As we continue to think about the power of Love, we realize it’s not that easy to definite, much less practice it! In the Bible in Matthew 5:44-48, we are commanded to “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.”
Our first reaction might be, “Yeah, right! And what am I supposed to do when they kill my loved ones, or destroy my home, or attack my country?” We are going through a time of unparalleled challenges in the world and in our country. How do we summon up the grace (and “guts”, if you will) to love the people who’re wreaking such havoc?
My thinking is that we will only have peace on earth when all of us have peace in our hearts. And my understanding at this point is that I need to be at peace in my own heart so that I can contribute to the healing of humanity and to peace everywhere.
That’s where loving myself comes in. In Lori Deschene’s book Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, she writes, “Many of us know intellectually that we need to be good to ourselves if we want to be happy. But it feels so hard. We are simultaneously the harsh judge and the lost, scared child who wants to stop feeling judged. It becomes a vicious cycle. It only stops when we step outside ourselves and observe how we get ourselves stuck.” We can’t be loving to the people who hurt us if we have not released our own past hurts. To me, the hardest part of this commandment is not the part about loving our enemies; it’s about loving ourselves.
One idea that helps me is remembering that all those who are doing harm to others are people who do not feel any love for themselves. They are wounded just as we all have been in one way or another. The truth is we all grew up in the same family of humans, and we all have wounds that have not fully healed. As we continue on this journey to enlightenment, or what I call the evolution in consciousness, let’s remember we are all members of the same family. Everyone I encounter is not my enemy but my brother or my sister.