Where is the love we need

Where is the love we need?

As we commence another school year, we are filled with a sense of freshness — a feeling of hope. Everyone wishes the very best of good fortune to our students and their teachers. We must ask: what is the underlying emotion that drives us all? It has to be a sense of love — for our community, for each other, and for the self.  

We hear a tremendous amount about this philosophical concept. In the Western tradition, it is usually focused on Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. (1) We, however, fail this message, time and time again. Our statement of love for our fellow man falls on deaf ears, when geopolitics is unfolding, unfortunately. There is, undoubtedly, in a very real sense, little that I can do to change the situations that exist in the world. But, there is a lot that I can do to change the major sphere of my influence — and that is me. 

I can make myself a vessel of love, metaphorically. I can allow people to sense that I, for one, will not accept what I am being told by the Internet and the news media. I can think independently of joy, can I not?  

How do I begin the proverbial quest for love? I begin at the beginning. I assess how I physically exist in the world. Am I truly gracious to other human beings? This is as simple as opening the door for someone or holding the elevator gate. Next, I can embark on making positive statements. When people express the most negative of thoughts about the weather, or their personal reality, I can deflect them and subsequently frame their protestations in a more positive light.   

Now some situations are truly dire. But none so horrific as we have seen in the 20th century, for example. It is, therefore, not naive to believe that life is truly not that bad. Finally, I must in some way contribute to the greater good. I can do this through the donation of my time, my money, or my ideas — my teaching and my thoughts. 

We can, thus, embark on the great adventure of life itself. Most of us can easily conceptualize that life — my life — is a great and glorious adventure — not all good and not all bad, but an adventure nonetheless. Seen in this way, the pitfalls and failures associated with any life well lived, are placed in their proper context — stepping stones to the completion of my mission. It is in my journey, “my activity expressing virtue” — eudaimonia, to quote Aristotle, (2) that I will find the love I need. 

The great poet Rainer Maria Rilke (3) leaves us with a thought: A togetherness between two people is an impossibility, and where it seems, nevertheless, to exist, it is a narrowing, a reciprocal agreement that robs neither one party nor both of his fullest freedom and development. But, once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole and against a wide sky! (4) 

A closing thought: I am always puzzled by the way many people see the world. Life cannot just be a struggle unto death, but a fruitful unfolding of my understanding of reality. It is an approach to life that has a well-trodden pedigree. Ultimately, this way of living gives the most benefits — to physical health and to psychological and spiritual well-being.   

To sum up:  This week we spoke about the power of love 

To be noted: From Abraham Lincoln (5) — In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. 

Just for fun: 

For reflection:  

This week, on your playful walk, please ponder what love means to you and your life. 

Every day look for something magical and beautiful.

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great! 

Quote:  To live in a state of love requires a conscious effort. 

Footnotes: 

1) Jesus of Nazareth

2) What is Eudaimonia? Aristotle and Eudaimonic Wellbeing

3) Rainer Maria Rilke

4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_to_a_Young_Poet 

5) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_Address#Text 

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