming power in the universe.”
For those who work for global peace and social justice, Love could have a soothing and contagious effect for oppressors and victims simultaneously. Mother Teresa once noticed:
“We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little Love.”
The Light is what gives us form, nourishing us with its warmth and energy. And Love is the binding force that keeps us whole, connected, and One. These two forces interweave to create in each one of us a unique combination that makes us who we are. In essence, we are the Children of Love & Light, created in the image of God. We are Divine Beings of Love & Light, having a human experience.
Love is the unconditional giving of all of oneself. In other words holding back nothing, asking for nothing in return. The bird doesn’t sing to get something back. Nor does it sing only partial songs. It freely offers all of the beautiful tones and notes for anyone who desires to listen. And it does so for the sheer joy and pleasure of singing. Singing is one of the gifts the bird has. It gives it to the world unconditionally. That is the true spirit of Love & Light.
With Love we become compassionate, generous and giving, open and available to be of service to others and, ultimately, humanity. When Thich Nhat Hanh tells in Transformation and Healing that “understanding is the very foundation of love and compassion,” that “if love and compassion are in our hearts, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle,” we are moved. We may even feel a powerful surge of awareness and possibility.
Fundamentally, to begin the practice of love we must slow down and be still enough to bear witness in the present moment. If we accept that love is a combination of care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust, we can then be guided by this understanding. We can use these skillful means as a map in our daily life to determine right action. When we cultivate the mind of love, we are “cultivating the good,” and that means “recovering the glowing power of love that is present as a potential in all of us” and using “the tools of spiritual practice to sustain our real, moment-to-moment experience of that vision.” To be transformed by the practice of love is to be born again, to experience spiritual renewal. What we witness daily is the longing for that renewal and the fear that our lives will be changed utterly if we choose love. That fear paralyzes- It leaves us stuck in the place of suffering.
If our hearts are full of love and kindness for ourselves, there is little room for fear & suffering. Such mental states might arise, but love is the cleansing water that puts out the flames of fear & suffering. Ultimately, all Love must be grounded in self-love. The basic assumption is,
“If we didn't love ourselves, how could we really love anyone else? If we felt good about ourselves, we’d feel good about others.”
In essence, one loves others not for their sake, but in order to further one’s growth. Giving opens our ability to see others and their systems of reality, and it most definitely enables us to see ourselves in a higher and more loving way. We will automatically begin forgiving, supporting, acknowledging and appreciating ourselves when we do so for others. Healing others is not just a gift we are giving to the world. It is also a gift to ourselves.
As Khalil Gibran once said,
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give… There are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth… See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving. For in truth, it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.”
And Mother Teresa once said,
“It's not how much we give, but how much Love we put into giving.”
Developing Kindness toward Yourself:
- Close your eyes, grounding yourself on your seat. Make sure you are fully supported and your feet are placed firmly on the ground.
- Become aware of the breath permeating your body. Imagine it to be a spray clearing the toxins from your heart.
- After a minute try to visualize looking back at yourself, or see yourself in a beautiful place that you enjoy. Or just silently call your name. Remember to breathe.
- After another minute say to yourself, “May I be happy,” then breathe and acknowledge how this feels. Then say, “May I be well,” then breathe and acknowledge how this feels. Then say, “May I be kind toward my suffering,” then breathe.
- Allow yourself to sit in stillness with whatever arises. After a few minutes say, “May I cultivate more kindness within my heart. May I cultivate more peace within my heart. May I continue to develop and grow.”
- Continue to recite these phrases, leaving a minute or two between each, staying connected with yourself all the time.
- After ten minutes bring the practice to an end.
If you practice this weekly, it will begin to transform your heart. If you do it daily, it will bring about positive change in your life.
“You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love, you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.”
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”