Okay, so it's getting close to Valentine's Day and the topic of love came up yesterday as we were doing a metta meditation during the Learn to Meditate workshop, so I thought I'd stick to the topic of love for a few days because it's in the air!
Some months ago I published the link to Anthony De Mello because he wrote some inspiring works about love before he died. He was a jesuit priest living in India and has a yogic perspective mixed in with his Christian beliefs and I found his teachings really accessible.
Here's what he says in his article from The Way to Love, called "Love One Another."
"What is love? Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I shall offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?' Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could only do that by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature-even the one who seeks to cut it down. So this is the first quality of love: its indiscriminate character."
And he goes on. Part of what he says is that love is not something you DO but rather it's something that you BE.
"There's nothing you can do. But there is something you can drop. Observe the marvelous change that comes over you the moment you stop seeing people as good and bad, as saints and sinners and begin to see them as unaware and ignorant. You must drop your false belief that people can sin in awareness. No one can sin in the light of awareness. Sin occurs, not, as we mistakenly think, in malice, but in ignorance...to see this is to acquire the indiscriminate quality one so admires in the rose, the lamp and the tree."
And the second quality is that it doesn't ask for anything in return.
If you have time and want to get another hit of a love conversation, listen to an interview with John O'Donohue before he died. He speaks of love and soul mates and friendship and many other things. Here's his website.
Both of these guys were priests and had the opportunity to be with people in a very intimate way as they went through live changes and losses and both examined their lives and love and the role it plays in all of our lives. Enjoy!