Lesson 12: Love
The Law Of Love
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40).
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27)
The teachings of Jesus reframe the complexities of traditional Jewish law into a simple triune: love God, love others, love self.
The love of God can be expressed and experienced in diverse ways including religious worship in a church or formal service; reverence and appreciation of nature; faithfulness in prayer and meditation; and joy in the presence of the Divine.
The love of others is encompassed in compassion. The fruits of the spirit is another framework for expressing love to others, which is also a means for loving God – the God within others.
The love of self – the healthy separate sense of self – is synonymous with self-respect, self-esteem, self-regard. It is not egotistical or selfish; not self-condemning or obsessive. This is also another way to love God through reverence for the God within.
Yet the question arises: How can love be commanded? How can love be a law?
The universe is not an accident, but is purposeful and lawful. Just as there are laws for the material dimensions of reality as recognized by the science of physics, there are metaphysical laws that underlie the ultimate purpose of life, which is growth and development toward the Divine.
Thus love is an expression of the order and cooperation of universal law. The choice of obedience to the law of love rests with each soul.
Application: For an entire day let your focus be on consciously expressing and experiencing all three aspects of the law of love – love God, love others, love self.
Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. (Buddha)
Compassion is the foundation of Buddhism and when lived consistently leads to enlightenment. In Christianity, the love, charity, and benevolence of compassion is embodied in the parable of the good Samaritan.
In fact, compassion is at the core of all the great religious, ethical, and spiritual traditions. In its simplest expression, compassion is the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.
Although compassion may involve empathy and sympathy for the suffering of others, it is more than just a feeling or emotional reaction to the distress of others. Compassion avoids inflicting harm on others. Compassion seeks ways to lesson the suffering of others. Thus compassion is love in action.
Karen Armstrong has created a charter for compassion that challenges each person to consciously alleviate suffering in the world. This could be regarded as a spiritual ideal for anyone desiring world peace. The Cayce readings indicate that if enough people practiced love as an ideal, that world peace could become a reality.
Application: Read the charter for compassion at: http://charterforcompassion.org. If this formulation of compassion is consistent with your ideals, apply the principles in your daily life as an active expression of love of others in the world.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (Matthew 10:14)
Disappointments and differences have arisen. Do not WITHDRAW, but rather let thy associations be as a LOVING indifference. (1125-1)
When a person is rejected, hurt, or mistreated, there is a natural tendency to carry a grudge or allow anger to fester into resentment. However, it is possible to maintain a loving attitude that is not attached to the response of the other. Nor is the love so forward as to be antagonistic to the other person in the troubled relationship.
The Cayce readings speak of “loving indifference” as a means of maintaining a positive, loving attitude in troubled relationships, especially family relationships that need healing. Loving indifference also has value as a model for loving “enemies.”
This approach involves letting go and trusting the Divine to work things out; having faith in the way the universe is organized that things work out for the best if you love God and seek to express the divine in all your actions.
Sometimes loving indifference means saying no in a loving way. Loving indifference recognizes the need to set limits and boundaries for a healthy sense of self. God is a respecter of boundaries – a good example for each person to emulate.
Some may think of “tough love” as loving indifference. Others may find a sense of reverent nonattachment as is typically expressed in Buddhism. Regardless of how you frame it, loving indifference is about love. You do care for the other and want the best for that person as a soul. Thus loving indifference may be an appropriate expression of patience.
Application: Look within yourself and review the relationships in your life. Is there a person or relationship that can benefit from the application of loving indifference? If so, include this approach as part of your ideals exercise and make it part of your inner attunement during prayer and meditation.
Resource: Loving Indifference (reply)