More Love, Less Fear

December 6, 2009


On the deepest level, problems such as war and starvation are not solved by economics and politics alone. Their source is the prejudice and fear in the human heart—and their solution also lies in the human heart. What the world needs most is people who are less bound by prejudice. It needs more love, more generosity, more mercy, more openness. The root of human problems is not a lack of resources but comes from the misunderstanding, fear, and separateness that can be found in the hearts of people. ~Jack Kornfield, from Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation

My friend Carol gets the credit for the title of today’s post. She once shared her aspiration for this succinctly-expressed way of relating to the world. While it may sound naive to some, I believe that this practice of loving will create a better world, as Kornfield suggests. I am only one, but still I am one! (This idea from Edward Everett Hale: “because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”)

I want to relentlessly love more and fear less in everything I do, trusting that it will make a difference in my own heart and soul and ultimately in the world, but knowing also that some will misunderstand, suspect, discount, or reject that love. Won’t you join me in this intention?

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Gratefulness

November 28, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

I shared some favorite quotations on gratitude here. To those I add the following:

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. ~Martha Washington

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. ~Maya Angelou

I believe gratitude breeds generosity and is an important element of happiness. Do you have a favorite quote that reminds you to be grateful?


Love and Trust

February 5, 2009

One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others. ~Archibald Rutledge

For many years, I’ve believed that what hurts one member of the human family hurts us all, and what helps one person helps us all. It is logical, then, to rejoice when another is lifted up or otherwise graced with good fortune. I am learning that, like forgiveness, this practice is something that helps the giver at least as much as the recipient.

When we are jealous or resentful of others, I think we are coming from a scarcity mentality. In celebrating another’s fortune or success, we fear losing something ourselves, whereas embracing abundance (which leads to generosity) shifts our position dramatically. Gary Zukav, in his book, The Heart of the Soul, says that we release our energy into the world from either fear and doubt or from love and trust. It seems important to me to be intentional about staying on the side of love and trust as much as we can, opening our hearts to others.

How do you see it?


Giving

November 21, 2007

Hands that give, also receive.  ~Ecuadorian proverb 

This is the season of the donation solicitation. Form letters in the mail are one thing; but it is always painful for me to pass human beings begging in the streets.

The first time I saw the “Will Work for Food” sign, I wept. But the panhandlers on the city streets always seem a little risky. There is so much at the root of the problem as well, and perhaps if I were actively working for social justice, I could pass these people by with a clear conscience.

Someone I was reading once (was it Natalie Goldberg?) said they vowed to give to anyone who asked for a year . It’s hard to know if such an intention is for the beggar or the giver.  I think it was a Jane Austen novel (I miss my memory!) in which a mother explains to her child that they give to the less fortunate in order to make themselves feel better, to alleviate the suffering of privilege.

What is the right response to the beggar? In a sane society, it would certainly be to give, but there’s always a question about how the money will be used. On the other hand, Aeschylus said, “It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted.”


Privacy

November 10, 2007

What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.  ~Thoreau

I have seen the first idea of this quote attributed also to Emerson, but I like what Thoreau does with it. As an INFJ, I tend to be a very private person. This blog is an exercise in bringing what is within out into the world. I know it feels risky, because I have only shared the site with people I trust. And I am still careful about how many personal details I reveal. Still, I want to live unguarded as much as is possible in this world.

I see such a stance as akin to an orientation toward abundance (safety) rather than scarcity (danger). Can I come from a position of trust and yet recognize and respond appropriately to danger? A John Mellencamp song says, “I don’t want to live angry; I don’t want to live scared.” My friend Gloria radiated love, which I believe protected her in many instances. Can I love first and self-protect only when necessary?


Bumper Sticker Wisdom

August 26, 2007

Live simply. Give generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.  ~from a bumper sticker (thanks to nonprofit consultant Illene Roggensack)

I particularly like the “give generously” part. I find that generosity serves me well. (Is that a contradiction?) Here’s how: approaching life from a mindset of abundance, rather than scarcity, not only makes me feel richer, but helps me see the goodness in others. So many of us on this earth are wounded, act out of woundedness, see the world as hostile–or at best, something to be struggled against and overcome. Acting generously, I can give first to the other, and often reciprocity follows. Giving first is giving up nothing.