Before Anything Else, Be a Lover
Feb 01, 2017 10:15PM
By Seijaku Roshi
Our love or lack of it… will in the end be an expression of ourselves: Of who we think we are, of what we want to be, and what we think we are here for. ~ Thomas Merton
Love, like Authentic Spirituality, is “not dualistic”. You cannot “be spiritual” or love anyone or anything within the context of ego, which is always viewing the world from a dualistic point of view, from a fear-based narrative.
Love always tells us more about the lover than it does about the beloved. We love others only and according to how we love ourselves. We can only give what we have and to the extent we can love ourselves unconditionally, we will love others the same. To the extent we love ourselves unconditionally, we will accept others and will be able to embrace the world just as it is and as it is not. Love is the parent of such virtues as patience, and our ability to embrace impermanence. Love does not fear change. For love there is no loss or gain.
Love is not just some sentimental or romantic notion or emotion; it is a force driven towards action by a real sense of purpose and sustained by integrity. In Zen we say, “May I at all times, both now and forever, live my life as a benefit for others.” While we may not love others with the same emotional intensity we might love a few closes to us however, love always loves with the same intention. Love is by nature benevolent; it seeks to always benefit the moment, to relieve suffering and to bring support and hope to any crises.
It is only in loving others from a place of benevolence that I am able to experience love. Love seeks only one thing, to be a benefit to others. It is for this reason that love is its own reward. When I am truly and fully engaged in loving others I cannot be bored, worrisome or discouraged. Loving gives my life meaning and purpose. Love is the meaning and purpose of my very existence.
Where ambition ends love begins. It is not until I stop seeking to have, will I ever have anything of any real substance. When I cease trying to “find love” or wanting to be loved, wanting the whole world to “devote itself to making me happy,” I will find true happiness, and I will be able to see that love was always right here. Loving others is the gateway to the Kingdom of Heaven, to Nirvana. The story about the healing of the blind man by Jesus was never fully told. I am convinced that all Jesus did was to convince the man of his worthiness, of his “lovability,” and immediately he was able to see.
So in the end the world does not need more leaders, saviors, certainly not more politicians. What the world needs more of now is what the world always needs: “More Lovers”.
“So dearly beloved let us love one another… for Love is God.” ~ John 4:7
“The way to happiness is to keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, give much. Fill your life with love…” ~ Buddha
I Love You.
Seijaku Roshi is the founder and spiritual director of The Zen Society, Pine Wind Zen Community 863 McKendimen Road Shamong, NJ 08088. He is a Zen-Buddhist Monk, Parent, Author, Life-Coach, and Abbot. Learn more about him at www.pinewind.org.