Renewal: If I succeed in loving you . . .

Buddhist teachings say that there is no separate self, and I find that difficult to embrace all the time.  I think most Westerners do.  I don’t know that it matters whether it always makes sense to me as much as I hear what that teaching offers me.  As a “separate self” it is so easy for me to stand back, look at you and find fault.  Once I’ve found fault with you, then I become superior to you.  Being superior to you (in my mind),  my behavior toward you changes, even if subtly, and sooner or later, I will cause you suffering. You, in turn, will see me as a separate self who has caused you harm.  You will fault me for that and see me as inferior. As a superior being,  you will change your behavior toward me and sooner or later . . .

See where this goes?  If I can look at you as some part of what we call the “interconnected web of all Being” then your fault and your gift are connected to me.  I cannot try to rise above you, because you rise with me, and I cannot place you below me because I drop there with you.  We are connected.

Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh expresses this renewing vision:

“Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth… This is the real message of love.”

Catholic mystic Anthony De Mello brings it home:

“You see persons and things not as they are but as you are. ”

Bob Patrick

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