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Complementary Corner

All You Need is Love

Renee Lehman

(1/2015) Last month’s article was about the prevalence of fear in our modern day society. I believe that instead of being consumed with our fears, insecurities, and dramas, that it is time to focus on living with love and compassion. Hasn’t it been proven that doing things out of fear, or that the dualistic belief that there's an "us" and "them" causes an endless no-win situation? There is only suffering that comes from these beliefs. It is time to live fearlessly, with courage, and with LOVE!

How many times have you heard or read that it is important to have love and compassion? Pope Francis has said, "For us Christians, love of neighbor springs from love of God; and it is its most limpid expression. Here one tries to love one’s neighbor, but also to allow oneself to be loved by one’s neighbor. These two attitudes go together, one cannot be exercised without the other." The Dalai Lama has said, "My religion is love." "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive." In 1 John 4:18, it is written: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." Thich Nhat Hanh has said, "To love our enemy is impossible. The moment we understand our enemy, we feel compassion towards him or her, and he or she is no longer our enemy."

But what does it mean to love and be compassionate? I believe that love is not a feeling or an emotion, it is a state of being. Love is an act.

Here is a true story to demonstrate this belief (from Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Lao Tzu, The Parallel Sayings by Richard Hooper):

Years ago, an encounter took place between a Jewish rabbi and his wife, and a young member of a white supremacist group who hated Jews. This young man and his fellow group members broke into a local synagogue and destroyed much of it. They defaced almost every surface with racial slurs and other slogans of intolerance.

Instead of calling the police, the rabbi and his wife went looking for the responsible individuals. They were able to locate a young member of the group, and instead of responding to him angrily, they told him that they loved him. This response so disarmed the man that, when the rabbi invited him to dinner at the couple’s home, he accepted the invitation.

After dinner, the rabbi and his wife talked with this young man for hours, during which he shared his life story with them. It was not surprising for the couple to learn that this poor lost soul had been abused and unloved as a child. Neither was it surprising to them that his role models had been parents who were bigots.

It was apparent to the rabbi and his wife that the young man’s hatred had nothing to do with them personally or because they were Jewish. They understood that this young person’s hate was really an expression of his own pain and suffering. Life had been hard and cruel to him, so he had become hard and cruel to survive.

The rabbi and his wife did not see a hate-filled criminal before them – someone who ought to be vilified and punished. They saw a human being who was desperately in need of love and compassion. As it turned out, love worked a miracle: not only did the ex-white supremacist voluntarily repair all of the damage his group had done to the synagogue, but he became like a son to the rabbi and his wife, and they became the loving parents he never had.

If something like this were to happen to many of us, our first reaction might be one of anger and hatred. We would want the perpetrators to be caught, arrested, and punished. Some of us may even want to retaliate. Just remember what the Buddha said about anger and hatred: "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."

However, the rabbi and his wife did not act with anger and retaliate. They chose to perform an act of love and compassion. We need to see how we need to be in this world, what we need to do in this world. We need to recognize the pain and suffering that we all carry. We can transform ourselves and embody love. We can all choose to love; live love, BE LOVE!

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine viewpoint, the Heart is where love originates. The Heart is considered to be your Emperor/Empress who controls and co-ordinates all of the organs within the body and at the same time relies on them for guidance in "running the kingdom." If the Heart radiates virtue, then all will be in harmony, balance, and peace.

On a physical level, when the Heart is in balance, one can fall asleep easily and stay asleep, complexion is clear and radiant, and there is a sparkle in one’s eyes. On an emotional/mental level, when the Heart is in balance, one has the ability to maintain a sense of inner order enabling you to have appropriate behavior in any situation, thus giving you the ability to have meaningful relationships. Finally, on a spirit level, when in balance, the Heart allows you to feel calm, serene, feel compassion and demonstrate warmth, joy, and love.

Therefore, to care for your Heart and to improve your ability to choose LOVE. How can you do this?

Stay in the present moment. Fear causes us to live in the past via our memories and in the future because of our worries. The more that we live in the moment, the more we open ourselves to life’s opportunities.

Try some traditional Qigong (pronounced chee gung) (energy) exercises that benefit the Heart. One is a practice of "Baby Heart," where you practice cultivating the soft, pure, nonjudgmental qualities of all our Hearts when they were first born into this world. It was Marianne Williamson who said, "Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here." Be more "child-like," be present, embrace life, be more open.

Another traditional Qigong exercise is "Smiling from the Heart." By smiling directly from the Heart —not a fake smile but a true one—you can make Qi (pronounced chee) and blood flow throughout your entire body, having a profound physical and spiritual effect. Once you master smiling at yourself in this way in front of the mirror, try smiling from the Heart at others.

We need to accept that we are ultimately responsible for how we live and for how we love. The world can distract us with fear, anger, hostility, and anguish; yet it is our job to quiet our fearful mind and listen to what our Heart is saying to us. We must remember to always send ourselves a positive message and keep our Heart clear and loving. The possibilities are endless when we come from a place of unconditional love.

Finally, here are some quotes about love:

  • "Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that." – Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • "And the second is like this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." – Mark 12:31
  • Man must evolve for all human conflict a method that rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. – Martin Luther King

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist, physical therapist, and Reiki Master with over 20 years of health care experience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA.  She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

Read other article on well being by Renee Lehman