What would life be like for you if your main focus became to love those around you? I mean, if this was your single greatest intention each day, how would your family life change? Your work? Your play? Your health?
This is the question I awoke to this morning. It began bubbling up in me yesterday after two days of light “sparring” on Facebook. I rarely post political things on Facebook anymore or comment on other people’s posts. Truth is, it doesn’t feel good to me. When I do, I attempt to be respectful and kind but it never accomplishes what I hope. What do I hope? That everyone will see things as I do? As if I have a corner on the truth? Absurd.
Yesterday, I had a small epiphany. I realized that I was trying to change these peoples’ minds. I wasn’t loving them. I was trying to change them. Ridiculous because I know these people to be strong in who they are and in what they believe. Just as I am. I also know that change comes from within, true change must come from within. I can’t effect change in anyone and attempting to do so is a kind of violence against them.
Then it occurred to me, what if instead of trying to change their minds, I just loved them? Love without attachment, without demand, without expectation. It’s not that I haven’t had this thought before but it hit me more viscerally. It hit me in a way that immediately relaxed me. Truth is, when I sit face to face with any of these people, I enjoy them. They are good folk. The tension that arises in me when “sparring” on Facebook has nothing to do with them. Absolutely nothing. To simply love them, changes me. That is to say, my fragile ego is no longer threatened and I return to peace which is our natural state.
I began thinking about how life would be if I just loved each and every person who crosses my path. My lovely partner, my neighbor who sometimes irritates me, the person who cuts me off in traffic, friends on Facebook, the easy to love and the not so easy to love.
What if my first response becomes love instead of defensiveness? How would that shift the energy between us or at least within me? What if my first, and perhaps only, question becomes, what would love do? This is not to say that love has no boundaries. Of course, it does. But when boundaries come from a place of love rather than from fragile ego, peace is possible.
Byron Katie says, “Peace doesn’t require two people, it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.” Yes, this rings true to me. When I understand this, I am free to love anyone, even those with whom I disagree. I don’t need my partner or friends or strangers to agree with me to be at peace. Peace comes from within and it is our natural state.
Jesus, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, all understood this. This understanding transformed them, those around them, and whole cultures. How might this understanding transform you? Your personal and professional life? Your health?
These are the questions I’m asking myself today. I feel relieved as I let go of the need to prop up a fragile ego that needs to be right and to simply love instead. Sure, my ego may protest but my true essence, which is not the least bit fragile, knows that peace comes from within and love transforms. Always.