Springtime! Ah, love is in the air, and because it is, let’s talk about it. Well, I will write about it, but not the romantic, sexual attraction type — at least not today.
I have been thinking about the power of love. Perhaps appropriate for this weekend are the words of Jesus in Matthew 18 when he is asked about the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. …The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Think one step further with me. It is also said in I John that God is love. Love is an entity, and we, being made in the image of God, are love, too. Notice that God is to be loved, we are to love ourselves, and we are to love our neighbors. Then, God is love — we are love. We emanate from and embody Love. Wow! That kind of sums it all up.
Extend this thought a bit more, though, and consider the place from which love comes first: “with all your heart.” If we know our hearts, that core self, we know that the motivation for making Self known to the world is to seek connection, because we love — bottom line. We can’t love properly until we know and love Self.
By the way, don’t try to prioritize love — God, neighbor, self. That is not healthy nor reality. Reality is that when we awaken to Self and know the Source of all is love and that we are one with that Source, then it all works together — no one better, more important than another.
We at the level of core self are love, and we seek relationships and connections because love must do that; there is no reason for love if it does not have an outlet. We all, though, have a personal identity that is different from everyone else on the face of this earth. What makes us stand out, what others notice, what gives excitement, zing, and significance to everything we say and do — That is Love. Love seasons everything. Those vibrations of love from our core self, those waves of love radiating from our own unique Self, are sensed and known by others. When we are acting according to heart and not ego, our motivation, intent, and energy behind our expressions of self, i.e., our actions, carry a distinctive quality.
The waves of love from us produce experiences that can be seen, heard, tasted, felt, and even smelled (think Momma’s fried chicken made with love!). Love can be sensed in all of its various expressions in every facet of our life. Love begins with the awakened Self, and we infuse all we do with it when we follow our hearts. May you experience the joy, hope, peace, and significance of loving and being loved, the blessing of walking according to your heart and not the ego. Love — that essential ingredient in the recipe of expressing You!
“All you need is Love.” Thanks, John!
Following up yesterday’s post, I would like to consider some implications of injustice and justice. Taken in context, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about the injustice of society and political, governmental, and cultural leaders of his time, and it was spot-on valid in his “Letter from Birmingham City Jail.” However, the fact that fifty years later injustices not only still exist in some areas but also are increasing in others says to me that the most hurtful injustices are the ones that we perpetrate against our own hearts, our core selves.
One of those famous quotes from MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” deals with this topic: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It could not be more true than when that injustice starts inside of us; it crumbles all the best, sincerest efforts of those who cared and who followed their hearts in establishing an ever-increasing move towards true equality. None of them, or us, were or are perfect, but they were moving forward: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman — too many to mention. But those efforts become empty shells when we don’t follow our hearts and live our authentic self. Some laws, codes, mandates, etc. that deal with just treatment of one another and that deal with morality simply will not hold up when willful ignorance is embraced by large segments of the population — and I definitely am referring to both sides of almost any current issue.
I cannot, nor would I even try, to tell you what your heart says, except in one area I know for sure: hearts do not ever instruct us to initiate harm towards another human being. So, when ugly voices are raised and ugly actions are taken, these are from ego, and they represent injustice not only to others but also to Self.
In my upcoming novel, The Fellowship of the Heart, one of the protagonists, Eric Lafarnge (rhymes with orange), says “Justice is not what the system delivers, but it is what we live and exhibit in relation to others, a personal justice of fairness which we express to one another without expectation or exception because it is simply a way of relating to each other. We must make justice happen in our lives, make justice a part of our character. That is the most important kind of justice.” Yes, it is necessary and critical to have the legislation, but the legislation that deals with morality must be followed by a heart response of individuals.
Ultimately, I guess what I am calling for here is a redefinition of justice that begins with self. That is exactly where the leaders of justice, equality, and civil rights began — with self. If you don’t believe that, do as I recommended yesterday and read Dr. King’s letter.
We really need to leave behind the descent into the dark and threatening caverns of ego that loom before us during this election year, and current candidates aren’t the answer. We need to be personally moving Onward and Upward!
Questions to open the floodgates of justice:
Because I re-read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from the Birmingham City Jail” this week, I have thought about the whole concept of injustice based on stereotypes of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, etc. These have always evoked strong, visceral reactions from me, ones that I need to modulate. The many human dynamics involved in such societal issues makes discussing them difficult — but not totally.
As a nation, we have traveled a long, radical road since I was a child. Everything looks good on paper. Hell, we should have had no problems since these words were written: “We declare these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Powerful words. Inspired words. Words that can’t be effected by government alone. MLK’s words, have the same spirit: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Government should provide tools to help us preserve and nurture these truths; it cannot create these truths.
Why? These truths come from people who walk in the fellowship of their hearts, which is where my idealism starts. That means that when widespread deviation from these quoted ideas occurs, then people, in general, do not know Self and are not following their hearts. It becomes all about ego. The more people turn to government to create what can only be done by one’s heart, the more we will create acrimonious national conflict. It is the only thing that can happen when egos are pitted against one another. Government has its function, but it cannot effect what needs to occur in hearts. Our hearts are where current problems need to be addressed, whether they be ISIS and terrorism, racism, immigration, or ???.
Another idea that MLK shares is the concept of extremism, pointing out that whether we know it or not, we are all extremists in some ways. Therefore, the ultimate question is “what kind of extremists will we be”? I advocate for knowing and living Self in fulfillment, significance, and peace, and then we all get to experience love. MLK’s words for his time are just as true for today: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” The ultimate silence is that of ego silencing Self. The best way to speak out is to live Self and spread that form of love.
If you think that I am too idealistic because I believe in a spreading awakening to Self and all the greatness that creates, then consider this, please. If you ever doubt the influence of culture and prejudice on us as humans, watch little kids playing together. Race, religion, ethnicity — none of it matters. Just play with the Legos, kick the ball to one another, roll the trucks around, dress the dolls and smile and laugh and discover.
Yes, my novel The Fellowship of the Heart deals with these ideas, and I have been speaking about it because I want to help as many as possible think about their own wonderful value and greatness. Let’s be kids again and play together joyfully.
What kind of extremist will you be?
If you don’t know Casey Neistat, the YouTube video personality, you should get to know him. On a cursory look, some might be tempted to trivialize his videos, but he is a trained and bona fide filmmaker who has a sense of what hooks people.
Maybe more importantly, he lives himself — every day, on digital media, published for all the world to see. He has a shade under 2,500,000 subscribers to his channel. If you are not living your core self, you would never be able to sustain that kind of schedule. It requires courage and commitment that must be called upon daily. To those who have not come to know Self, that kind of thing must sound like a drudge, but he is just living and expressing himself, which is a total joy, a joy to live and a joy to watch.
Casey’s vlog today had a one minute message right after the introduction. It was about the terrorist bombings in Brussels. Casey lived the New York World Trade Center attacks. He’s thought about these sorts of events for fifteen years, and I absolutely love his response today. He says when we feel like we need to do something that we should contribute to the world “whatever it is we are the best at; whatever it is that would make this world a better place…everything that helps move that needle [of positivity] in the right direction.” Please go to YouTube and watch “We’re Moving” (March 23, 2016) for the first two minutes.
This spoke deeply to my heart, because it’s another way of saying that which I have been writing about on a daily basis: express our true self to the world because the world needs that Self, that best of us.
If you don’t know where you stand in relation to this, maybe the words of the heart of Eric Lafarnge, who is a protagonist in The Fellowship of the Heart, will speak to you: “Waiting for a then and not living now with creative purpose and significance, that is confirmed desperation.”
When we live always waiting for something or someone to make our lives different, we are living in desperation. We engage in creativity when we find a way to engineer, innovate, and discover ways to express who we are to this world — simple things like smiles or big things like careers. If we feel like we are waiting on some future thing to be significant and make a difference in this world, we are not living our hearts. How much cooler would it be to have a vacation-like mentality day in and day out, living with purpose and significance that speaks to others of You, one of the good things of life? That’s what Casey Neistat does.
You don’t have to wait till the weekend or a vacation to enjoy life or to improve the attitude of this world. Do you want to make the world a better, more positive place today? Find a way to live yourself — now. Be creative. Be You.
In my novel, Fellowship of the Heart, Eric Lafarnge has a conversation with his heart and asks his heart why anyone would choose not to live authentically and true to oneself. His question precipitates this answer: “Because to discover the depth’s of one’s soul and choose and create and live your life requires courage and commitment. No easiness about it. Living life with a sense of purpose, however, gives significance and fulfillment.”
Why isn’t it easy? When we don’t conform to society’s expectations, the norm, or maintain status quo, it makes us stand out. This makes our egos kick into high gear to protect self from undue scrutiny or possible ridicule. We end up conforming, just trying to look like most other folks. All of that sort of behavior makes for an illusory life experience, one that generates a sense of emptiness, a vacuum because our core self languishes under the façade created by the ego.
Emptiness, a hole in the soul, a sense that there must be a greater reason for me to be here — do these sound familiar? Why am I here? Isn’t there something more to life? Am I always just going to look forward to weekends and vacations? Yeah, you get it because as adults, especially, we ask these questions if we have not come to know Self.
What am I suggesting by all this? When we don’t discover Self and when we live in the illusory world of conformity, always hoping for something better to happen, then we have bought into someone else’s game, and we have lost our sense of identity. We will never be truly happy. We resign ourselves to “that’s the way life is.” Remember Thoreau: “…quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” Now, some can make it look pretty good, but a life crisis, a time of reckoning with the Self, will happen. Either discovery can occur at that point or one can suffer, perhaps serious mental and emotional illness.
I will have more to say about this. In fact, I’ve written a whole novel about it. Eric Lafarnge and his wife Anne both engage in this journey of discovery. Have you? It’s not easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s complex. To let your heart be manifested requires courage on a continuing basis — committment. Ego doesn’t give up very easily. The rewards of knowing yourself and living a life of significance and fulfillment, though, are worth sorting it all out.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!