Love

“If love means anything, it means holding out our hand to the unlovable.”Quentin Crisp

As I sit here in a cafe watching the Christmas hustle and bustle, I can’t help thinking that Christmas has become partly a grand Consumer Festival dedicated to the great God of GDP and part a parody of its original spirit. Everyone hides away at home with ‘their’ loved ones and the original Christian message of love to ‘all’ men has become somewhat diluted. This and a message from a student has prompted me to write this post.

Just for a moment, put aside your preconceptions about love and have a little think about the quote above from Quentin Crisp. ‘Love’ has become misunderstood in our society to the point where it is only really spoken of in terms of romantic love. Love has almost become a taboo subject as romantic love and sexual attraction are difficult to disentangle which makes discussion of love a bit tricky for most people. Consequently, we have far too narrow a definition of love.

The ancient Greeks had several types of love as you can see here on Wikipedia.

one of these is Agape. Agape is the all pervasive love that was translated in the bible to the word ‘charity’  to distinguish it from romantic or familial love. Agape is love where there is no need for reciprocation. It is not the sort of love that we expect to be thanked for and so it has the  attributes of charity where ‘the left hand knows not what the right hand is doing’.

I understand that some biblical quotations are difficult to understand and interpret but this piece from Corinthians explains it better than I ever could:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.
 
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
 
Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 
Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
 
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
 
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
 
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
 
And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

~ Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1:13)

Have a wonderful holiday and a great new year!

Two quotes on presence (mindfulness) by Eckhart Tolle

Do not seek any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise you will set up inner resistance to what is the now. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes peace. Anything you accept fully will lead you into peace, This is the miracle of surrender. When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. That is enlightenment.Eckhart Tolle
If you go into a forest with your mind only, you’ll only notice the sounds and the mind will try to interpret them. You might think you’re present; but you’re not really, you’re simply judging what you hear. But if you become aware of the silent dimension underneath the sounds and in between the sounds, then you become present because the moment you become aware of the silence, you also have become silent.Eckhart Tolle

Mindfulness and walking by Eckhart Tolle

If you go into a forest with your mind only, you’ll only notice the sounds and the mind will try to interpret them. You might think you’re present; but you’re not really, you’re simply judging what you hear. But if you become aware of the silent dimension underneath the sounds and in between the sounds, then you become present because the moment you become aware of the silence, you also have become silent.Eckhart Tolle

Quotations on presence (present moment awareness) from Eckhart Tolle

If you’re coming to our coffee and mindfulness meeting tonight here is some food for thought, and if you’re not… here’s some food for thought. :)

“This is most people’s reality: As soon as something is perceived, it is named, interpreted, compared to something else, liked, disliked, or called good or bad by the phantom self, the Ego. They are imprisoned in thought forms, in object consciousness.”

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”

“The past has no power over the present moment.”

“Give up defining yourself — to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are”.
~ A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.”

Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle on his mindfulness training

Offensive tackle, Russell Okung: “Meditation is as important as lifting weights and being out here on the field to practice. It’s about quieting your mind and getting into certain states where everything outside of you doesn’t matter in that moment. There are so many things telling you that you can’t do something, but you take those thoughts captive, take power over them, and change them.”

US Marine Sergeant on his Mindfulness Training

Here’s a quote from Sgt. Nathan Hampton – US Marine Corps on the mindfulness meditation sessions that were included in his counter insurgency training prior to deployment in Afghanistan.

“A lot of people thought it would be a waste of time. Why are we sitting around a classroom doing weird meditative stuff? But over time, I felt more relaxed. I slept better. Physically, I noticed that I wasn’t tense all the time. It helps you think more clearly and decisively in stressful situations. There was a benefit.”

Quoted from Washington Times Article

Ego – Eckhart Tolle

The particular egoic patterns that you react to most strongly in others and misperceive as their identity tend to be the same patterns that are also in you, but that you are unable or unwilling to detect within yourself. In that sense, you have much to learn from your enemies. What is it in them that you find the most upsetting, most disturbing? Their selfishness? Their greed? Their need for power and control? Their insincerity, dishonesty, propensity to violence, or whatever it might be? Anything that you resent and react strongly to in a other is also in you. But it is no more than a form of ego, and as such, it is completely impersonal. It has nothing to do with who that person is, nor has it to do with who you are. Only if you mistake it for who you are can observing it within you be threatening to your sense of self.

~ Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth)
photo – JSmith@flickr.com

Lao Tzu – Acceptance

Stop  thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must  you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!
Other people are excited, as though they are at a parade
I alone don’t care,
I alone am expressionless,
like  an infant before it can smile.
Other  people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing,
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I  am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.
Other  people are bright;
I alone am dark,
Other  people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other  people have a purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I  drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.
I am different to other people,
I drink from the great mother’s breasts.