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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3 Responses to Renewal: If I succeed in loving you . . .

  1. Lydia says:

    We are reflected in each other everyday..the good
    and the bad..responding in love and respect is
    is not always easy in the day to day shifts of love but
    it does help you sleep better at night…

  2. Lorena Griffin says:

    I really like the De Mello quote. That’s one for the wall.

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