“Isn’t it self-evident?” you may ask yourself. Yet when we look at the rising divorce rate, the incidence of abused or neglected children, and the escalating expressions of hatred and violence throughout the world, it seems clear that most people have forgotten the art of loving.
Jyotish and I will be giving a two-part webinar, “How to Love and Be Loved,” on Fridays, December 6 and 13 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. through Online with Ananda. We hope that you can join us. I’d like to share with you now some of our thoughts on this topic.
We’ll begin with two stories. The first is about a sadhu who had been living as an ascetic in the forest with a small band of his followers. His hair was long and matted; his clothes were ragged and torn; but his soul was filled with the bliss of God. One day during his travels, he wandered into a village and was confronted with a pack of small boys. How intrigued they were to see this strange-looking man in their midst!
At first they called out to him. When he continued quietly on his way, they began to taunt him. When this too evoked no response, one picked up a rock and threw it at him. Mob mentality soon took over: The pack of boys turned savage and began pelting him with stones. The result was bleeding wounds on his head and body.
With the same inward equanimity and bliss, he returned to his followers in the forest. Horrified to see their guru wounded and bleeding, they cried, “How did this happen, Master?”
He replied, “Oh, the boys in the village were having such a good time today. They were shouting, laughing, and throwing stones.” Moral: When we stop referring everything that happens back to ourselves, we are untouched by others’ actions and find peace with them.
In our own lives, we should strive to forget ourselves in our love for others. Paramhansa Yogananda wrote, “O Divine Mother, teach me to use the gift of Thy love, which I feel in my heart, to love the members of my family more than myself. Bless me, that I may love my neighbors more than my family. Expand my heart’s feelings, that I love my country more than my neighbors, and my world and all my human brethren more than my country, neighbors, family, and my own self.”
The second story is from the life of Jesus Christ. After being betrayed, condemned, and crucified by the people he had come on earth to help, his body hung dying on the cross. With unfathomable compassion, he called out to God to forgive them. Moral: No matter how people treat us, it is always possible to reach beyond our own hurt and forgive them.
Speaking of Christ’s great act, Yogananda wrote, “O Thou Great Lover of all error-torn brothers, an unseen monument of the mightiest miracle of love was established in every heart when the magic of Thy voice uttered: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’”
To learn to love so that we find greater happiness and fulfillment with others, we must try to love more expansively; to place our own needs in the background; to forgive others under all circumstances; and to feel that it is God loving through us.
The very fabric of creation is woven of love. If you want to find oneness with all that is, remember that the love you are seeking to give and receive has already been placed within your heart by our own Heavenly Father / Divine Mother. Look for it there, and then share it with all.
Your friend in God,