“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“The Doctor says: “So long as the birds and the beasts and fishes are my friends, I do not have to be afraid.” This sentence has been spoken in many, many languages over many thousands of years. Every people in the world understood this theme of mutual aid, of the Animal Helper, until we drove the animals out of our streets and skyscrapers. I think every child in the world still understands it. To be friends with the animals is to be a friend and a child of the world, connected to it, nourished by it, belonging to it.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin
“You’ve been somebody long enough. You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody. Now you can work on becoming nobody, which is really somebody. For when you become nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no one trying to be anyone or anything. The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed – and the natural state of the mind is pure love.”
– Ram Dass
“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”
– Ursula K. Le Guin,
“I will tell you a secret, what is really important . . . true love is really the same as awareness. They are identical.”
– Jack Kornfield
“The supreme purpose and goal for human life…is to cultivate love.”
“I tell again the oldest and the newest story of all the world, —the story of Invincible Love! This tale divine — ancient as the beginning of things, fresh and young as the passing hour — has forms and names various as humanity.”
– Amelia E. Huddleston Barr, A Rose of a Hundred Leaves: A Love Story, 1891
“Love is living and therefore growing; love is growing and therefore expanding; there is no limit to the expansion of love, for its source is divine and thus its expansion is perfect”
–Hazrat Inayat Khan
‘It’s you who are whatever a moon has always meant, and whatever a sun will always sing is you.’ You have a sensitive heart, which allows you to feel deeply connected, at all times, to nature and to the people you love. In your mind, one thought leads quickly to another and another. You love drawing patterns, creating symbols, and feeling like you are part of something bigger than yourself.”
– EE Cummings
“We are not alone. The world is changing, and we are part of that transformation. The angels guide us and protect us. Despite all the injustice in the world, and despite the things that happen to us that we feel we don’t deserve, and despite the fact that we sometimes feel incapable of changing what is wrong with people and with the world…love is even stronger, and it will help us to grow. Only then will we be able to understand the stars and miracles”
– Paulo Coehlo
“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two my life flows.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“By love I mean a noble and sensuous passion, absorbing the energies of the soul, fulfilling destiny, and reducing all that has gone before it to the level of a mere prelude.”
– Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)
“We love because it is the only true adventure.”
– Nikki Giovani
“Love is the only gold.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Love loves to love love.”
“All, everything that I understand, I l only understand because I love.”
– Leo Tolstoy
“If a thing loves, it is infinite.”
– William Blake
“The only substance capable of reaching across the universe is light. Light is how the universe loves us from afar. Love and Light are substances that make all life possible, and can transcend great darknesses.”
– Wolfram Alderson
“Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.”
– Lord Byron
“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
– Willa Cather
“Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.”
– Soren Kierkegaard
“True love stories never have endings.”
“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
– Erich Fromm
“Love is the law of life.”
“The world is in need of those whose life is one burning in love, selfless.”
– Swami V’ivekananda
“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”
– H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“Love conquers all; let us, too, yield to love.”
“Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.”
– H.L. Mencken
“Only do what your heart tells you.”
– Diana, Princess of Wales
“Without love, I should be spiritless.”
– Francois Maynard
“The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
– Vincent van Gogh, letter to Theo van Gogh, Arles, c. 17 September 1888
“There are only two emotions: one is Love and the other is fear. Love is our true reality. Fear is something our mind has made up, and is therefore unreal.”
-Gerald Jampolsky, MD
“The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into the habit;
Habit hardens into the character;
Character gives birth to the destiny;
So, watch your thoughts with care;
And let it spring from love;
Born out of respect for all beings…”
-Venerable Maha Ghosananda
“Love only exists when it has reached everybody. Love has disappeared the moment it fails to include all; when love is not pervasive, it cannot be called love.”
-Mo Tzu (470-391BC)
“What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love.”
– Meister Eckhardt
“The great teachers of humanity become streams of love.”
– Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Kindness is the highest form of prayer for it reflects the inner longing for universal love.”
– Debasish Mridha
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
– Jelaluddin Rumi
“Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”
– Victor Hugo
“People think that love is an emotion. Love is good sense.”
– Ken Kesey
“Any time not spent on love is wasted.”
– Torquato Tasso
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
– A.A. Milne
“Take away love and our earth is a tomb.”
– Robert Browning
“The heart is the path to wisdom because it dares to be vulnerable in the presence of power.”
– Terry Tempest Williams
“Love is metaphysical gravity.”
– R Buckminster Fuller
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to LOVE, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.””Who, being loved, is poor?”
– Oscar Wilde
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
“All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
– Leo Tolstoy
“…For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
– Nelson Mandela
“If you love it enough, anything will talk with you.”
– George Washington Carver
“Love has features which pierce all hearts, he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved.
He has wings, he comes quickly and flies away the same.”
“Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.”
“Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also – if you love them enough.”
– George Washington Carver
“Go to the garden when you need to remember that everything is love.
– Victoria Erickson
“Return to the most human, nothing less
Will nourish the torn spirit, the bewildered heart,
The angry mind: and from the ultimate duress,
Pierced with the breath of anguish, speak for love.”
– May Sarton, “Santos: New Mexico” (excerpt)
“When I see brokenness, poverty and crime in inner cities, I also see the enormous potential and readiness for transformation and rebirth. We are creating an art form that comes from the heart and reflects the pain and sorrow of people’s lives. It also expresses joy, beauty, and love. This process lays the foundation of building a genuine community in which people are reconnected with their families, sustained by meaningful work, nurtured by the care of each other and will together raise and educate their children. Then we witness social change in action.”
– Lily Yeh
“Love is the Answer.”
– John Lennon
“Nobody, not even poets, has ever measured ow much the heart can hold.”
– Zelda Fitzgerald
“Hell is the inability to love.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller
“The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.”
– Sioux Wisdom
“The heart points to the most essential dimension within you, so to live in connectedness with that then you are in touch with the power of the heart which is the power of life itself. The power of the very intelligence that pervades and underlies the entire universe.”
– Eckhart Tolle
“Often the question arises that if the heart is so powerful, why is it so easily broken? My time on earth has led me to understand that it’s because that’s how the heart grows. In the same way that when we exercise our muscles actually break down so they can get healthy and grow stronger — this is how the heart works.”
– Mark Nepo
“There is no substitute for following the aliveness that our heart tunes us to.”
– Mark Nepo
“The higher order of logic and understanding originates within your heart.”
– Gary Zukav
“The physical heart pumps blood through the veins and arteries from the time we are born until the time we die, the most efficient pump ever invented. But the heart is more than that.”
– Howard Martin
“With wisdom let your mind full of love pervade one-quarter of the world, and so too the second, third, and fourth quarter. Fill the whole wide world, above, below, around, pervade the world with love filled thought, free from any ill will, love abounding, sublime, beyond measure.”
– Digha Nikaya
“The first thing is to love yourself. You cannot progress by self doubt and self hatred. You can only progress by self love.”
– Dipa Ma
“Who being loved, is poor?”
– Oscar Wilde
“Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
– The Little Prince
“When the power of Love overcomes the Love of power the world will know peace.”
– Jimi Hendrix
“The world will see true peace when there are no boundaries of religion and the religion of all will be pure unconditional love.”
– Debasish Mridha
“Be a vessel of love and fill up with compassion and kindness. Then give it away with unconditional love.”
– Debasish Mridha
“In this space, We do raw We do loud hearts & truthful art We do open arms & unfettered forgiveness We do real We do vulnerable We do wild In this space, We do love In all the shapes & forms That we come in We do love”
– Bryonie Wise
“They say that wisdom comes from suffering. This is not true. Wisdom comes from having unconditional empathy for all mankind. Any man filled with empathy is capable of gaining valuable insights on the human condition through the suffering of others. You do not need to suffer to know suffering, but you need empathy first to identify and feel the suffering of others around you. If you do not feel love for all mankind, nor see everyone around you as a valuable human and an extension of yourself, then you will never feel real empathy. And if you do not have empathy, then you will not gain, learn and remember valuable knowledge from your experiences, or those around you, so that you one day become wise. Yet most importantly, wisdom comes from having a good memory. If you do not remember anything, or are so disconnected from basic humanism to even care to dissect lessons to be gained from every experience in your life and from those around you – using simple reason and the juggling of feelings, then wisdom will forever remain a faraway planet to you.”
– Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
“Be Relentless in your Compassion for it is Your Power.”
– Odille Rault
“Your heart truly deserves the priceless feeling of unconditional love that can only come from you to you.”
– Edmond Mbiaka
“I believe in unconditional love… I believe in dangerous unselfishness…”
– Steve Maraboli
“Love heals: there is no infirmity of body, mind, heart or soul that can withstand unconditional love.”
– Maharishi Sadasiva Isham, Ascension!: An Analysis of the Art of Ascension as Taught by the Ishayas
“I know of only one duty, and that is to love.”
– Albert Camus
“We are called to love – it is our home.”
– Caroline A. Shearer, Love Like God: Embracing Unconditional Love
“The most incredible architecture is the architecture of Love.”
– Wolfram Alderson, Puppet Universe
“The total sum of suffering in the world is essentially the “love deficit”. We all need to start investing more in love – the ROI is simply fabulous!”
– Wolfram Alderson, Structural Love
“We’re all born with a Love Bank. The people we meet are automatically assigned their own “accounts,” and every experience we have with them affects the balances of love units in their accounts.”
– Willard F. Harley, Jr.
“Love has no darkened temples where mysteries are kept obscure and hidden from the sun.”
– Foundation for Inner Peace, A Course in Miracles
“The utterances of the heart–unlike those of the discriminating intellect–always relate to the whole. The heart-strings sing like an Aeolian harp only to the gentle breath of a premonitory mood, which does not drown the the song but listens. What the heart hears are the great things that span our whole lives, the experiences which we do nothing to arrange but which we ourselves suffer.”
– C.G. Jung, The Symbolic Life
“When we understand that love is not just emotion, but intelligence, then we are on the evolutionary road. Love is an extremely advanced body of knowledge, but we put more time into learning how to drive a car (study for an exam, pass a test, demonstrate driving skills, etc.). The sum of real knowledge and real love are real existence. If it doesn’t come from love, it isn’t real. The heart is far more than a glorious pump, it is a wisdom engine, a source of actionable intelligence, a divine communication device.”
“The Person the size of a thumb abiding within the body always resides in the hearts of people. With the heart, with insight, with thought has been contemplated. Those who know this become immortal.”
– Svetasvatara Upanishad 3:13, translated by Patrick Olivelle
“A Shinto rite…can be defined as an occasion for the recognition and evocation of awe that inspires gratitude to the source and nature of being. And as such, it is addressed as art (music, gardening, architecture, dance, etc.) to the sensibilities–not to the faculties of definition…And to retain this sense (of gratitude and awe), the faculties remain open, clean, pure…And to this there is the corollary that the pure heart, in his natural being, divine. The fundamental terms are “bright heart” (akaki kokoro), and “straight heart” (naoki kokoro). The first denotes the quality of the heart shining brightly as the sun; the second, a heart clear as a white jewel; the third, a heart inclined to justice; and the last, a heart lovely and without misleading inclinations. All four unite as seimei shin: purity and cheerfulness of spirit.”
– Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology
“The heart is the perfection of the whole organism. Therefore the principle of the power of perception and the soul’s ability to nourish itself must lie in the heart.”
– Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), “On the Parts of Animals” and “Concerning the Soul” from Aristotle Selections, edited by W.D. Ross, 1927 Oxford translation
“The dead heart was born into Western consciousness…at that moment when Harvey conceived the heart to be divided…Thought lost its heart, heart its thought.”
– James Hillman, “Harvey’s Heart,” The thought of the Heart and the Soul of the World
“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing: we know this in countless ways.”
– Fragment 277, Blaise Pascal (1623-62)
“We know the truth not only through our reason but also through our heart. It is through the latter that we know first principles, and reason, which has nothing to do with it, tries in vain to refute them…For knowledge of first principles, like space, time, motion, number, is as solid as any derived through reason, and it is on such knowledge, coming from the heart and instinct, that reason has to depend and base all its argument. The heart feels that there are three spatial dimensions and that there is an infinite series of numbers, and reason goes on to demonstrate that there are no two square numbers of which one is the double of the other. Principles are felt, propositions proved, and both with certainty through by different means. It is just as pointless and absurd for reason to demand proof of the first principles of the heart before agreeing to accept them as it would be absurd for the heart to demand an intuition of all the propositions demonstrated by reason before agreeing to accept them.”
– Fragment 110, “Greatness” Pensées , Blaise Pascal
“Heartbreak is an invisible affliction. No limp comes with it, no evident scar. No sticker is issued that guarantees good parking or easy access. The heart is broken all the same. The soul festers. The wound, untreated, can be terminal.”
– Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
“Work of the eyes is done, go and do heart work on all the images imprisoned within you.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke, “Turning Point,” The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
“I sought a them and sought for it in vain, I sought it daily for six weeks or so. Maybe at last, being but a broken man, I must be satisfied with my heart.”
– W.B. Yeats, “The Circus Animals’ Desertion, Last Poems
“Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart Could have recover’d greenness?”
– George Herbert, “The Flower”
“Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.”
– Iris Murdoch, “The Sublime and the Good,” Chicago Review 1959
“The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; and do so that which bestirs you to love.”
– The Interior Castle 4, 1, 7, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
– Lao Tzu
“During a short leave in Munich in 1916, Paul Klee wrote the following reflection on himself as a human being and an artist: “My fire is more like the dead or the unborn…Everything Faustian is alien to me. I place myself at a remote starting point of creation, whence I divine a sort of formula for men, beasts, plants, stones and the elements, and for all the whirling forces. A thousand questions subside as if they had been solved. Neither orthodoxies or heresies exist there. The possibilities are endless, and the belief in them is all that lives creatively in me…I seek a place only with God…I cannot be understand in purely earthly terms. For I can live as well with the dead as with the unborn. Somewhat closer the heart of Creation than is usual. But still far from being near enough.”
– Paul Klee cited in Heart (a personal journey through its myths and meanings) by Gail Godwin
“O Love, O pure deep love, be here, be now, Be all; worlds dissolve into your stainless endless radiance, Frail living leaves burn with you brighter than cold stars: Make me your servant, your breath, your core.”
“What anyone does out of love remains inscribed on his heart, for love is the fire of life, and so constitutes the life in everyone. Consequently, as the love is, so the life is; and as the life is, that is as the love is, so the entire person is in soul and in body.”
– Emanuel Swedenborg
“Love is all important and its own reward.”
– Tamil Proverb
“Love alone will abide thee.”
– Tamil Proverb
“O that I might become for all beings the soother of pain. O that I might be for all of them that ail the remedy, the physician, the nurse, until the disappearance of illness. O that by raining down food and drink I might soothe the pangs of hunger and thirst, and that in times of famine I might myself become drink and food. O that I might be for the poor an inexhaustible resource.”
– Santiveda, Seventh-Century Indian Poet
“According to my tradition, from the beginning of creation, every morning, when the sun comes up, we are each given four tasks by our Creator for that day. First, I must learn at least one meaningful thing today. Second, I must teach at least one meaningful thing to another person. Third, I must do something for some other person, and it will be best if that person does not even realize that I have done something for them. And, fourth, I must treat all living things with respect. This spreads these things throughout the world.”
– Cree Native American Teaching
“To serve anonymously, to love for the sake of loving and not for the hope of reward, is to serve in the spirit of agape. To serve with agape is to be willing to learn, to teach, and to give, to love for the sake of love itself, with no expectation of reward.”
– Sir John Templeton, Agape Love
“…try, like some first human being, to say what you see and experience and love and lose… describe your sorrows and desires, passing thoughts and and the belief in some sort of beauty–describe all these with loving, quiet, humble sincerity… and if out of this turning inward, out of this absorption into your own world verses come, then it will not occur to you to ask anyone whether they are good verses… for you will see in them your fond natural possession, a fragment and voice of your life. A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity. In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it: there is no other.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
“What is the one thing, which when you possess, you have all other virtues? It’s compassion.”
– Attributed to the Buddha
“There is no charm equal to the tenderness of heart.”
– Jane Austin
“If you temper your heart with loving-kindness and prepare it like fertile soil, and then plant the seed of compassion, it will greatly flourish.”
– Kamalashila (Eighth Century)
“Anyone can see that intending and not acting when we can is not really intending, and loving and not doing good when we can is not really loving.”
– Emanuel Swedenborg, Heaven & Hell
“When you begin to find love in people and places where you haven’t found it before, it’s always because you’ve grown.”
– The Universe
“In the beginning, love. In the end, love. In the middle, we have to cultivate virtues.”
– Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
“True love is not for the faint hearted.”
– Meher Baba
“I just think goodness is more interesting. Evil is constant. You can think of different ways to murder people, but you can do that at age five. But you have to be an adult to consciously, deliberately be good – and that’s complicated.”
– Toni Morrison“
“Joy is not for the lucky few-it’s a choice anyone can make.”
– Sylvia Boorstein“
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Speaking the truth I desire this:
May I enjoy his lovingkindness as do ye,
May not one of you supplant another,
He hath enjoyed my lovingkindness, the all-knower.”
– Taittiriya Samhita 4.3.12, Yajurveda, Translated by Arthur Keith
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those who truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches they find that they are one tree and not two.”
– Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
“One can live magnificently in this world if one knows how to work and how to love.”
– Leo Tolstoy”
“Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is.”
– Sigmund Freud
“We must understand love; we must be able to teach it, to create it, to predict it, or else the world is lost to hostility and to suspicion.”
– Abraham Maslow
“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”
– Viktor E. Frankl
“Love is the merchandise which all the world demands; if you store it in your heart, every soul will become your customer.”
– Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Our virtues are made by love, and our sins caused by the lack of it.”
– Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed –
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.”
– Langston Hughes
“No wonder my happy heart sings
Your love has given me wings”
– From the English translation of “Nel blu dipinto di blu”; literally “In the blue that is painted blue”), popularly known as “Volare” (meaning “To fly”) a song recorded by Italian singer-songwriter Domenico Modugno. Written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, it was released as a single on February 1, 1958
“All that you do, do only out of love!”
“A man should not say, “I will love the learned and hate the unlearned”; he should say, “I will love them all.”
– Avot Derabbi Nathan
“When there is no truth, there is no kindness.”
– Nachman of Bratslav
“Training through love breeds love.”
– Wilheim Stekel
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.
– Brene Brown
I Have Learned So Much
So much from God
That I can no longer
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of Itself
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.
From: ‘The Gift’
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
“I am because we are. We all bleed the same color. We all want to love and be loved.”
“To be brave is to love someone unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. To just give. That takes courage, because we don’t want to fall on our faces or leave ourselves open to hurt.”
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil. Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being(inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
“Kindness is a basic and natural openness of heart that lets the world in.”
– Joseph Goldstein
You’ve got it all wrong.
You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. This is where you came from and where you’ll return.
You came here to learn personal love.
Infused with divinity.
Lived through the grace of stumbling.
Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up.
You didn’t come here to be perfect, you already are.
You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous.
And rising again into remembering.
But unconditional love? Stop telling that story.
Love in truth doesn’t need any adjectives.
It doesn’t require modifiers.
It doesn’t require the condition of perfection.
It only asks you to show up.
And do your best.
That you stay present and feel fully.
That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU.
– Courtney A. Walsh
“Let yourself be silently drawn
By the strange pull
Of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.”
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
“There is one way to operate on or graduate from the Plane of Love. It is to accept yourself — and everything else — as being made from love. When we look around the world, it is hard to imagine that the fundamental unit of matter is love.”
-Cyndi Dale, Illuminating the Afterlife
“I have a different theory, which is even more harebrained. It goes like this: Maybe we should all just love one another, even if we don’t completely understand the things that people bear in their dark, strange hearts, even if the stars that other men and women are following seem invisible to us. If we make ourselves open to the humanity of others first, maybe understanding will follow. An incomprehensible theory of the universe isn’t necessary if your only ambition is to embrace another soul. What you need, maybe all you need, in fact, is the willingness to love.”
– Jennifer Finney Boylan,
“Miracle: to love more with an irreparable heartache”
– Nicola An,
“Any idea of separation is bondage. True liberation of the mind is in non-differentiation.”
– Abhijit Naskar,
“Love” is a brilliant defying logic that thrives on human weaknesses!”
– Vishwanath S J
“Love is something we can choose, the same way we choose anger, or hate, or sadness. We can choose love. It’s always a choice within us. Let’s begin right now in this moment to choose love. It’s the most powerful healing force there is.”
– Louise L. Hay, “The Power is Within You”
“Those that go searching for love only make manifest their own lovelessness, and the loveless never find love, only the loving find love, and they never have to seek for it.”
– D.H. Lawrence, “quoted in Being in Balance”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate
(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart
(i carry it in my heart)
– E. E. CUMMINGS
“This is not a time in America to minimize our antagonisms or pretend they don’t exist. This a time for serious people to try, with depth of intelligence and heart, to build new bridges. The most important reconciliation needed in America today is in the area of race. With a nation, as with an individual, amends are necessary to free the psyche and allow it to move on.”
-Marianne Williamson, The Healing of America
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.”
– Marianne Williamson, Return to Love
“The experience of love is a choice we make, a mental decision to see love as the only real purpose and value in any situation. Until we make that choice, we keep striving for results that we think would make us happy. But we’ve all gotten things that we thought would make us happy, only to find that they didn’t. This external searching-looking to anything other than love to complete us and to be the source of our happiness—is the meaning of idolatry. Money, sex, power, or any other worldly satisfaction offers just temporary relief for minor existential pain.”
– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
“Love in your mind produces love in your life. This is the meaning of heaven. Fear in your mind produces fear in your life. This is the meaning of hell.”
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment—or unlearning—of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is the essential existential fact. It is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.”
The ego is quite literally a fearful thought. As children, we were taught to “good” boys and girls, which of course implies we are not that already. We were taught we’re good if we clean up our room, or we’re good if we make good grades. Very few of us were taught that we’re essentially good. Very few of us were given a sense of unconditional approval, a feeling that we’re precious because of what we are, not what we do. And that’s not because we were raised by monsters. We were raised by people who were raised the same way we were. Sometimes in fact, it was the people who loved us the most who felt it was their responsibility to train us to struggle. Why? Because the world as it is, is tough, and they wanted us to make good. We had to become as crazy as the world is, or we would never fit in here. We had to achieve, make the grade, get into Harvard. What’s strange is that we didn’t learn discipline from that perspective, so much as a weird displacement of our sense of power away from our selves onto external sources. What we lost was a sense of our own power. And, what we learned was fear, fear that we weren’t good enough, just the way we are. Fear doesn’t promote learning. It warps us. It stunts us. It makes us neurotic. And by the time we were teenagers, most of us were severely cracked. Our love, our hearts, our real “self” were constantly invalidated by people who didn’t love us and by people who did. In the absence of love, we began slowly but surely to fall apart. Having been taught since we were children that we are separate, finite beings, we have a hard time when it comes to love. Love feels like a void that threatens to overwhelm us, and that’s because, in a certain sense, it is and does. It overwhelms our small self, our lonely sense of separateness. Since that sense of separateness is who we think we are, we feel like we’ll die without it. What’s dying is the frightened mind, so the love inside us can get a chance to breathe.
– Excerpts from Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
“To become a miracle worker means to take part in a spiritual underground that’s revitalizing the world, participating in a revolution of the world’s values at the deepest possible level. That doesn’t mean you announce this to anyone. A member of the French underground didn’t walk up to a German officer occupying Paris and say, “Hi, I’m Jacques. French Resistance.” Similarly, you don’t tell people who would have no idea what you’re talking about, “I’m changed. I’m working for God now. He sent me to heal things. The world’s about to shift big time.” Miracle workers learn to keep their own counsel. Something important to know about spiritual wisdom is that, when spoken at the wrong time, in the wrong place, or to the wrong person, the one who speaks sounds more like a fool than a wise one.”
– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
We think there are different categories of life, such as money, health, relationships, and then, for some of us, another category called “spiritual life.” But only the ego categorizes. There is really only one drama going on in life: our walk away from God, and our walk back. We simply reenact the one drama in different ways. Denying love is the only problem, and embracing it is the only answer. Love heals all our relationships – to money, the body, work, sex, death, ourselves, and one another. Through the miraculous power of pure love, we let go our past history in any area and begin again. If we treat miraculous principles like toys, they will be like toys in our lives. But if we treat them like the power of the universe, then such will they be for us. The past is over. It doesn’t matter who are, where we come from, what Mommy said, what Daddy did, what mistakes we made, what diseases we have, or how depressed we feel. The future can be reprogrammed in this moment. We don’t need another seminar, another degree, another lifetime, or anyone’s approval in order for this to happen. All we have to do is ask for a miracle and allow it to happen, not resist it. There can be a new beginning, a life unlike the past. Our relationships can be made new. Our careers shall be made new. So shall the will of God be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Not later, but now. Not elsewhere, but here. Not through pain, but through peace. So be it. Amen.
– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
In every relationship, in every moment, we teach either love or fear. To teach is to demonstrate. As we demonstrate love towards others, we learn that we are lovable and we learn to love more deeply. As we demonstrate fear or negativity, we learn self-condemnation and we learn to feel more frightened of life. We will always learn what we have chosen to teach. “Ideas leave not their source.”
– Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.”
– Marianne Williamson
“A Return to Love is about the practice of love, as a strength and not a weakness, as a daily answer to the problems that confront us. How is love a practical solution? This book is written as a guide to the miraculous application of love as a balm on every wound. Whether our psychic pain is in the area of relationships, health, career, or elsewhere, love is a potent force, the cure, the Answer.” – Marianne Williamson, Excerpt from the Preface to A Return to Love
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment, or unlearning, of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is the essential existential fact. It is our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
“Fear is our shared lovelessness, our individual and collective hells. It’s a world that seems to press on us from within and without, giving constant false testimony to the meaningless of love. When fear is expressed, we recognize it as anger, abuse, disease, pain, greed, addiction, selfishness, obsession, corruption, violence, and war.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have decided to stick with love… hate is to great a burden to bear.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.
This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Two sermons on Love given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Levels of Love
Loving Your Enemies
“Levels of Love,” Sermon Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church Atlanta, Georgia
September 16, 1962
In this sermon, prepared as part of a series on love, King urges his congregation to move beyond varieties of love that involve self-interest, such as romantic love and friendship. He cites a recent conversation with a white man in Albany who claimed the tension of the civil rights movement had caused him to not “love Negroes like I used to.” King’s unspoken retort is, “You never did love Negroes because your love was a conditional love. It was conditioned upon the Negro staying in his place, and the minute he stood up as a man and as somebody you didn’t love him anymore.” Instead he recommends a higher kind of love that extends even to segregationists and recommends that his congregation “rise to agape…an all-inclusive love. It is the love of God operating in the human heart.” The following text is taken from an audio recording on the service.1
I hope that at this moment you will not utter a word unless that word is uttered to God. For the moment you will rise above the miasma and the hurly-burly of everyday life and center your vision on those eternal verities, those eternal values that should shape our destiny. Life is difficult. It is the road we travel, but in traveling this road we encounter rough places. At points it’s a meandering road; it has its numerous curves; it has its hilly places; and we struggle to get over the hills. Sometimes it’s painful; sometimes it’s trying. But [somehow?] we have a faith, and we have a belief that even though the road of life is meandering and curvy and rough and difficult, we can make it if God guides us and leads us. We go on with that faith, and we can keep on keeping on. We can smile when others all around us are giving up in despair. Lead me. Guide me. Be with me as I journey the road of life.
May we open our hearts and spirits now as we listen to the words from the choir. [choir sings]
This morning I would like to continue the series of sermons that I’m preaching on love. I’ll preach a sermon this morning that I preached in this pulpit some two years ago, but one that I’ve had a chance to give some more thought to.2 And one that I hope will clear up some of the things that we have been discussing in the two previous sermons. You remember we started the series preaching from the subject “Loving Your Enemies.” The second sermon in the series was “Love in Action,” based on the prayer of Jesus Christ on the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”3
And I’d like to use as the subject this morning “Levels of Love,” trying to bring out the meaning of the various types of love. Certainly, there is no word in the English language more familiar than the word “love.” And yet in spite of our familiarity with the word, it is one of the most misunderstood words. In a sense it is an ambiguous term. And we often confuse when we begin to grapple with the meaning of love and when we attempt to define it. And I think a great deal of the confusion results from the fact that many people feel that love can be defined in one category, in one pattern, in one type. But in order to understand love and its meaning and its many sides, its qualities, we must understand that there are levels of love. And this is what I would like to set forth this morning as my thesis and try to give these various levels of love.
First, there is what I would refer to as utilitarian love. This is love at the lowest level. Here one loves another for his usefulness to him. The individual loves that person that he can use. A great deal of friendship is based on this, and this why it is meaningless pseudo-friendship, because it is based on this idea of using the object of love. [Congregation] (That’s right) There are some people who never get beyond the level of utilitarian love. They see other people as mere steps by which they can climb to their personal ends and ambitions, and the minute they discover that they can’t use those persons they disassociate themselves, they lose (All right) this affection that they once had for them. (That’s right)
Now we can easily see what is wrong with this love. Number one–it is based on true selfishness, for in reality the person who engages in utilitarian love is merely loving himself (That’s right) through somebody else. The second thing wrong with it is that it ends up depersonalizing persons. The great philosopher Immanuel Kant said, in what he called his categorical imperative, that “every man should so live that he treats every other man as an end and never as a means.”4 Kant had something there because the minute you use a person as a means you depersonalize that person, and that person becomes merely an object. This is what we do for things. We use things, and whenever you use somebody you, in your own mind, thingify that person. A great Jewish philosopher by the name of Martin Buber wrote a book entitled I and Thou, and he says in that book that life at its best is always on the level of “I and Thou,” and whenever it degenerates to the level of “I and It,” it becomes dangerous and terrible.5 Whenever we treat people not as thous, whenever we treat a man not as a him, a woman not as a her but as an it, we make them a thing, and this is the tragedy of this level of love. This is the tragedy of racial segregation. In the final analysis, segregation is wrong not merely because it makes for physical inconveniences, not merely because it leaves the individuals who are segregated with inferior facilities, but segregation is wrong, in the final analysis, because it substitutes an I-It relationship for the I-Thou relationship and relegates persons to the status of things. This is utilitarian love. And the other thing wrong with it is that it is always a conditional love, and love at its best is always unconditional.
I talked with a white man in Albany, Georgia, the other day, and when we got down in the conversation he said, “The thing that worries me so much about this movement here is that it’s creating so much tension, and we’d had such peaceful and harmonious race relations.” And then he went on to say, “I used to love the Negro, but I don’t have the kind of love for them that I used to have. You know, I used to give money to Negro churches. And even the man who worked for me, I would give him something every year extra; I’d give him a suit. But I just don’t feel that way now. I don’t love Negroes like I used to.” And I said to myself, “You never did love Negroes (That’s right) because your love was a conditional love. It was conditioned upon the Negro staying in his place, and the minute he stood up as a man and as somebody, you didn’t love him anymore because your love was a utilitarian love that grew up from the dark days of slavery and then almost a hundred years of segregation.” This is what the system has done, you see. (Yes) It makes for the crudest level of love. Utilitarian love is the lowest level of love.
Now there is another type of love which is real love, and we’re moving on up now into genuine, meaningful, profound love. It is explained through the Greek word eros. Plato used to use that word a great deal in his dialogues as a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the divine. But now we see it as romantic love, and there is something beautiful about romantic love. When it reaches its height there is nothing more beautiful in all the world. A romantic love rises above utilitarian love in the sense that it does have a degree of altruism, for a person who really loves with romantic love will die for the object of his love. A person who is really engaged in true romantic love will do anything to satisfy the object of that love, the great love. We’ve read about it in all of the beauties of literature, whether in ancient or medieval days. We could read about it in a Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Tristan and Isolde, beauty of romantic love. Edgar Allan Poe talks about it in his beautiful “Annabel Lee” with the love surrounded by the halo of eternity.6 I’ve quoted for you before those great words of Shakespeare which explain the beauty of romantic love:
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
It is an ever-fix’ed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark.7
Oh, it’s a beautiful love. There is something about romantic love that lifts it above the crude level of utilitarian love.
But I must warn you that romantic love is not the highest love. And we must never forget this. With all of its beauty this can’t be the highest form of love because it is basically selfish. This is often difficult to think about, but it is true. You love your lover because there is something about that person that attracts you. If you’re a man, it may be the way she looks. It may be the way she talks. It may be her glowng femininity. It may be her intellectual qualities. It may be other physical qualities–something about her that attracts you. If you are a woman it may be something about that man that attracts you, and even if you can’t put it in words you end up saying, “I don’t quite know what it is, but I just know that he moves me.” [laughter] This is the, this is romantic love. It’s a selfish love. And so with all of its beauty it can never be considered the highest quality of love.
Well, there is another type of love, certainly on the same level of romantic love, and that is mother’s love. (That’s right) Oh, when life presents it in its beauty, it gives us something that we never forget, for there is nothing more beautiful than the loving care, the tender concern, and the patience (That’s right) of a real mother. (That’s right) This is a great love, and life would be ugly without it. Mother’s love brings sunshine into dark places. (Yes) And there is something about it that never quite gives up. (Amen, That’s right) The child may wander to some strange and dark far country, but there’s always that mother who’s there waiting (Yes Lord) and even her mind journeys to the far country. (Yes Lord) No matter what the mistake is, no matter how low the child sinks, if it’s a real mother, she still loves him. (Praise Him, Lord) How beautiful it is. (Oh yes) It has been written about, too, in beautiful glowing language. We’ve read about it. We’ve seen it in beautiful stories. It is a great love.
There is another level of love that I would like to mention this morning. But before mentioning that let me say that even mother’s love can’t be the highest. (That’s right) We hate to hear that, I guess, but you see, a mother loves her child because it is her child. (That’s right) And if she isn’t careful, she can’t quite love that other person’s child like she loves her child. (That’s right) Even mother’s love has a degree of selfishness in it. (Yes) Well, we move on up to another level of love that is explained in another Greek word, the word philio, which is the sort of intimate affection between personal friends. This is friendship. In a sense it loves a little higher, not because the love itself is deeper, not because the person who is participating in the love is any more genuine of concern, but because its scope is broader, because it is more inclusive. You see, romantic love, at its best, is always between two individuals of opposite sex, but when we rise to friendship a man can love a man, a woman can love a woman. Friendship becomes one of the most beautiful things in all the world. One can have five friends, ten friends, twenty friends, and jealousy does not creep in as the horizon broadens and as the group enlarges. (That’s right) In romantic love, always, jealousy emerges when the one individual moves towards a love act with another individual and rightly so. Then in friendship, which is not based on sex, which is not based on physical attraction, one has risen to another level of love where they stand side by side and become united because of a common interest in something beyond themselves. In romantic love, the individuals in love sit face to face absorbed in each other. In friendship the individuals sit side by side absorbed in some great concern and some great cause and some great issue beyond themselves, something they like to do together. It may be hunting. It may be going and swimming together. It may be discussing great ideas together. It may be in a great movement of freedom together. Friendship is beautiful (Yes Lord) There is a beauty about it that will always stand. There is nothing more beautiful in all the world than to see real friendship, and there isn’t much of it either. (That’s right) You labor a long time to find a real genuine friend (Yes Lord, Preach it), somebody who’s so close to you that they know your heartbeat. I must hasten to say that as we discuss these levels of love we must remember that one can be involved in several levels simultaneously. A young lady who loves her husband is engaged in romantic love, but at the same time she will have some children later–she engages in mother’s love, and if she’s really a wonderful person she’s a good friend of her husband. So that one can engage in romantic love and mother’s love and friendship simultaneously. This is a beautiful level.
But even friendship can’t be the highest level of love because there is something about friendship that is selfish. You love people that you like. And it’s hard to be friendly with Mr. [James 0.] Eastland.8 It’s hard to be friendly with Mr. Marvin Griffin if you believe in democracy.9 Friendship is always based on an affection for somebody that you like, and it’s difficult to like Mr. Griffin. It’s difficult to like Mr. Eastland because we don’t like what they are doing. But this would be a temble world if God hadn’t provided us with something where we could love Mr. Griffin even though it’s impossible for us to really like him. And friendship limits the circle even though it enlarges the circle over romantic and mother’s love. It limits it because it says that the friend is the person who has mutual concerns and the person that you like to be with, that you like to talk with (That’s right), that you like to deal with.
Well, there is a love that goes a little higher than that. We refer to that as humanitarian love. It gets a little higher because it gets a little broad and more inclusive. The individual rises to the point that he loves humanity. And he rises to the point of saying that within in every man there is a divine spark. He rises to the point of saying that within every man there is something sacred and so all humanity must be loved. And so when one rises to love at this point he does get a little higher because he is sinuously attempting to love everybody. But it still can’t be the highest point because it has a danger point. It is impersonal; it says I love this abstract something called humanity, which is never quite concretized in an individual. Dostoyevsky, the great Russian novelist, said once in one of his novels, “I love humanity in general so much that I don’t love anybody in particular.”10 [laughter] So many people get to this point. It’s so easy to love an abstraction called humanity and not love individual human beings. And how many people have been caught in that. (That’s right) Think of the millions of dollars raised by many of the white churches in the South and all over America sent to Africa for the missionary effort because of a humanitarian love. And yet if the Africans who got that money came into their churches to worship on Sunday morning they would kick them out. (Yes they would) They love humanity in general, but they don’t love Africans in particular. [laughter] (That’s right) There is always this danger in humanitarian love–that it will not quite get there. The greatness of God’s love is that His love is big enough to love everybody and is small enough to love even me. (That’s right) And so humanitarian love can’t be the highest.
Let me rush on to that point which is explained by the Greek word agape. Agape is higher than all of the things I have talked about. Why is it higher? Because it is unmotivated; it is spontaneous; it is overflowing; it seeks nothing in return. It is not motivated by some quality in the object. Utilitarian love is motivated by a quality in the object, namely the object’s usefulness to him. Romantic love is motivated by some quality in the object, maybe the beauty of the object or the quality that moves the individual. A mother’s love is motivated by the fact that this is her child, something in the object before her. Move on up to friendship, it is motivated by that quality of friendliness and that quality of concern that is mutual. Go on up to humanity, humanitarian love, it is motivated by something within the object, namely a divine spark, namely something sacred about human personality. But when we rise to agape, to Christian love, it is higher than all of this. It becomes the love of God operating in the human heart. (Amen, Yes Lord) The greatness of it is that you love every man, not for your sake but for his sake. And you love every man because God loves him. (Amen, That’s right) And so it becomes all inclusive. The person may be ugly, or the person may be beautiful. The person may be tall, or the person may be short. The person may be light, or the person may be dark. The person may be rich, or the person may be poor. The person may be up and in; the person may be down and out. The person may be white; the person may be black. The person may be Jew; the person may be Gentile. The person may be Catholic; the person may be Protestant. In other words, you come to the point of loving every man and becomes an all-inclusive love. It is the love of God operating in the human heart. And it comes to the point that you even love the enemy.11 (Amen) Christian love does something that no other love can do. It says that you love every man. You hate the deed that he does if he’s your enemy and he’s evill, but you love the person who does the evil deed.
And so this is the distinction that I want you to see this morning. And on all other levels we have a need love, but when we come to agape we have a gift love. And so it is the love that includes everybody. And the only testing point for you to know whether you have real genuine love is that you love your enemy (Yeah), for if you fail to love your enemy there is no way for you to fit into the category of Christian love. You test it by your ability to love your enemy.12
And so this is what we have before us as Christians. This is what God has left for us. He’s left us a love. As He loved us, so let us love the brother. And therefore, I’m convinced this morning that love is the greatest power in all the world. Over the centuries men have asked about the highest good; they’ve wanted to know. All of the great philosophers have raised the question, “What is the summum bonum of life? What is the highest good?” Epicureans and the Stoics sought to answer it. Plato and Aristotle sought to answer it. What is that good that is productive and that produces every other good? And I am convinced this morning that it is love. God is light. God is love. And he who hates does not know God. But he who loves, at that moment, rises to a knowledge of God.13
And so you may be able to speak well, you may rise to the eloquence of articulate speech, but if you have not love you are become as sounding brass or the tinkling cymbal. (Yes Lord) You may have the gift of prophecy so that you can understand all mysteries. You may break into the storehouse of nature and bring out many insights that men never knew were there. You may have all knowledge so that you build great universities. You may have endless degrees. But if you have not love it means nothing. Yes, you may give your gfts and your goods to feed the poor. You may rise high in philanthropy, but if you have not love, your gifts have been given in vain. Yes, you may give your body to be burned (All right), and you may die the death of a martyr. You may have your blood spilt, and it will become a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn. But if you have not love, you’re blood was spilt in vain.14 (All right) We must come to see that it is possible to be self-centered in our self-sacrifice and self-righteous in our self-denial. We may be generous in order to feed our ego. We may be pious in order to feed our pride. And so without love, spintual pride becomes a reality in our life, and even martyrdom becomes egotism.
Love is the greatest force in all the world. And this is why Jesus was great. He realized it in his life, and he took this force and split history into A.D. and B.C. so that all history has to sing about him and talk about him because he made love the center of his llfe. And what does the cross mean? It means that God’s love shines before us through that cross in all of its dimensions. And so “when I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, I count my richest gains but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. Were the whole realm of nature mine that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my all, and my all.”15 This is our legacy. This is what we have. And may we go on wth a love in our hearts that will change us and change the lives of those who surround us. And we will make this old world a new world. And God’s kingdom wll be a reality.
We open the doors of the church now. Someone here this morning needs to accept the Christ. Someone needs to make a decision for Him. If you have the faith, He has the power. Who this morning will come? Just as you are, will you come? Just as you are, will you come? And make this church not only a place to come as a regular attending person but a spiritual home. Who this morning will make that decision as we sing this great hymn, “Just As I Am?”16 Wherever you are, will you accept Christ? By Christian experience baptism [words inaudible]. Wherever you are, you come this morning. God’s love stands before us. God’s love is always ready. He’s calling you now. Make the church the center of your life, for here, we come to the mercy seat. Here, you learn the great realities of life. [Congregation sings]
Now let us stand for the next stanza, and if you are there we still bid you come wherever you are. Who will come this morning? Just as I am, wherever you are, will you come? Is there one who will accept Christ this morning?
Now let us sing that last stanza, and as we prepare to sing, I make this last plea. There is someone here this morning without a church home. There is someone here this morning standing between two opinions. There is someone here this morning who lives in Atlanta, who was a Christian back home, but who is not united wth a church in this city. We give you this opportunity, in the name of Christ, to come as we sing this last stanza. This is the hour for you to decide. [Congregation sings]
God bless you [recording interrupted]
At. MLKEC: ET-72
- A voice at the beginning of the tape states the day and date, gives King’s name, and identifies the sermon as “Levels of Love.” This was King’s announced sermon topic for 16 September 1962 (“Martin Luther King, Jr., at Ebenezer Sunday,” Atlanta Daily World, 15 September 1962).
2. This was also King’s announced sermon topic for 14 August 1960 (“‘Levels of Love’ to Be Subject at Ebenezer,” Atlanta Daily World, 13 August 1960).
3. “Dr. King, Jr. to Preach on ‘Love Your Enemies’ at Ebenezer Sunday,” Atlanta Daily World, 18 August 1962; “‘Love in Action,’ King Jr.’s Topic at Ebenezer Sunday,” Atlanta Daily World, 1 September 1962; Luke 23:34.
4. “Accordingly the practical imperative wll be as follows: So act as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end withal, never as a means only” (Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals, trans. Thomas K. Abbott [Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1949], p. 46).
5. Buber, I and Thou (1937).
6. Poe, “Annabel Lee” (1849).
7. Shakespeare, “Sonnet 116” (1609).
8. Eastland served in Congress from Mississippi in 1941 and from 1943 until 1978, using his power as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to block civil rights legislation.
9. Griffin served as governor of Georgia from 1955 to 1959.
10. Cf. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamaun, (New York: Modern Library, 1937), p. 56: “But it has always happened that the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity.”
11. Cf. Matthew 5:44.
12. King draws upon Harry Emerson Fosdick’s discussion of agape in On Being Fit to Live With (pp. 6-7).
13. Cf. 1 John 4:7-8.
14. Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
15. King cites Isaac Watts’s 1707 hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
16. King refers to Charlotte Elliot’s hymn “Just As I Am” (1836).
“Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama
I am forced to preach under something of a handicap this morning. In fact, I had the doctor before coming to church. And he said that it would be best for me to stay in the bed this morning. And I insisted that I would have to come to preach. So he allowed me to come out with one stipulation, and that is that I would not come in the pulpit until time to preach, and that after, that I would immediately go back home and get in the bed. So I’m going to try to follow his instructions from that point on.
I want to use as a subject from which to preach this morning a very familiar subject, and it is familiar to you because I have preached from this subject twice before to my knowing in this pulpit. I try to make it a, something of a custom or tradition to preach from this passage of Scripture at least once a year, adding new insights that I develop along the way out of new experiences as I give these messages. Although the content is, the basic content is the same, new insights and new experiences naturally make for new illustrations.
So I want to turn your attention to this subject: “Loving Your Enemies.” It’s so basic to me because it is a part of my basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. In the fifth chapter of the gospel as recorded by Saint Matthew, we read these very arresting words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master: “Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”
Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. And over the centuries, many persons have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would go so far as to say that it just isn’t possible to move out into the actual practice of this glorious command. They would go on to say that this is just additional proof that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. So the arguments abound. But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.
Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t playing. He realized that it’s hard to love your enemies. He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. And we cannot dismiss this passage as just another example of Oriental hyperbole, just a sort of exaggeration to get over the point. This is a basic philosophy of all that we hear coming from the lips of our Master. Because Jesus wasn’t playing; because he was serious. We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command.
Now first let us deal with this question, which is the practical question: How do you go about loving your enemies? I think the first thing is this: In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self. And I’m sure that seems strange to you, that I start out telling you this morning that you love your enemies by beginning with a look at self. It seems to me that that is the first and foremost way to come to an adequate discovery to the how of this situation.
Now, I’m aware of the fact that some people will not like you, not because of something you have done to them, but they just won’t like you. I’m quite aware of that. Some people aren’t going to like the way you walk; some people aren’t going to like the way you talk. Some people aren’t going to like you because you can do your job better than they can do theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because other people like you, and because you’re popular, and because you’re well-liked, they aren’t going to like you. Some people aren’t going to like you because your hair is a little shorter than theirs or your hair is a little longer than theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little brighter than theirs; and others aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little darker than theirs. So that some people aren’t going to like you. They’re going to dislike you, not because of something that you’ve done to them, but because of various jealous reactions and other reactions that are so prevalent in human nature.
But after looking at these things and admitting these things, we must face the fact that an individual might dislike us because of something that we’ve done deep down in the past, some personality attribute that we possess, something that we’ve done deep down in the past and we’ve forgotten about it; but it was that something that aroused the hate response within the individual. That is why I say, begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.
This is true in our international struggle. We look at the struggle, the ideological struggle between communism on the one hand and democracy on the other, and we see the struggle between America and Russia. Now certainly, we can never give our allegiance to the Russian way of life, to the communistic way of life, because communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. When we look at the methods of communism, a philosophy where somehow the end justifies the means, we cannot accept that because we believe as Christians that the end is pre-existent in the means. But in spite of all of the weaknesses and evils inherent in communism, we must at the same time see the weaknesses and evils within democracy.
Democracy is the greatest form of government to my mind that man has ever conceived, but the weakness is that we have never touched it. Isn’t it true that we have often taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes? Isn’t it true that we have often in our democracy trampled over individuals and races with the iron feet of oppression? Isn’t it true that through our Western powers we have perpetuated colonialism and imperialism? And all of these things must be taken under consideration as we look at Russia. We must face the fact that the rhythmic beat of the deep rumblings of discontent from Asia and Africa is at bottom a revolt against the imperialism and colonialism perpetuated by Western civilization all these many years. The success of communism in the world today is due to the failure of democracy to live up to the noble ideals and principles inherent in its system.
And this is what Jesus means when he said: “How is it that you can see the mote in your brother’s eye and not see the beam in your own eye?” Or to put it in Moffatt’s translation: “How is it that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye?” And this is one of the tragedies of human nature. So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.
A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and everytime you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.
I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life. There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.” There is something within all of us that causes us to cry out with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Goethe, “There is enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue.” There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul, “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.”
So somehow the “isness” of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.
Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.
Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.
The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.
And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, “Love your enemy.” And it’s significant that he does not say, “Like your enemy.” Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, “Love your enemy.” This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.
Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
I think I mentioned before that sometime ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: “I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power.” And I looked at him right quick and said: “Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway.”
Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junkheap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.
There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. And this is why Jesus says hate [recording interrupted]
. . . that you want to be integrated with yourself, and the way to be integrated with yourself is be sure that you meet every situation of life with an abounding love. Never hate, because it ends up in tragic, neurotic responses. Psychologists and psychiatrists are telling us today that the more we hate, the more we develop guilt feelings and we begin to subconsciously repress or consciously suppress certain emotions, and they all stack up in our subconscious selves and make for tragic, neurotic responses. And may this not be the neuroses of many individuals as they confront life that that is an element of hate there. And modern psychology is calling on us now to love. But long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: “Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody.” It’s not enough for us to hate your friends because—to to love your friends—because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.
Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.
I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, “You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States.” He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it. Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: “Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?” Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: “Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.”
Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: “Now he belongs to the ages.” And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.
That’s it. There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, “This isn’t the way.”
And oh this morning, as I think of the fact that our world is in transition now. Our whole world is facing a revolution. Our nation is facing a revolution, our nation. One of the things that concerns me most is that in the midst of the revolution of the world and the midst of the revolution of this nation, that we will discover the meaning of Jesus’ words.
History unfortunately leaves some people oppressed and some people oppressors. And there are three ways that individuals who are oppressed can deal with their oppression. One of them is to rise up against their oppressors with physical violence and corroding hatred. But oh this isn’t the way. For the danger and the weakness of this method is its futility. Violence creates many more social problems than it solves. And I’ve said, in so many instances, that as the Negro, in particular, and colored peoples all over the world struggle for freedom, if they succumb to the temptation of using violence in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos. Violence isn’t the way.
Another way is to acquiesce and to give in, to resign yourself to the oppression. Some people do that. They discover the difficulties of the wilderness moving into the promised land, and they would rather go back to the despots of Egypt because it’s difficult to get in the promised land. And so they resign themselves to the fate of oppression; they somehow acquiesce to this thing. But that too isn’t the way because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.
But there is another way. And that is to organize mass non-violent resistance based on the principle of love. It seems to me that this is the only way as our eyes look to the future. As we look out across the years and across the generations, let us develop and move right here. We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. Jesus discovered that.
Not only did Jesus discover it, even great military leaders discover that. One day as Napoleon came toward the end of his career and looked back across the years—the great Napoleon that at a very early age had all but conquered the world. He was not stopped until he became, till he moved out to the battle of Leipzig and then to Waterloo. But that same Napoleon one day stood back and looked across the years, and said: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have built great empires. But upon what did they depend? They depended upon force. But long ago Jesus started an empire that depended on love, and even to this day millions will die for him.”
Yes, I can see Jesus walking around the hills and the valleys of Palestine. And I can see him looking out at the Roman Empire with all of her fascinating and intricate military machinery. But in the midst of that, I can hear him saying: “I will not use this method. Neither will I hate the Roman Empire.” [Radio Announcer:] (WRMA, Montgomery, Alabama. Due to the fact of the delay this morning, we are going over with the sermon.) [several words inaudible] . . . and just start marching.
And I’m proud to stand here in Dexter this morning and say that that army is still marching. It grew up from a group of eleven or twelve men to more than seven hundred million today. Because of the power and influence of the personality of this Christ, he was able to split history into a.d. and b.c. Because of his power, he was able to shake the hinges from the gates of the Roman Empire. And all around the world this morning, we can hear the glad echo of heaven ring:
Jesus shall reign wherever sun,
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spreads from shore to shore,
Till moon shall wane and wax no more.
We can hear another chorus singing: “All hail the power of Jesus name!”
We can hear another chorus singing: “Hallelujah, hallelujah! He’s King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah, hallelujah!”
We can hear another choir singing:
In Christ there is no East or West.
In Him no North or South,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide world.
This is the only way.
And our civilization must discover that. Individuals must discover that as they deal with other individuals. There is a little tree planted on a little hill and on that tree hangs the most influential character that ever came in this world. But never feel that that tree is a meaningless drama that took place on the stages of history. Oh no, it is a telescope through which we look out into the long vista of eternity, and see the love of God breaking forth into time. It is an eternal reminder to a power-drunk generation that love is the only way. It is an eternal reminder to a generation depending on nuclear and atomic energy, a generation depending on physical violence, that love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.
So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.” And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.
Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.
“The Birth of a New Age,” Address Delivered on 11 August 1956 at the Fiftieth Anniversary of Alpha Phi Alpha in Buffalo
The evening after testiying at the Democratic National Convention King delivered the featured speech at the fiftieth-anniversary convention banquet of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in Buffalo. He received the Alpha Award of Honor for “Christian leadership in the cause of first class citizenship for all mankind. ”Other award winners that evening included Autherine Lucy, Thurgood Marshall, and Arthur Shores. In his address King suggests how Alpha men and other African Americans can best prepare for the challenges and responsibilities of the “new order” that is replacing the “old order”of colonialism abroad and segregation at home. Declaring that “we will have to rise up in protest” to usher in this “new age,” King envisions “a beloved community . . . where men will live together as brothers.” The speech was transcribed for publication in an anniversary booklet published by the fraternity later in 1956.
Thank you so much for your kindness Brother Alexander. Brother Stanley, Brothers of Alpha, Ladies and Gentlemen, I need not pause to say how happy I am to be here this evening and to be a part of this auspicious occasion.1 I can assure you that this is one of the happiest moments of my life. As I look over the audience I see so many familiar faces and so many dear friends that it is a real pleasure to be here. I only regret that certain responsibilities elsewhere made it impossible for me to be in on the other part of the sessions. My heart was here and I was here in spirit. I am very happy to share the platform with so many distinguished Alpha men and so many distinguished American citizens and I say once more that this is a high moment in my life.
I would like to take just a moment to express my personal appreciation to our General President, Brother Stanley in particular, and to all of the Alpha brothers over the country in general for the moral support and the financial contributions that you have given to those of us who walk the streets of Montgomery. I can assure that these things have given us renewed courage and vigor to carry on. The thing that we are doing in Montgomery we feel is bigger than Montgomery and bigger than 50,000 Negroes, and I assure you that we always appreciate your kind words and your contributions. I can remember those days, very dark days, when many of us confronted a trial in court and I could look out in the courtroom and see our very eminent General President. That made me feel very good as an Alpha man and I want to thank you for what you have done all along. But I did not come here tonight to talk about Montgomery and I know it is getting late. I am sure you don’t want to be bored with me too long and I am going to try to comply with your silent request.
I want to use as a subject, “The Birth of A New Age.” Those of us who lived in the 20th Century are privileged to live in one of the most momentous periods of human history. It is an exciting age, filled with hope. It is an age in which a new world order is being born. We stand today between two worlds—the dying old and the emerging new. I am aware of the fact that there are those who would argue that we live in the most ghastly period of human history. They would contend that the deepest of deep rumblings of the discontent in Asia, and we have risings in Africa, the naturalistic longings of Egypt and the racial tensions of America, are all indicative of the deep and tragic midnight which encounters our civilization. They would argue that we are going backwards instead of forward, that we are retrogressing instead of progressing. But far from representing retrogression or tragic hopelessness, the present tension represents the necessary pains that accompany the birth of anything new. It is both historically and biologically true that there can be no birth or growth without birth and growing pains. Wherever there is the emergence of the new and the fading of the old, that is historically true and so the tensions which we witness in the world today are indicative of the fact that a new world is being born and an old world is passing away.
We are all familiar with this old world that is dying, the old world that is passing away, we have lived with it, we have seen it, we look out and see it in its international proportion and we see it in the form of Colonialism and Imperialism. We realize that there are approximately 2,400,000,000 people on the face of the globe and the vast majority of these peoples in the world are colored. About 1,600,000,000 of these people of the world are colored and most of these people, if not all of the colored people of the world, have lived under the yoke of Colonialism and Imperialism, fifty years ago to twenty-five years ago. All of these people were dominated and controlled by some foreign power. We could look over to China and see the 600,000,000 men and women there under the yoke of the British and the Dutch and the French. We could look to Indonesia we could notice the 100,000,000 there under the pressing yoke of the Dutch. We could turn our eyes to India and Pakistan and notice there are 400,000,000 brown men and women under the pressing yoke of the British. We could turn our eyes to Africa and notice the 200,000,000 black men and women there dominated by the British, the Dutch, the French and the Belgian. All of these people lived for years and centuries under the yoke of foreign power and they were dominated politically, exploited economically, segregated and humiliated. But there comes a time when people grow tired, when the throbbing desires of freedom begin to break forth. There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of the tramper. There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of exploitation, where they have experienced the bleakness and madness of despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing in the pitying state of an Alpine November.
So with the coming of this time an uprising started and protest started and these peoples rose up against Colonialism and Imperialism and as a result, out of 1,600,000,000 colored people in the world today, 1,300,000,000 are free. They have their own government, their own economic system and their own educational system. They have broken aloose from the evils of Colonialism and they are passing through the wilderness of adjustment, through the promised land of cultural integration, and if we look back we see the old order of Colonialism and Imperialism thrown upon the seashores of the world and we see the new world of freedom and justice emerging on the horizon of the universe. But not only have we seen the emergence of this new order on the international scale, not only have we seen the old order on the international scale, we have seen the old order on the national scale. We see it on the national scale in the form of segregation and discrimination—that is the old order that we witness today passing away. We know the history of this old order in America.
You will remember that it was in the year 1619 that the first Negro slave was brought to the shores of this nation. They were brought here from the soils of Africa and unlike the Pilgrim fathers who landed here at Plymouth a year later, they were brought here against their will. For more than 200 years Africa was raped and plundered, a native kingdom disorganized, the people and rulers demoralized and throughout slavery the Negro slaves were treated in a very [in?]human form. This is expressed very clearly in the Dred Scott Decision in 1857 when the Supreme Court of this nation said in substance that the Negro is not a citizen of the United States, he is merely property subject to the dictates of his owner.
Then came 1896 when the same court, the Supreme Court of the nation, in the famous Plessy vs. Ferguson Case, established the doctrine of “separate but equal” as the law of the land. Now segregation had moral and legal sanction by the highest court in the land and of course, they were always interested in the separate aspect but never the equal and this doctrine “separate but equal” made for tragic inequality. It made for injustice, it made for exploitation, it made for suppression, and it went a long time but then something happened to the Negro himself. He had traveled and he was getting more education and getting greater economic power and he came to feel that he was somebody. He came to the point that he was now re-evaluating his natural investments and he came to the point of seeing that the basic thing about an individual is this fundamental, not in the texture or the quality of his hair, but the texture and quality of his soul, so he could now cry out with eloquent force. Fleecy locks and black complexion cannot scoff at nature’s claim, skin may differ but affection dwells in white and black the same. “Were I so tall as to reach the pole, or grasp the ocean with my span, It must be measured by my soul, the mind is the standard of man.”2
With this new sense of dignity, with this new self respect, the Negro decided to rise up against this old order of segregation and discrimination. Then came May 17, 1954 in the same Supreme Court of the nation, passed unanimously the decision stating that the old “Separate Doctrine” must go now, that separate facilities are inherently unequal and that this segregation, therefore, on the basis of his race is to deny him equal protection of the law. With this decision we have been able to see the gradual death of the old order of segregation and discrimination.
We now see the new order of integration emerging on the horizon. Let nobody fool you, all the loud noises we hear today in terms of nullification and interposition are nothing but the death groans of the dying system. The old order is passing away, the new order is coming into being. But whenever there is anything new there are new responsibilities. As we think of this coming new world we must think of the challenge that we confront and the new responsibilities that stand before us. We must prepare to live in a new world.
I would like to suggest some things that we must do to live in this new world, to prepare to live in it, the challenges that confront us. The first thing is this, that we must rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns, with a broader concern for all humanity. You see, this new world is a world of geographical togetherness. No individual can afford to live alone now. The nation cannot live alone for we have been brought together. This has been done certainly by modern man with great scientific insight. Man through his scientific genius has been able to draw distance and save time and space. He has been able to carry highways through the stratosphere. We read just the other day that a rocket plane went 1900 miles in one hour. Twice as fast as the speed of sound. This is the new age. Bob Hope has described this new age, this jet age; it is an age in which planes will be moving so fast that we will have a non-stop flight from New York to Los Angeles, when you start out you might develop the hiccups and you will hic in New York and cup in Los Angeles. This is an age in which it will be possible to leave Tokyo on a Sunday morning and arrive in Seattle, Washington on the preceding Saturday night. When your friends meet you at the airport and ask what time did you leave Tokyo, you will have to say I left tomorrow. That is this new age. We live in one world geographically. We face the great problem of making it one spiritually.
Through our scientific means we have made of the world a neighborhood and now the challenge confronts us through our moral and spiritual means to make of it a brotherhood. We must live together, we are not independent we are interdependent. We are all involved in a single process. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly for we are tied together in a single progress. We are all linked in the great chain of humanity. As one man said, that no man is an Island, entirely of himself. Every man is a piece of a continent and a part of a main. I am involved in mankind, therefore we will not send to know for whom the bells toll, they toll for thee.3We must discover that and live by it . . . if we are to live meaningfully in this one world that is emerging. But not only that, we must be able to achieve excellency in our various fields of endeavor. In this new world doors will be opening that were not open in the old world. Opportunities will come now that did not come in the past and the next challenge confronting us is to be prepared for these opportunities as they come.
We must prepare ourselves in every field of human endeavor. We must extend our interest and we must accomplish a great deal now to be prepared for these doors to open. There are so many things, so many areas we need to be prepared in. We need more ingenuity. We have been relatively content with the relatively material possessions such as medicine, teaching, and law. All of these are noble and gracious but we must prepare ourselves. Doors will be opening in all of these areas and we need people, we need more kinds who can qualify in the area of engineering, more architects and even more in the medical profession. We need to do more in the area of specialization now because the opportunities are coming and we must be prepared. In this new world we can now compete with people, not Negro people. We must not go out to be a good Negro barber, a good Negro lawyer, a good Negro teacher, we will have to compete with people. We must go out to do the job. Ralph Waldo Emerson said in an Essay back in 1878 that, “if a man can write better books or preach a better sermon or make a better mouse trap than his neighbor, even if he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”4 That will be increasingly true. We must be ready. We must confront the opportunities and we must be ready to go into these doors as they open.
No matter what area and all fields, we should be ready. We need more skilled laborers. We need more people who are competent in all areas and always remember that the important thing is to do a good job. No matter what it is. Whatever you are doing consider it as something having cosmic significance, as it is a part of the uplifting of humanity. No matter what it is, no matter how small you think it is, do it right. As someone said, do it so well that the living, dead, or the unborn could do it no better.5 If your son grows up to be a street cleaner, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry, sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well”. If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill be a shrub on the side, but be the best shrub on the side of the hill. Be a bush if you can’t be a tree, if you can’t be a highway be a trail, if you can’t be the sun be a star. It isn’t by size that you win or you fail. Be the best of whatever you are and that is the second challenge, that we confront the issues of today and prepare to live in this new age.6
There is a third and basic challenge. We must prepare to go into this new age without bitterness. That is a temptation that is a danger to all of those of us who have lived for many years under the yoke of oppression and those of us who have been confronted with injustice, those of us who have lived under the evils of segregation and discrimination, will go into the new age with bitterness and indulging in hate campaigns. We cannot do it that way. For if we do it that way, it will be just a perpetuation of the old way. We must conquer the hate of the old age and the love of the new age and go into the new age with the love that is understanding for all men, to have with it a forgiving attitude, it has with it something that will cause you to look deep down within every man and see within him something of Godliness. That something that will cause you to stand up before him and love him.
As we move in this transition from the old age into the new we will have to rise up in protest. We will have to boycott at times, but let us always remember that boycotts are not ends within themselves. A boycott is just a means to an end. A boycott is merely a means to say, “I don’t like it.” It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation. The end is the creation of a beloved community.
The end is the creation of a society where men will live together as brothers. An end is not retaliation but redemption. That is the end we are trying to reach. That we would bring these creative forces together we would be able to live in this new age which is destined to come. The old order is dying and the new order is being born. You know, all of this tells us something about the meaning of the universe. It tells something about something that stands in the center of the cosma, it says something to us about this, that justice eventually rules in this world. This reminds us that the forces of darkness cannot permanently conquer the forces of light and this is the thing that we must live by. This is the hope that all men of goodwill live by, the belief that justice will triumph in the universe and the fact that the old order is passing away and a new order is being born is an eternal reminder of that truth that stands at the center of our faith.
It is something there that says this, that iniquity may occupy the throne of force but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant Jesus on the throne of Egypt. It says to us that evil may prevail again and the Caesar will occupy the palace and Christ the cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C. so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by His name. There is something in this universe that justified Carlisle in saying, “No lie can live forever.” There is something in the universe that justifies James Russell Lowell in saying, “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne, yet that scaffold weighs the future and behind the demon, Wrong, stands God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.” There is something in the universe that justified William C. Bryant in saying, “Truth crushed down will rise again.” That is the meaning of this new age that is emerging. This is the hope that we can live by.
Now I am about to close, but I cannot close without giving a warning signal. I have talked a great deal about this coming new age, about this age that is passing away and about this age that is now coming into being. There is a danger that after listening to that you will become the victims of an optimism covered with superficiality. An optimism which says in substance we can sit down now and do nothing because this new age is inevitable. We can sit down and wait for the rolling in of the wheels of inevitability, we don’t need to do anything, it’s coming anyway. We cannot be complacent. We cannot sit idly by and wait for the coming of the inevitable. I would urge you not to take that attitude for it might be true that this new age is inevitable but we can speed it up, the coming of the new age. It might be true that old man segregation is on his deathbed but history has proven that social systems have a great last minute breathing power. The vanguards and the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their obstacles in an attempt to keep the old order alive. So that we are not to think that segregation will die without an effort and working against it. Segregation is still a reality in America. We still confront it in the South and it is blaring in conspicuous forms. We still confront it in the North in its hidden and subtle form. But if democracy is to live, segregation must die. Segregation is evil, segregation is against the will of the Almighty God, segregation is opposed to everything that democracy stands for, segregation is nothing but slavery covered up with the niceties of complexities. So we must continue to work against it.
We must continue to stand up, we must gain the ballot . . . that is important . . . we cannot overlook the importance of the ballot. By gaining the ballot we will gain political power and doing that we will be able to persuade the Executive and Legislative branches of the government to follow the examples so courageously set by the Judicial clan. We must continue to get the ballot. We must continue to work through legislation and that is an important avenue, we can never overlook that. It may be true that they cannot make them live more moral, that might be true, I don’t know. But that never was the intention of the law anyway. The law doesn’t seek so much to change a man’s internal feelings but it seeks to control the external effect of those internal feelings. So that we must continue to support the N.A.A.C.P. which has done such a noble and courageous job in this area. They may try to outlaw this organization in Alabama and Louisiana but it still remains true that this is the greatest organization in the nation working for the Civil Rights of our people.
Then, in order to gain this freedom and to move away from the cycles of segregation we have got to go down in our pockets and give some money. I assure you that integration is not some lavish gift that the white man will pass out on a silver platter while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite. If we are to gain it we have got to work for it, we have got to sacrifice for it. We have got to pay for it. We cannot use the excuse any more that we don’t have the money. The national income of the Negro now is more than 16 billion dollars, more than the national income of Canada. We have the money, we can do it. We have it for everything else that we want. We have the biggest and the finest cars in the world and we can spend it for all those frivolities, now let us use our money for something lasting, not merely for extravagances. I am not the preacher that would condemn social life and recreational activities . . . those are important aspects of life . . . but I would urge you not to put any of these things before this pressing and urgent problem of Civil Rights. We must spend our money not merely for the adolescent and transitory things, but this eternal, lasting something that we call freedom.
Finally, in order to do this job we have got to have more dedicated, consecrated, intelligent and sincere leadership. This is a tense period through which we are passing, this period of transition and there is a need all over the nation for leaders to carry on. Leaders who can somehow sympathize with and calm us and at the same time have a positive quality. We have got to have leaders of this sort who will stand by courageously and yet not run off with emotion. We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the pressing urgencies of the great cause of freedom. God give us leaders. A time like this demands great leaders. Leaders whom the fog of life cannot chill, men whom the lust of office cannot buy. Leaders who have honor, leaders who will not lie. Leaders who will stand before a pagan god and damn his treacherous flattery.7
God grant from this noble assembly, this noble assembly of fraternity men some of the leaders of our nation will emerge. God has blessed you, he has blessed you with great intellectual resources and those of you who represent the intellectual powers of our race. God has blessed many of you with great wealth and never forget that those resources came from people in the back doing a little job in a big way. Never forget that you are where you are today because the masses have helped you get there and they stand now out in the wilderness, not being able to speak for themselves, they stand walking the streets in protest just not knowing exactly what to do and the techniques. They are waiting for somebody out in the midst of the wilderness of life to stand up and speak and take a stand for them.
God grant that the resources that you have will be used to do that, the great resources of education, the resources of wealth and that we will be able to move into this new world, a world in which men will live together as brothers; a world in which men will no longer take necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. A world in which men will throw down the sword and live by the higher principle of love. The time when we shall be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daylight of freedom and justice. That there will be the time we will be able to stand before the universe and say with joy—The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and our Christ! And he shall reign forever and ever! Hallelujah!8
1. King refers to Raymond Pace Alexander, toastmaster for the evening, and Frank L. Stanley, Alpha Phi Alpha general president.
2. These lines are a composite of passages from William Cowper’s “The Negro’s Complaint” (1788) and Isaac Watts’s “False Greatness” (1706). See note 5 to the “The ‘New Negro’ of the South: Behind the Montgomery Story,” June 1956, p. 283 in this volume.
3. These three sentences are from John Donne’s poem “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions” (1624). In later speeches King included longer quotations from the poem. See, for example, “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” 3 December 1956, pp. 456-457 in this volume.
4. The source of this quotation, often attributed to Emerson, is uncertain; see note 6 to “Mother’s Day in Montgomery,” 18 May 1956, p. 266 in this volume.
5. When giving this speech to an Atlanta audience, King attributed the quotation to Benjamin Mays (see King, “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” 1 January 1957, Paul H. Brown Collection, in private hands).
6. King paraphrases the poem “Be the Best of Whatever You Are” (1926) by Douglas Malloch.
7. Cf. Josiah Gilbert Holland’s ‘‘Wanted” (1872), in Garnered Sheaves: The Complete Poetical Works of J. G. Holland (New York: Scribner/Armstrong, 1873), p. 377: “God give us men! A time like this demands / Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands; / Men whom the lust of office does not kill; / Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy; / Men who possess opinions and a will; / Men who have honor,—men who will not lie; / Men who can stand before a demagogue, / And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!” In a 3 December 1956 speech that included these lines, King noted that he was paraphrasing Holland (see “Facing the Challenge of a New Age,” p. 461 in this volume). See also King’s use of Holland’s poem in “Desegregation and the Future,” 15 December 1956. p. 477 in this volume.
8. Revelations 11:15.
CSKC, INP, Coretta Scott King Collection, In Private Hands, Sermon file, folder 159, Speeches–Reprints in Various Magazines, M. L. King
“The heart is a sensory organ and acts as a sophisticated information encoding and processing center that enables it to learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions.”
The heart, like the brain, generates a powerful electromagnetic field, McCraty explains in The Energetic Heart. “The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).
A great book on this subject is The Field by Lynne McTaggart. Also. check out The Heart Mind Matrix and the Heart Intelligence.
“Drink the cup of love and become mad.” – Swami Vivekananda
“Love may be symbolised by a triangle. The first angle is, love never begs, never asks for anything; the second, love knows no fear; the third and the apex, love for love’s sake.” – Swami Vivekananda
Commune with your whole heart upon your bed and be still The fool has said in his heart, There is no God My heart teaches me, night after night Weigh my heart, summon me by night They have closed their heart to pity You have given him his heart’s desire My heart within my breast is melting wax May your heart live for ever! Those who have clean hands and a pure heart The sorrows of my heart have increased – Book of Psalms
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console, To be understood, as to understand. To be loved, as to love, For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. – St. Francis of Assisi
The Still Small Voice Listen to the still small voice. It tells us to follow in the ways of holiness. It asks us to sanctify our days with kindness. The still small voice is not in the wind, the shaking of the earth, or in fire. The still small voice is heard in the hearts of those who listen. – Esta Cassway, Based on Kings 19:11-12
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
Let love be without dissimulation. – Romans 12:9
If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. John 4:12
Beloved, let us love one another. John 4:7
“This fire that we call Loving is too strong for human minds. But just right for human souls.”
– Aberjhani, Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love
“This is what our love is––a sacred pattern of unbroken unity sewn flawlessly invisible inside all other images, thoughts, smells, and sounds.”
– Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams
“Compassion crowns the soul with its truest victory.”
– Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams
“This world’s anguish is no different from the love we insist on holding back.”
– Aberjhani, Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love
“Got just enough room to be a friend of yours. Oh I hope you got room to be a friend of mine.”
“Quote words that affirm all men and women are your brothers and sisters.”
“Most people are slow to champion love because they fear the transformation it brings into their lives. And make no mistake about it: love does take over and transform the schemes and operations of our egos in a very mighty way.”
“Love is our most unifying and empowering common spiritual denominator. The more we ignore its potential to bring greater balance and deeper meaning to human existence, the more likely we are to continue to define history as one long inglorious record of man’s inhumanity to man.”
“Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends.”
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was a manifestation of hope that humanity might one day get out of its own way by finding the courage to realize that love and nonviolence are not indicators of weakness but gifts of significant strength.”
“Love is more abundant than we could possibly imagine. Just like there is more air than we could possibly breathe in, there is more love than we could possibly perceive.” ― Vironika Tugaleva, The Love Mindset
“To extend compassion to a so-called villain, to forgive those who have wronged you, and to find common ground with someone who has been awfully isolated are not acts typically met with fireworks and swelling violins. More often than not, they are pushed away. To love, really love, is to do them anyway.”
― Vironika Tugaleva,
“I will tell you a secret, what is really important… true love is really the same as awareness. They are identical.”
– Jack Kornfield
May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be safe rom inner and outer dangers. May I be well in body and mind. May I be at ease and happy.
– Jack Kornfield, The Awakened Heart
A peaceful heart gives birth to love. When love meets suffering, it turns to compassion. When love meets happiness, it turns to joy.
– Jack Kornfield
We all want to love and be loved. Love is the natural order, the main attraction, the mover of nations, the bees in spring, the tender touch, the first and the last word. It is like gravity, a mysterious force that ties all things together, the heart’s memory of being in the womb and the oneness before the Big Bang. The vastness of the sky is equaled by the vastness of the heart.
Neuroscience shows us that love is a necessity; its absence damages not only individuals, but whole societies. Our brains require bonding and nurturing. Close emotional connection changes neural patterns, affecting our sense of self and making empathy possible.
Remember the days you were in love, how it felt on a spring day of crocuses and plum blossoms or a crisp autumn evening with the smell of burning leaves, how your heart soared as you met your Beatrice or Brent standing on the street corner. And if you never fell in love because of the oppression or pain around you, the Persian poet Rumi suggests, “Today is the day to start.”
Love being alive. Love your creative, distracted, overworked mind. Love your anxiety and depression and longing and wisdom. Love your food, celebrate your survival, open your senses to the mysterious communion of life right where you are. Love the natural world. Like Annie Dillard, who has spent her life walking the hills “looking for the tree with lights in it.” There are moments when you see the sacred shine from quivering aspen, autumnal maples, or textured clouds, the sunlight of heaven piercing the veil and illuminating everyday forms like a Michelangelo masterpiece. Love the creatures of the world, the incalculably complex web of teeming earthworms, bacteria, bees, and beasts that live and die in an incalculable process of re-creation on this cooled piece of star.
Start anywhere. Love dogs, cats, dolphins, squirrels, mockingbirds, lizards, elephants. Love men and women, tribes, nations, the unending varieties of human character and theater. Love is a sacred wellspring that never runs out. The freedom of love is based on the perennial renewal of love itself; it actually can grow. It is this simple: Your whole life is a curriculum of love.
Some people learn love spontaneously when their children are born. Some when their children are in trouble. Some learn from falling in love, from caring for the one they’re with. Your True Nature is love and awareness. And yet at times you forget, which is utterly human.Ursula LeGuin reminds us, “Love must be remade each day, baked fresh like bread.”
Modern neuroscience reinforces that while love is native to us, it is also a quality that can
be developed. Like gratitude and forgiveness, love can be invited, nourished, and awakened. It can flower and expand. It can become our way no matter what. Every great spiritual tradition understands this. Ecstatic music and art, devotional prayer, sacred rituals and contemplative practices all offer us ways to open to love. Neuroscience show how practices of love and compassion can change our nervous system and greatly increase access to these capabilities.
Practices of lovingkindness and compassion drawn from Eastern psychology are being adapted for medicine, education, psychotherapy, conflict resolution, even for business. The inner trainings of meditation and prayer tune us in to the love channel. They invite us into the reality of love over and over until the time comes when love bursts our heart open, swoops in and fills us, and we can’t say no.
Think of those who choose love in this world, and remember that you can awaken your own love and join them. Practicing in any of these ways profoundly affects how you hold others.
This excerpt is taken from No Time Like the Present: Finding Freedom, Love, and Joy Right Where You Are
The ascent of man is only through love.
– J. Krishnamurti
“When one comprehends the nature of love, when one has that quality of the mind in the heart, that is intelligence. Intelligence is a comprehension or discovery of what love is. One might be very adept in one’s studies, and in one’s work, capable of arguing with much aptitude and rationality, but that is not intelligence. Intelligence goes hand in hand with love and compassion; and a person, as a separate individual, cannot come to that intelligence.”
-Jiddu Krishnamurti― from “Holistic Education: Pedagogy of Universal Love”
“We come here to love and to learn.”
Dalai Lama, XIV
“I believe the only true religion consists of having a good heart”
-The Dalai Lama
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.
Without them, humanitycannot survive.”
~ Dalai Lama, XIV
“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
– Dalai Lama XIV
“One of the basic points is kindness. With kindness, with love and compassion, with his feeling that is the essence of brotherhood, sisterhood, one will have inner peace. This compassionate feeling is the basis of inner peace.”
– Dalai Lama XIV
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
“Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
-Dalai Lama, XIV
“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.
One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow.
Today is the right day to Love,
Believe, Do and mostly Live.”
-Dalai Lama, XIV
“Every day People straighten up the hair, why not the heart?”
― Ernesto Che Guevara
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.”
― Ernesto Che Guevara
“The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”
― Ernesto Che Guevara
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. So medicine, law, business, engineering… these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love… these are what we stay alive for.”
“Life doesn’t give You the people you want, It gives you The people you need: To love you, To hate you, To make you, To break you, And to make you the person you Were meant to be.”
“I think I could always live with animals. The more you’re around people, the more you love animals.”
“We need Joy as we need air. We need Love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share.”
– Maya Angelou
“Love is the most powerful element in the universe. It may in fact be the thing which holds stars in the firmament and that thing which keeps the blood rushing in our veins.”
– Maya Angelou
“I’m grateful for being here, for being able to think, for being able to see, for being able to taste, for appreciating love – for knowing that it exists in a world so rife with vulgarity, with brutality and violence, and yet love exists. I’m grateful to know that it exists.”
– Maya Angelou
“We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate – thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.”
– Maya Angelou
“We need Joy as we need air. We need Love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share.”
– Maya Angelou
“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.’”
– Maya Angelou
Excerpts from a lovely book titled Deep, Deep Down in Your Heart by Brown Landone, published 1925
Deep down in the heart, each soul recognizes and prefers that beauty of activity which transcends beauty of form. For what beauty of form except the OUTWARD MANIFESTATION OF AN INWARD state of condition. It is a RESULT and not a cause; and since it IS a result, it CAN be changed by changing the inner activity!
O Soul, that which seemeth need not continue!
Let the Spirit of thy Soul move upon (love) the face of that which appears and all things shall be changed even as the Spirit of God, moving upon (loving) the face of the ugly void, changed that which was formless to beauty divine!
THE HATE WHICH LOVES
God is Love, and the Origin of all that is; all things created He out of His own love substance, and there is no hate in thee with which to hate!
Out of love were all things made; out of nothingness of hate was not anything made!
Since everything cannot turn to nothing, love cannot burn to hate.
It is very vain for thee to try to hate—for that which thou thinkest thou hatest is that which thou lovest!
O Soul, there is no hate in thee; thy hate is but thy love, unexpressed, demanding channels of expression divinely magnificent!
That thou mayest know no hate and no suffering, in this manner love: think not overmuch about love, but love love itself, much and divinely, to the end that its peace and joy may remain forever with thee!
He that hateth…layeth up deceit within himself. –Proverbs 26:24
Now are we the sons of God. –I John 3:2
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him. –I John 4:16
It is vain to hate!
It is very vain!
It is vain event to try to hate!
And it is useless, for no soul attains by hate that which it hopes to attain.
Hate is but love unexpressed; and if we but knew this and understood it, we would no longer hate. Instead, we would turn our efforts into those channels in which we can find divine and unlimited expression of our love—in advancing the progress of the times, in loving people and being loved by them, in loving society and winning our rightful place in it.
Since love is infinite, the one who love is unexpressed in one channel can always find greater and grander expressions of love—if he realizes the divinity and magnificence of love.
Many revered and beloved men and women learned to love humanity and benefit it by their lives because, instead of letting rejected personal love turn to hate, they broadened their love and deepened it, in a divine way, to many hundreds or thousands of people.
In doing this they have found that the greater love brought more happiness than that which they thought was rejected—even greater and nobler than personal love.
And then, loving thus gloriously, the soul finds the one it loves most of all and from whom it receives more than from all others.
Find a man or a woman who has rendered great service to humanity, and in that soul you find love given its largest and most glorious expression. Also its freest and happiest expression, for all the trouble and fears and jealousies of personal love are to the attempt to limit great love to expression in a small channel and in a small channel only.
This is the process:
First, God is Love and Love is Infinite.
Second, hate is but unexpressed love.
Third, neither deny it or affirm its opposite; take no note of it at all.
Fourth, Love is unlimited.
Fifth, you can not limit that which is limitless.
Sixth, discover the love you want to express.
Seventh, express the love without limitation by condition, or thing, or person!
Then heaven is at hand!
O Soul, thou art love and there is no hate in thee—only love unexpressed!
That thou mayest know no hate and no suffering in this manner love: think not overmuch about love, but love love itself, much and divinely, to the end that its peace and joy may remain forever with thee.
FRETTING AND DOING GREAT THINGS GREATLY
When the soul—deep down within itself—feels impulse and desire and capacity to do great things in a great way, and the conscious mind at the same time assumes that it has no opportunity to do them, or that it is shut off from doing them by one obstacle or another, then the conscious mind centers all the soul’s gigantic impulse to act upon doing little things, and the doing of such little things as are available.
But the doing of little things is not sufficient to use the full capacity of the soul’s desire for infinite action.
Consequently, to secure some kind of outlet for the unused desire and impulse, the mind fusses and fumes, frets and fidgets about the doing of what are called “little” things.
The first step toward remedying the condition, is to discover the divine desire for action; determine the line of activity; prepare and fit yourself to do that thing greatly; and then set out to do it.
Re-read the above paragraph.
Read it again!
Read it a third time!
Then commit it to memory.
Take the thought to sleep with you tonight.
And tomorrow night.
And every succeeding night until you begin doing the big things you desire to do and stop your fussing and fretting about little things or the doing of them.
Self-pity grows into nothing but wailing and whining, and ultimately into bitterness. It does not bring you what you want.
Think of a can of crimson paint wishing it were crimson. All that is wrong is its attitude toward crimson itself.
If you take the non-idealized attitude, there is naught but suffering and misery. If you take the idealized attitude, God manifests through you in accord with your ideal, and there is always peace and joy.
The non-idealized attitude limits; the idealized attitude gives freedom.
So it is with love; if you try to shut it up, and its place substitute self-pity, there is sadness and suffering. But radiated love brings peace and joy and a glorious and eternal happiness.
Love is the most precious thing in the world!
Your greatest joy comes from expressing it.
Yet infinite love is sometimes locked up in what we call self-pity; and, instead of joy, there is suffering.
I repeat and emphasize: Self-pity is NOT a love within the self for the self; it is a love for others—a love locked up and unexpressed.
Express love and self-pity vanishes.
Love is expressed by action; not by words!
There is no limit of infinite love!
Love SURROUNDS you; it is on all sides of you; beneath you, above you!
Love EXTENDS out for you throughout the entire universe for billions of miles; it holds the sun and the stars so that that they move in HARMONY; except for love they would crash into each other and destroy the universe.
Love PERMEATES you; it is WITHIN you; it reaches to the inmost center of your being—even to the inmost cell of your physical body.
Love is EVER-PRESENT—in every MOMENT of eternity, as well as every WHERE in infinite space.
Attain this consciousness of love—whether it takes a week or a generation—and (since Love IS the Kingdom of Heaven) ALL other things which Christ promised shall come to you.
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.
Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
Love is the bridge between you and everything.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere, they are in each other all along.
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kiss the earth.
A Poem by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with praising,
until a cynic said, “So!
I’ve heard you calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?” “Because
I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express
is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.
“What is a stronger breastplate than a heart untainted?”
-Henry VI, Part 2, III, ii
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
-All’s Well That Ends Well | Act 1, Scene 1
“A heart to love, and in that heart, Courage, to make’s love known”
-Macbeth – Act 2, Scene 3
Henry David Thoreau
I Learned this by my Experiment
“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
From Walden Chapter 18 “Conclusion”
“Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life, as a dog does his master’s chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much of life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good–be good for something. –All fables indeed have their morals, but the innocents enjoy the story.
Let nothing come between you and the light.”
―Letters to a Spiritual Seeker, Henry David Thoreau
Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. The Hawaiian word translates into English simply as correction, with the synonyms manage or supervise, and the antonym careless. Similar forgiveness practices are performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditional Hoʻoponopono is practiced by Indigenous Hawaiian healers, often within the extended family by a family member.
“…the main objective of Hoʻoponopono is getting to “the state of Zero, where we would have zero limits. No memories. No identity.” To reach this state, use the mantra, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
-excerpted from Wikipedia
“You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep.
You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.
You deserve a lover who wants to dance with you, who goes to paradise every time he looks into your eyes and never gets tired of studying your expressions.
You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.
You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.”
― Frida Kahlo
“I love you more than my own skin and even though you don’t love me the same way, you love me anyways, don’t you? And if you don’t, I’ll always have the hope that you do, and i’m satisfied with that. Love me a little. I adore you.”
― Frida Kahlo
I am that clumsy human, always loving, loving, loving. And loving. And never leaving.
Can one invent verbs? I want to tell you one: I sky you, so my wings extend so large to love you without measure.
“The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass, and trees, but all the people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can.”
-James A. Baldwin
“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
– James A. Baldwin
Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.
– James A. Baldwin
Be careful what you set your heart upon – for it will surely be yours.
– James A. Baldwin
Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.
– James A. Baldwin
For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
– Viktor E. Frankl
What is to give light must endure burning.
– Viktor E. Frankl
“By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system. I have termed this constitutive characteristic “the self-transcendence of human existence.” It denotes the fact that being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself–be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself–by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love–the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself. What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.”
― Viktor E. Frankl,
India.Arie Sings “I Am Light”
INDIA ARIE “I Am Light”
I am light, I am light [x4]
I am not the things my family did
I am not the voices in my head
I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside
I am light, I am light [x4]
I’m not the mistakes that I have made or any of the things that caused me pain
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind
I am light, I am light [x4]
I am not the color of my eyes
I am not the skin on the outside
I am not my age, I am not my race, my soul inside is all light
All light, all light [x2] I am light, I am light [x2]
I am divinity defined
I am the God on the inside
I am a star, a piece of it all
I am light
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say, but you can learn
How to play the game
Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do, but you can learn
How to be you in time
“Love is old, Love is new, Love is all, Love is you.”
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.
– John Lennon
Love, Love, Love. All you need is love. Love is all you need.
– John Lennon
There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.
– John Lennon
It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.
– John Lennon
If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliche that must have been left behind in the 60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.
– John Lennon
We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.
– John Lennon
Invite the Soul
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman
“In one soul, in your soul, there are resources for the world.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If you’re a stranger to your own wound, then you’re gonna be tempted to despise the wounded.”
“There is nothing more powerful than loving kindness.”
– Father Gregory Boyle
The Kingdom of Love
There are a thousand ways in which to acquire knowledge but it is only necessary to love in order to become wise. Knowledge demands a reply to the problems before which it stands baffled; love seeks only to serve and to it nothing is denied. To those who love us we yield the innermost secret of our souls, knowing that our most intimate treasure is safe in the hands of love to whom all is sacred; and thus it is that when we love become naked to love’s altar and feel no shame in the revelation of our poverty, knowing that we have brought our all and realizing that to the eyes of love there is no wealth but worship.
Love is the recognition of something greater than ourselves, something that lends all life its beauty, something that endures beyond the reach of death, and in the contemplation of this mystery we lose all thought of self and seek only to become one with it for ever. It is when we love, therefore, and only when we love, that we lose that cunning manipulation of our knowledge which we term worldly wisdom and which is in truth merely a weapon with which we seek to enforce the satisfaction of our selfish demands. When we love we live those values which previously were largely theoretical and so our lives become representative of our souls; then it is that we are amazed to discover the countless, invisible ties uniting ourselves with other and then we become aware of the spiritual brotherhood of man and so realize that no man lives unto himself alone.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars.
– Carl Sagan
“Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.”
– Carl Sagan
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
– Carl Sagan
“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but it is really fear.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Where there is love there is life.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Power is of two kinds: one is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle; we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“The law of love could be best understood and learned through little children.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“If light can come out of darkness, then alone can love emerge from hatred.”
– Mahatma Gandhi (Satyagraha in South Africa)
“I believe in the sovereign rule of love which makes no distinctions.”
– Mahatma Gandhi (Harijan, May 25, 1947)
“Love never claims, it ever gives. Love ever suffers, never resents, never revenges itself.”
– Mahatma Gandhi (Satyagraha in South Africa)
Science of Love
We are built to be kind.
Is the heart more than a glorious pump?
Thich Nhat Hanh
“The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
The following is a description of the Buddha’s teachings on the four qualities of love, from the first chapter of Teachings on Love, written by Thich Nhat Hanh.
“Happiness is only possible with true love. True love has the power to heal and transform the situation around us and bring a deep meaning to our lives. There are people who understand the nature of true love and how to generate and nurture it. The teachings on love given by the Buddha are clear, scientific, and applicable. Every one of us can benefit from these teachings.
During the lifetime of the Buddha, those of the Brahmanic faith prayed that after death they would go to Heaven to dwell eternally with Brahma, the universal God. One day a Brahman man asked the Buddha, “What can I do to be sure that I will be with Brahma after I die?” and the Buddha replied, “As Brahma is the source of Love, to dwell with him you must practice the Brahmaviharas—love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.”
A vihara is an abode or a dwelling place. Love in Sanskrit is maitri; in Pali it is metta. Compassion is karuna in both languages. Joy is mudita. Equanimity is upeksha in Sanskrit and upekkha in Pali. The Brahmaviharas are the four elements of true love. They are called “immeasurable,” because if you practice them, they will grow in you every day until they embrace the whole world. You will become happier, and everyone around you will become happier, also.
The Buddha respected people’s desire to practice their own faith, so he answered the Brahman’s question in a way that encouraged him to do so. If you enjoy sitting meditation, practice sitting meditation. If you enjoy walking meditation, practice walking meditation. But preserve your Jewish, Christian, or Muslim roots. That is the way to continue the Buddha’s spirit. If you are cut off from your roots, you cannot be happy.
If we learn ways to practice love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, we will know how to heal the illnesses of anger, sorrow, insecurity, sadness, hatred, loneliness, and unhealthy attachments… Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within ourselves and within everyone and everything.
The first aspect of true love is maitri (metta, in Pali), the intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness. To develop that capacity, we have to practice looking and listening deeply so that we know what to do and what not to do to make others happy. If you offer your beloved something she does not need, that is not maitri. You have to see her real situation or what you offer might bring her unhappiness.
Without understanding, your love is not true love. You must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the one you love. We all need love. Love brings us joy and well-being. It is as natural as the air. We are loved by the air; we need fresh air to be happy and well. We are loved by trees. We need trees to be healthy. In order to be loved, we have to love, which means we have to understand. For our love to continue, we have to take the appropriate action or non-action to protect the air, the trees, and our beloved.
Maitri can be translated as “love” or “loving kindness.” Some Buddhist teachers prefer “loving kindness,” as they find the word “love” too dangerous. But I prefer the word “love.” Words sometimes get sick and we have to heal them. We have been using the word “love” to mean appetite or desire, as in “I love hamburgers.” We have to use language more carefully. “Love” is a beautiful word; we have to restore its meaning. The word “maitri” has roots in the word mitra which means friend. In Buddhism, the primary meaning of love is friendship.
We all have the seeds of love in us. We can develop this wonderful source of energy, nurturing the unconditional love that does not expect anything in return. When we understand someone deeply, even someone who has done us harm, we cannot resist loving him or her. Shakyamuni Buddha declared that the Buddha of the next eon will be named “Maitreya, the Buddha of Love.”
The second aspect of true love is karuna, the intention and capacity to relieve and transform suffering and lighten sorrows. Karuna is usually translated as “compassion,” but that is not exactly correct. “Compassion” is composed of com (“together with”) and passion (“to suffer”). But we do not need to suffer to remove suffering from another person. Doctors, for instance, can relieve their patients’ suffering without experiencing the same disease in themselves. If we suffer too much, we may be crushed and unable to help. Still, until we find a better word, let us use “compassion” to translate karuna.
To develop compassion in ourselves, we need to practice mindful breathing, deep listening, and deep looking. The Lotus Sutra describes Avalokiteshvara as the bodhisattva who practices “looking with the eyes of compassion and listening deeply to the cries of the world.” Compassion contains deep concern. You know the other person is suffering, so you sit close to her. You look and listen deeply to her to be able to touch her pain. You are in deep communication, deep communion with her, and that alone brings some relief.
One compassionate word, action, or thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy. One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation. One action can save a person’s life or help him take advantage of a rare opportunity. One thought can do the same, because thoughts always lead to words and actions. With compassion in our heart, every thought, word, and deed can bring about a miracle.
When I was a novice, I could not understand why, if the world is filled with suffering, the Buddha has such a beautiful smile. Why isn’t he disturbed by all the suffering? Later I discovered that the Buddha has enough understanding, calm, and strength; that is why the suffering does not overwhelm him. He is able to smile to suffering because he knows how to take care of it and to help transform it. We need to be aware of the suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness, and strength so we can help transform the situation. The ocean of tears cannot drown us if karuna is there. That is why the Buddha’s smile is possible.
The third element of true love is mudita, joy. True love always brings joy to ourselves and to the one we love. If our love does not bring joy to both of us, it is not true love. Commentators explain that happiness relates to both body and mind, whereas joy relates primarily to mind.
This example is often given: Someone traveling in the desert sees a stream of cool water and experiences joy. On drinking the water, he experiences happiness. Ditthadhamma sukhavihari means “dwelling happily in the present moment.” We don’t rush to the future; we know that everything is here in the present moment.
Many small things can bring us tremendous joy, such as the awareness that we have eyes in good condition. We just have to open our eyes and we can see the blue sky, the violet flowers, the children, the trees, and so many other kinds of forms and colors. Dwelling in mindfulness, we can touch these wondrous and refreshing things, and our mind of joy arises naturally. Joy contains happiness and happiness contains joy.
Some commentators have said that mudita means “sympathetic joy” or “altruistic joy,” the happiness we feel when others are happy. But that is too limited. It discriminates between self and others. A deeper definition of mudita is a joy that is filled with peace and contentment. We rejoice when we see others happy, but we rejoice in our own wellbeing as well. How can we feel joy for another person when we do not feel joy for ourselves? Joy is for everyone.
The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even- mindedness, or letting go. Upa means “over,” and iksha means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.
People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. If you have more than one child, they are all your children. Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love. You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.
Upeksha has the mark called samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others. In a, conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others.
As long as we see ourselves as the one who loves and the other as the one who is loved, as long as we value ourselves more than others or see ourselves as different from others, we do not have true equanimity. We have to put ourselves “into the other person’s skin” and become one with him if we want to understand and truly love him. When that happens, there is no “self’ and no “other.”
Without upeksha, your love may become possessive. A summer breeze can be very refreshing; but if we try to put it in a tin can so we can have it entirely for ourselves, the breeze will die. Our beloved is the same. He is like a cloud, a breeze, a flower. If you imprison him in a tin can, he will die. Yet many people do just that. They rob their loved one of his liberty, until he can no longer be himself. They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying.
You say you love him, but if you do not understand his aspirations, his needs, his difficulties, he is in a prison called love. True love allows you to preserve your freedom and the freedom of your beloved. That is upeksha.
For love to be true love, it must contain compassion, joy, and equanimity. For compassion to be true compassion, it has to have love, joy, and equanimity in it. True joy has to contain love, compassion, and equanimity. And true equanimity has to have love, compassion, and joy in it.
This is the interbeing nature of the Four Immeasurable Minds. When the Buddha told the Brahman man to practice the Four Immeasurable Minds, he was offering all of us a very important teaching. But we must look deeply and practice them for ourselves to bring these four aspects of love into our own lives and into the lives of those we love.”
~From Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh~
“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”
– The Buddha
You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
– The Buddha
Silence the angry man with love. Silence the ill-natured man with kindness. Silence the miser with generosity. Silence the liar with truth.
– The Buddha
Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child.
– The Buddha
Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.
– The Buddha
Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
– The Buddha
The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
– The Buddha
Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
– The Buddha
Radiate boundless love towards the entire world — above, below, and across — unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.
– The Buddha
These are the benefits of Metta (Loving Kindness) as described by the Buddha:
- you will sleep easily.
- you will wake easily
- you will have pleasant dreams
- people will love you
- devas (celestial beings) and animals will love you
- devas will protect you
- external dangers will not harm you
Gerald Jampolsky, MD
We need to remind ourselves constantly that Love is the only reality there is. Anything we perceive that does not mirror Love is a misperception. Forgiveness, then, becomes the means for correcting our misperceptions; it allows us to see only the Love in others and ourselves, and nothing else.
-Gerald Jampolsky, MD
There are only two emotions: one is Love and the other is fear. Love is our true reality. Fear is something our mind has made up, and is therefore unreal.
-Gerald Jampolsky, MD
Anthony D. Williams
“Our purpose is simple. To Love To love each other To love all life And to love our earth.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“Love has the power to…cure, to heal, to calm, to change and to unite. Use this power often.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“When humanity measures wealth by love, truth and wisdom we will all be rich.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“Treat other animals as friends and they become friends. Treat other animals as family and they become family. Give other animals your love and they will love you in return.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“Love is the secret password to every soul.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“With each person our heart loves, our soul becomes stronger.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“Love is the language all animals understand.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“If you live with love… You will love living.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“Fill your heart with love. Fill your mind with kindness. Fill your soul with peace.”
– Anthony D. Williams
“So with a boundless heart, should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths; Outwards and Unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will. Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,
Free from drowsiness, one should sustain this recollection, This is said to be the sublime abiding.”
– Metta Sutta
The ancient Greeks believed that love took six distinct forms:
Eros, the fiery, passionate love you feel toward a lover.
Philia, the platonic love between friends and family.
Ludus, the playfulness found among new lovers and children.
Pragma, the deep understanding between partners that grow over time.
Agape, the selfless, charitable love for our fellow humans.
Philautia, the love of the self.
Bishop Michael Curry
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“At a finite distance in the future, a critical state of encounter will occur, an ultimate co-reflective Center. A focused conspiration will allure individual persons to identify with others in profound affinity. Because of thinking altogether, love will grow into Divinity.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“Today, something is happening to the whole structure of human consciousness. A fresh kind of life is starting. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking each other, so that the world may come into being.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“Love is the most universal, the most tremendous and the most mystical of cosmic forces. Love is the primal and universal psychic energy. Love is a sacred reserve of energy; it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Was das Herz hört. What the heart hears.
Is your heart listening? What is it listening to?
Enjoy these Love References from diverse sources…
Utterances of the Heart
(The next exhibit!)