February 2013 (Vol. XXVI, No. 2)

Warm, loving greetings, dear friends! Even as I type this greeting, the ever-present question arises: What is love? Can we really define it? Is it necessary, or even desirable, that we do so? It isn't really possible, is it? Love is something we can feel or aspire to be, but it doesn't lend itself easily to the kind of definitions our reason-driven culture seems to demand. While it isn't possible to define love, I am drawn to Carl Jung's juxtaposition of love and power: "Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other." Perhaps it would be fruitful to take this idea into our Silence and listen for a deeper understanding that might be revealed.

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The great dance of love

The whole cosmos is a Self-giving of God. And we will find our place in the great dance only to the extent that we love.

~ from CHRIST OF THE CELTS by J. Philip Newell

More important now for me to love them

I had found a kind of serenity, a new maturity . . . I didn't feel better or stronger than anyone else but it seemed no longer important whether everyone loved me or not—more important now was for me to love them. Feeling that way turns your whole life around; living becomes the act of giving.

~ Beverly Sills, American Opera Singer, thanks to Liz Stewart

Love gives naught but itself

Love gives naught but itself and takes
naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love . . .
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

~ from THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet
By Kahlil Gibran

Before and after love

There is the same difference in a person before and after he or she is in love as there is in an unlighted lamp and one that is burning. The lamp was there and it was a good lamp, but now it is shedding light too and that is its real function.

~ from THE COMPLETE LETTERS OF VINCENT VAN GOGH

Real love is always difficult

Real love is always difficult, as the German poet Rilke said, because "it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become a world, to become a world in himself for the sake of another, it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances." Eventually, love forces us to turn within. In the Symposium, his meditation on love, Plato called love a child of fullness and emptiness, suggesting that there is a kind of desolation built into every love. There comes a moment in the progress of most loves when lovers feel isolated and unfulfilled, because they have discovered that they cannot find real and enduring meaning by reaching outside themselves, clinging to their lover. . . They may see that it is only by daring to open to the silence at the center of themselves that they can begin to feel the presence of the One whom they have been searching for all along.

~ from TRANSFORMATIONS: AWAKENING TO THE SACRED IN OURSELVES by Tracy Cochran and Jeff Zaleski

Love, like a flame

Love, like a flame, cannot fail to give out light.

~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

Love seeketh not itself to please

Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair.

~ William Blake

Love feels no burden

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility . . . though weary, it is not tired . . . though alarmed, it is not confounded . . .

~ Thomas a Kempis

Living in accordance with the laws of Love

Blessed are those whose hands and heart
have maintained justice,
who have lived in accordance with
the laws of Love;
those faithful to Love Consciousness
will hear the good counsel, the
guidance of Wisdom in their hearts.
The fruits of integrity, justice,
sharing, and compassion
bear only blessing.

~ from WALKING WITH WISDOM by Nan C. Merrill
Walking with Wisdom
By Nan Merrill

Love is the answer

The greatest truth I know about life is that love is the answer. If you ask me what the question is, I will tell you it is every question you could ever ask. Love is always the answer to every question and problem. We are here to love and be loved and learn a few things in the process. I can never be wrong when I choose to love. Love rewards me by bringing meaning to my life.

~ from 365 PRESCRIPTIONS FOR THE SOUL by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel

A vessel of Divine Love let loose upon the world

My interior life is a walk through darkness with the God within who leads us beyond and out of ourselves to become a vessel of Divine Love let loose upon the world.

~ Joan Chittister

All strings which are touched by Love must sound

The Holy Spirit is our harpist, and all strings which are touched by Love must sound. 

~ Mechtild of Magdeburg

You will be love

When I say, "Love yourself," this is for those who have never gone inside, because they always can. . . . They are bound to understand only a language of duality. Love yourself—that means you are dividing yourself into two, the lover and the loved. You may not have thought about it, but if you go inside you will not love yourself, you will be love.

~ Osho

Love is the only force

Love is the only force that can make things one without destroying them.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We hunger to be loved

We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins. We hunger not just to be fed these things but, often without realizing it, we hunger to feed others these things because they too are starving for them. We hunger not just to be loved but to love, not just to be forgiven but to forgive, not just to be known and understood for all the good times and bad times that for better for worse have made us who we are, but to know and understand each other to the same point of seeing that, in the last analysis, we all have the same good times, the same bad times, and that for that very reason there is no such thing in all the world as anyone who is really a stranger.

~ from SECRETS IN THE DARK: A LIFE IN SERMONS by Frederick Buechner, thanks to Liz Stewart