Years ago, I knew someone who used to say "Love is all there is". This was his "mantra" and he repeated it often to whoever was willing to listen. At the time, I was in my twenties and his statement would aggravate me to no end. After all, how could he say that "love is all there is" when there were wars, famine, murders, crimes of all kinds, etc. etc.
Unfortunately, I never questioned him about it. If I had, perhaps I would have come to understand his statement a lot sooner. No, instead, I would just inwardly seethe every time I would see him and he would utter his signature phrase: "Love is all there is". I just "knew" he was wrong, because so many things in the world negated his statement. Obviously there were a lot of things that were not love.
Now that I'm older and wiser :-) I've come to an understanding of this statement. Love is indeed all there is, because everything else is simply a lack of love. Simple? Yes, but true nevertheless. If we break down most "common" negative behaviors and traits, we can see that they all stem from or portray a lack of love.
Let's take a look at some examples.
Acts of Terrorism, Hatred of Immigrants, etc.
Obviously perpetrators of these atrocities are lacking in love. How can one kill people when living from love? How can one spew hatred of another race, religion, group, if there is love in one's heart? So the problem is a lack of love. And of course it goes back generations upon generations, but always the problem was lack of love.
The problem is not the hatred, the anger, the injustice, etc... well yes it is, but those are caused by the lack of love.
There is a growing awareness of the inequality of society on Planet Earth. The rich are getting very much richer, and the great divide is getting very much greater. Now, obviously if the rich had love in their hearts for everyone, not just for themselves and their immediate family, they would not be able to continue their unjust behavior. They would not turn their back on people who are suffering and ignore them, they would not deprive their employees of a living wage, or health care, or paid sick days. They would want to help those less fortunate than themselves. Now of course, many people - rich and poor - do help others, but we're speaking here of those who exhibit greed and do great harm.
Bullying is rampant in many forms these days. It is seen in social media, in politics, in business, on talk shows, on the street in the form of rude driving and road rage, etc. Even terrorism is a form of bullying. It is an extreme form of picking on others that we think are not like us and whose views or beliefs we disagree with. This is obviously a lack of empathy which is another form of love. The same goes for racist behavior, sexist behavior, and more. And the obvious conclusion is that all of these behaviors are caused by a lack of love for the "other", but it always also comes back to a lack of love for self.
Illness is also a lack of love. There is of course the obvious lack of love for ourselves when we act in ways that are not healthy for us (think overeating, drug abuse, addictions, overworking, staying up late, etc.). Then there is the lack of love of "big pharma" and big corporations when they fill our food with additives and chemicals, when they encourage us to spray weeds with cancer-causing chemicals, when they lace cigarettes and food with addictive substances and cancer-causing chemicals. Would Love do any of this? Of course not.
So again, the problem? Lack of Love.
And, I believe we can apply this to anything and everything. The problem always comes back to a lack of love... either for self, for neighbors, for the planet, for animals, for other countries, ethnic groups, religions, whatever and whoever...
And you might say... but the cause in the case of corporations is actually love of money. Well, actually, it's a lack of trust in the Universe (or love, since you trust those you Love). The need for more and more and more, for injustice, for taking advantage of others is a lack of Love on a grandiose basis. It is based in a belief in lack, in believing there's not enough for everyone.
I am reminded of this when I walk through neighborhoods where fruit trees are dropping their bounty on the ground, and no one gets to eat it. It stays there and rots when so many are hungry. This is a lack of love. It is also a lack of awareness. When we operate from a basis of love, then we become aware of what can be done to help others because our heart guides us in that direction. Love has empathy, it cares for others, not just for self.
So How Does Knowing This Help?
Unfortunately, sometimes, just knowing does not alter behavior. After all, we are creatures of habit and we tend to respond automatically to triggers in our environment and from the people around us.
However, I find that when faced with atrocities, injustices, etc., when I remind myself that this is caused by a lack of love, it not only calms down my rising anger and angst, but it helps me understand the "other". Does this make their actions right? Of course not. But it helps me find a way to resolve the situation within my own being and be at peace with "what is". Then from that space of calm, it becomes easier to find the path to take.
We cannot change "what is" in this moment. But we can change the future, we can change our attitude, and we can change our actions. If all change starts within each one of us, then the first place to start is within our heart.
How To Be 100% Loving
I don't even know if it's possible to be 100% loving all of the time. I will be the first to admit that I'm far from living that reality. At some moments, I may even be in the lower percentile. But, the goal is to "self-correct" and not let ourselves go on automatic pilot.
In the same way that the Boeing 737's defective autopilot took over and created tragedy, we creating mini-tragedies when we allow our automatic pilot to take over. When old fears, hurts, and angers automatically take over, we must override them with a course correction to Love.
There are many clichés involving Love: Love makes the world go round. Love heals all wounds. Make love not war. But just because something has been said often (the definition of a cliché), doesn't mean it isn't true.
Perhaps we need to start responding to this cliché: What the world needs now is Love, sweet Love. And since we can't make anyone love us or make them love something or someone, the only place we can make a difference is by starting with ourselves. We decide to live love even when we feel anger, even when we feel sad, or disgusted... whether those emotions are directed towards others or ourselves.
We choose to live love because Love is all there is. Everything else is just a lack of love. Once we choose to walk that path, we have less stress, less headaches, less angst. And we discover new ways of dealing with stressful situations and people just by applying the healing salve of Love.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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