I think we can all agree that the world needs more love. Something that’s always at the forefront of my mind is the fact that love matters not just on a big scale, but on a small scale too. The wisdom traditions teach us that we are the microcosm of the macrocosm, and the world is at all times a reflection of us. What does that mean? It means that it not only matters that you don’t do hateful things on a big scale – like killing people – it also matters how you treat people in everyday life. You know, all those small, everyday interactions you have with other people. When you take an honest look at all the tiny moments of life, are you being the most loving person you can be?
Because something I hear people say ALL THE TIME is, “I was nice to him until he did that… I’m nice to everyone unless they… She started it!…” That’s our mistake right there. We’re placing conditions on how loving we are. We are loving people until or unless… What? Something triggered you? Someone wasn’t nice to you? Someone didn’t act the way you wanted them to act? Well guess what – that’s gonna happen EVERY DAY for the rest of your life. And you have a choice to make. Are you gonna give in to those triggers every time they happen, or are you gonna rise above them? Remember these perfect words by Michelle Obama,
When others go low, WE GO HIGH.
And that’s how you do your part in making this world a better, more peaceful place. Because world peace happens one person at a time. We all have our part to play. And in times like these it is clear to see, that no one can afford to sit this one out. We are all called to rise to the occasion and be more loving people – everyday, whether we feel like it or not, whether we’ve been triggered or not, in big ways, but probably even more importantly, in the small, everyday ways.
Now look, I’m not saying you aren’t loving. Of course you are! But as A Course in Miracles so poignantly points out: our problem isn’t that we don’t love; our problem is that we don’t love ONLY. We love until… We love unless… And over the last couple of weeks I cannot help but here these words of the bible ringing in my ear…
TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.
The attitude to be nice to others only if they’re nice to you is immature. It’s hurting you. And it’s hurting us. It’s time to change our ways. It’s time to rise up. It’s time to go high even, and especially, when others are going low.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
So because I kept hearing those words from the bible, I did some research and I stumbled upon some beautiful passages. If you’re turned off by me just mentioning the bible, don’t be. No religion is perfect, but there’s still wisdom to be found in all of them. And we can take that wisdom without taking any of the baggage that some of us associate with organized religion. That’s all I’m doing here. Just sharing some nuggets of wisdom I found. And as always I invite you to take what you want, and leave the rest. So here’s the first passage.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
What does that mean for you? Eye for an eye is not your job! That just describes the law of cause and effect. The law of cause and effect is active on this planet, whether you believe in it or not, just as the law of gravity is active on this planet. And the law of cause and effect states that for every action there will be an appropriate reaction. Loving thought and action leads to a loving reaction, while fearful (i.e. negative) thought and action will lead to fearful/negative results. That’s always happening without you having to do anything. In other words, justice will be served. If anyone wronged you in any way, the universe is already on it. It’s not your job to ensure justice – your part is to turn the other cheek, i.e. forgive, let go, move on, be gracious.
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.
Again, other people treating you badly, that’s THEIR karma. But how you react, is yours. Don’t let them pull you down. Go high. That way you can reach out your hand to them and pull them up with you. I loved seeing how clear and practical the advice in the next section is.
Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends.
As far as it depends on you… What does that mean? It means, even if you are the best, nicest, friendliest person you can be, there’s still gonna be people who just don’t like you. Yup. You’re gonna have to learn to live with that. Still, all that matters, and all that you can control, really, is YOUR behavior towards them. Play your part. Keep your side of the street clean. Be nice, be loving, be gracious, treat them with respect and kindness, forgive. That’s all you gotta do. If someone chooses to reject all of that, it’s their loss really. As they say, you could be the ripest juiciest peach on the planet, and there’s still gonna be people who just don’t like peaches. Don’t dwell on that. Just be nice anyway. As far as it depends on you, live at peace with them. Don’t let them pull you down. Go high.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.
This is big. Because, again, we all have a tendency to be nice to the people who are nice to us, but then match other people’s low standards when they aren’t. We have to put an end to this. And one way to do that is to take it back to the human level. Every life matters. Wouldn’t you agree? If you saw someone in distress, you would just rush over to help them, right? You wouldn’t first ask what their nationality is, their religion, their political views, or anything like that. It wouldn’t matter. We recognize this in life-threatening circumstances, but it is true every day and in every moment. It doesn’t matter what separates you, what matters are the things that unite you. We’re all human. That unites us. No matter how much you disagree with someone, at the end of the day, if you saw them getting hit by a car, none of that would matter anymore. You would rush over to help them, you would call an ambulance, you would do CPR, you would do whatever you could to save them. Well, instead of only trying to save them when they’re in imminent danger, try saving them every day. How? It is your love that saves them. Pray for them, forgive them, be nice to them, treat them the way you’d want them to treat you. That’s how we can save each other from the tight grips of fear.
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
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’m not asking you to be a doormat. I feel like that’s what people are afraid of a lot of the time. Just to be clear, “turn the other cheek” is a symbol. It doesn’t mean that you’re literally supposed to let others beat you up. It’s not like that. It’s more like Michelle Obama’s words – When others go low, we go high. I hope after reading all this you can see that this is actually a very empowered place. It’s where you rise above the drama. A Course in Miracles says that God doesn’t give you victory in battle – He lifts you above the battlefield.
The senselessness of conquest is quite apparent from the quiet sphere above the battleground.
Who with the Love of God upholding him could find the choice of miracles or murder hard to make?
–A Course in Miracles
The Course describes miracles as a shift in perspective from fear to love. That’s what it means when it says “above the battleground” – a shift in perspective. While you’re in the midst of the drama and you’re invested in the drama, it does seem real to you. But when you shift your perspective to a higher place, when you take it back to the human level and focus on the things that unite you, it’s easy to see that none of it matters. Nothing on the superficial level of differences (race, nationality, gender, religion, political views,…) matters. When you choose that shift in perspective, the battle is easily escaped. Because then you remember, Right – I’m a human being. You’re a human being. I’m a child of God. You’re a child of God. And we’re all one. And then it’s over. And how do you know that you need a shift in perception? As A Course in Miracles points out, you know the signs.
Even in forms you do not recognize, the signs you know. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. This you know well. When they occur leave not your place on high, but quickly choose a miracle instead of murder. And God Himself and all the lights of Heaven will gently lean to you, and hold you up. For you have chosen to remain where He would have you, and no illusion can attack the peace of God together with His Son.
–A Course in Miracles
I realize the word murder comes up a lot in this section, but you can just replace that with the word attack. Whether the attack is vocal, or physical, or mental in the form of resentments, grievances, judgments, prejudices, and so forth doesn’t matter. Again, that’s just a difference in scale.
What is not love is murder. What is not loving must be an attack.
–A Course in Miracles
This is where a lot of us are getting it wrong too. We think we can hang out in a neutral zone. We’re not trying to hurt anyone, but we’re also not trying to be the most loving person we can be. I have to tell you, there is no neutral zone. There is only love and fear. And everything that is not actively loving, is actively fearful. Love withheld is fear projected. Whether you’re mildly annoyed or totally outraged doesn’t really make a difference. Love is love. And anything that is not love, is fear.
The anger may take the form of any reaction ranging from mild irritation to rage. The degree of the emotion you experience does not matter. You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury.
–A Course in Miracles
Again, that’s only a difference in scale. But love matters both on a big scale as well as on a small scale. It’s not enough that you’re not actively trying to hurt anyone. You have to actively try to love everyone.
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.
So keep choosing love moment after moment after moment. With the big issues, as well as the small ones. And keep rising above the battlefield time and time again.
This is your part; to realize that murder in any form is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.
–A Course in Miracles
Now comes the part where we acknowledge the fact that we make mistakes too. It’s not just that others hurt us, we also hurt others.
“Let the person among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
That you have made mistakes is obvious.
–A Course in Miracles
Who, in simple honesty, could deny the fact that they have done some pretty gnarly things in the past? And who among us doesn’t wish they could go back in time and have a do-over? Who here doesn’t wish and hope for a second chance with someone where we messed up? And how great does it feel when you DO get a second chance, a chance to be better, and to right your wrongs? We all have made mistakes in the past, and we’ll make them again in the future. None of us is perfect. We all mess up at times. And how do you wish other people would treat you when you mess up? Would you want them to have compassion with you, to be gracious with you, to forgive you, to give you a second chance, to move on from that mistake? Well, be that person! Be that gracious and loving when other people mess up. Forgive them, love them, move on. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Don’t dwell on their mistakes. Forgive, let go, and move on.
Other people will make mistakes, and you will make mistakes. That’s just part of being human. But no matter what, you only have control over yourself and your actions. You have zero control over other people, but full control and full responsibility over yourself. So focus on that. In every circumstance, be the best, most loving, most gracious person you can be. If you do, the world will be a little brighter today. And we will be one step closer to peace.
You, therefore, have no excuse – you who pass judgment on someone else. For when you pass judgment on another person, you are condemning yourself, since you, who pass judgment, do the same things.
Only the ego in us can recognize the ego in others. When we look at others with loving eyes, we will always find reasons to love them. But the ego is always on the lookout for the flaws of others to distract you from your own mistakes. But no matter what, they are there. And the best way to deal with that, is to atone for our errors and right our wrongs.
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
So, bottom line: Remember that love matters not only on a big scale, but on a small scale too. Smile at a stranger, be friendly, let go of judgment, let go of prejudices, forgive, move on, be gracious, BE NICE. Live and let live. Be the lighthouse. Make this world a little brighter by letting your light shine freely. And just know, even if it doesn’t seem that way now, everything’s gonna be okay.
May you be happy,
may you be healthy,
may you live with ease,
may everything be sweet in your life.
Stay safe my friends!❤
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