Others' Thoughts

On Love

I've been struck (as by a 2x4) by the differences in use and understanding I see of the word "love".  Set out to try to understand, a little.  Read last year at nearly every available moment, starting with the Greeks, Aquinas and Augustine, Kama Sutra, evolutionary theories of sexual attractions, bell hooks, Thomas Merton, Stephen Ambrose and J. Glen Gray (for bonding of men in war), others, skimming, looking for key thoughts... note taking and writing, stealing shamelessly, without proper attribution, for my own use.  Obviously terribly hit and miss, but I wanted to form my own thoughts, without recourse to most contemporaries, as perspectives seem to have narrowed over the centuries. Added some contemporaries later... Debbie Ford, Caroline Myss, Marianne Williamson, David Whyte... but tried to season thinking with contemporaries carefully.

Not ready to come to any public conclusions on my little quest yet, but my suspicion is that I have never really known love, the way I was defining it myself, or the ways I might define it now. From a parent, lover, anyone. And without example, how do I know the love I have striven to give, truly is love?

And I think I'm gleaning hints suggesting why what I meant as earnest, honest, affirming, non encumbering statements could be heard, reflected upon, as threats.  Why heartfelt tokens and gifts, painstakingly selected sometimes, "inspirations" others, could be seen as bribes.  I hope some day to be a reasonably whole person, and hope this little effort helps somehow.

But did I ever get hooked by Kate Chopin.

I confess I did not know her name when I started this little quest.  She surely must be or have been an icon to millions, but I missed her.  My God!  She was writing as Hemmingway, in the 1890's, on meaningful topics.  Spellbinding from the first word, I intended to skim, got hooked on a short story, read the novel overnight.

She shines an intense spotlight on so many things I thought I understood, and no doubt still don't, but at least I have a glimmering for what I don't understand.

I thought (and think, I guess) myself sensitive to others, to women's issues, minority issues, but this woman simply exploded into my consciousness.  I will reread it.

From "The Awakening and Selected Short Stories" by Kate Chopin:

   " ... Who can tell what metals the gods use in forging the subtle bond which we call sympathy, which we might as well call love."

"' ... To be an artist includes much; one must possess many gifts -- absolute gifts -- which have not been acquired by one's own effort.  And moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul.'"

"' ... The trouble is'"... "'that youth is given up to illusions.  It seems to be a provision of Nature; a decoy to secure mothers for the race.'" (By an old male doctor.)

"' ... perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's life.'"

So... What is Love?

I've been tossing that word around much of my life.

A word that I thought I could define.

A state which I felt I had experienced several times, each time maintaining major portions of the feelings I had for the person who was the object of the love, long after that person had departed my orbit, even after injuries to and from some of them.

Another sort of love, which I feel literally for all those with whom I choose to associate. And another sort, for as close to "all" of mankind as I can muster, extending to many animals.

In a moment of coherence (perhaps), it occurred to me to question those premises.

Do I know what love is? I know, or knew, some textbook definitions, philosophical and psychological and theological analyses and descriptions of it. But is that knowing what it is?

Many, perhaps most, I think, leave it undefined, and are content - as, "I can't define art, but I know it when I see it".

But if undefined, or "incorrectly" defined, how can one know it when one sees it?

Or how will one know if what is seen is love, or something else?

And does one recognize kinds of love? Most must. Love for one's life partner, love for one's partner of the moment, love for one's mother, love for one's child, love for one's country, love of home cooking, "Love thy neighbor". These must be qualitatively and quantitatively different.

Greek to me

The Greeks thought about things a lot. And talked about those things. They didn't experiment, though, to "scientifically" test their conclusions, and so became unfashionable in lots of circles.

But they were deep thinkers.

They thought about love. They originated, at least for the record,  many concepts we assume almost as givens -- on occasion anyhow -- now.

They thought of eros as a passionate desire for something; this became associated with sexual desire. Plato refined that to suggest a desire for ultimate, or true, beauty, unattainable in this life, but worthy of pondering and trying to approximate now. This ideal beauty one can find reflected in things around one, and those things might well incorporate aspects of this true beauty. Reciprocity is not necessary, as one is contemplating this aspect of beauty, and not striving for the company of another, to share values, pursuits. A rationally inspired love, based on shared ideas and concepts, Platonists held to be an intrinsically higher value than "mere physical desire", which they equated to attraction found among animals. The rationally inspired love, pursuing ideal beauty, is superior to physical love of an object, concept or person, thought they.

Philia entailed a fondness and appreciation for the other person or object, as opposed to the more passionate yearning and desiring of eros. It entailed friendship and loyalty. Aristotle: "Things that cause friendship are: doing kindnesses; doing them unasked; and not proclaiming the fact when they are done". Aristotle thought friendships arise which are useful to each friend; or through a common appropriate admiration, among those with shared dispositions, who are temperate and just and of "good" character. Those of "best" character might produce the best friendships, and love. To him, the most rational man is the happiest, and capable of forming the best friendships. Love between these rational and happy men would be the best, with diminishing circles of quality of love for those who are increasingly removed from this perfection. The perfect love would involve "a sort of excess of feeling".

(These Greeks talked about men a lot.... many did in fact lack some of our hang-ups.)

Friendships of lesser quality might also derive from the utility the friendship offers one or both friends... business friendships, or friendships where one enjoys a characteristic of the other, as his sense of humor, without love for the person himself.

Aristotle thought self love was the first condition for higher forms of love. He thought reciprocity was necessary, but not necessarily in equal amounts; he was genuinely elitist, in that he thought the "better... should be more loved than he loves".

Agape, the third Greek form of love, suggested a paternal love for all mankind. In Judeo-Christian ethic, via Paul and others Hellenically educated, it became the love God shows for mankind, and mankind for one another. It seeks a perfect love, which incorporates a fondness, a transcending of the particular, and passion without, necessarily, reciprocity. Thomas Aquinas, who owed Aristotle greatly, thought God the most rational being, hence most deserving of our love. Aquinas allows us to be partial, and love, for example, our own children above strangers. Kierkegaard insists on impartiality.

What about now?

While there most certainly must be many exceptions, it has struck me that the more contemporary the authority, the more bound to an ideology or mindset he or she seems to be... A Kantian might say love is an irreducible axiom. A phenomenologist like Scheler says that love, in and of itself, increasingly adds value to the loved, suggesting Plato would call that love more ideal. (I have felt this seem to happen consistently.) Behaviorists define love by behavior. Physicalists the physical. Physical determinists think of biological and chemical processes.

Kinda like "if all one has is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail". Sorta.

Modern concepts of romantic love seem to return to Aristotle, "one soul in two bodies", and the special love two people find in one another's virtues. This is the concept that resonated with me, which I have felt myself holding.

But the social scientists, as they gradually extricated themselves from their philosophical roots, have adopted the "scientific method" we Westerners prize. Loosely put, one establishes a hypothesis, tests it, refines or junks it, and continues in that vein until arriving at a demonstrable, proven truth (unless, of course, lunch time arrives first).

On testing my hypotheses on love of late, they seem to be lacking. Hence this rumination.

The "I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it" school of the epistemology of love holds some charms for many. If it is an entirely emotional response, which many hold, then it is per se difficult to explain and define using language. It simply is. An emotivist might maintain that a statement like "I am in love" is irreducible to other statements, like what we used to think of "elemental" particles in physics, because it is a nonpropositional utterance, and beyond further examination. Scheler might hold that love is a simple non cognitive phenomenon, here directly opposed to Plato.


Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
...where there is injury, pardon;
...where there is doubt, faith;
...where there is despair, hope;
...where there is darkness, light;
...where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
...to be understood as to understand;
...to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
...it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
...and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Thomas Merton, Love and Liking: Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.

Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving: Love is "essentially an act of will." "To love somebody is not just a strong feeling - it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go."

As a woman and a lover, however, I am moved by the sight of my Beloved. Where He is, I want to be. What he suffers, I want to share. Who He is, I want to be: crucified for love.
 - St. Teresa of Avila

Living life in touch with divine spirit lets us see the light of love in all living beings.- bell hooks, all about love

Nathaniel Branden, Six Pillars of Self Esteem:

 The practice of living consciously
 Self acceptance
 Self responsibility
 Self assertiveness
 Living purposefully
 Practice of personal integrity

One of the best guides to how to be self loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others.

The Rubaiyat
By Omar Khayyam

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

bell hooks, all about love:

Young people are cynical about love. Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disappointed and betrayed heart.

In the wake of the contemporary feminist movement, the Greek poet Sappho has now become enshrined as another love goddess.

Love is the most important thing in our lives, a passion for which we would fight or die, and yet we're reluctant to linger over its names. Without a supple vocabulary, we can't even talk or think about it directly. - Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of Love

Love is "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." (Echoing Erich Fromm.) -- M Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Peck further: "Love is as love does. Love is an act of will - namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love." This suggests we do lot love instinctively, that we choose, to nurture growth. Peck emphasizes that most of us confuse cathecting - feeling drawn to someone, and investing feeling and emotion in them - with loving.

By spiritual he is referring to that dimension of our core reality where mind, body and spirit are one, not necessarily a religious connotation. - b h

An overwhelming majority of us come from dysfunctional families in which we were taught we were not okay, where we were shamed, verbally and/or physically abused, and emotionally neglected even as we were also taught to believe that we were loved.... --- b h

Too many of us need to cling to a notion of love that either makes abuse acceptable or at least makes it seem that whatever happened was not that bad.... b h

Care is a dimension of love, but simply giving care does not mean that we are loving.... b h

Far too many people in our culture do not know what love is. And this not knowing feels like a terrible secret, a lack that we have to cover up. - b h

Thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way anyone using the word in this manner assumes accountability and responsibility.- b h

When we are loving we openly and honestly express care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment and trust. - b h

The huge majority of children in the US live lives of lovelessness, acc. to Lucia Hodgson, Raised in Captivity: Why Does America Fail Its Children? Their parents do not know how to love; the children are neglected, taught loving has to do with getting things or approval, or are physically or emotionally abused.

bell hooks, all about love:
Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation are the foundation of love.
When we love children we acknowledge by our every action that they are not property, that they have rights, that we respect and uphold their rights.

Without justice there can be no love.

....speaking our truth, sharing our inner struggles, and revealing our raw edges -- is sacred activity, which allows two souls to meet and touch more deeply. -- John Welwood, Love and Awakening.

bell hooks, all about love:
There is more and more lying in our culture every day. Much of the lying ... is done either to avoid conflict or to spare someone's feelings.

Trust is the foundation of intimacy. When lies erode trust, genuine connection cannot take place.

In our culture, privacy is often confused with secrecy. Open, honest, truth telling individuals value privacy.... Keeping secrets is usually about power, about hiding and concealing information... privacy strengthens bonds, secrecy weakens and damages connections.

Widespread cultural acceptance of lying is a primary reason many of us will never know love.

To know love we have to tell the truth to ourselves and others.

One of the best guides to how to be self loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others.

Living life in touch with divine spirit lets us see the light of love in all living beings.
As opposed to much new age thinking, commitment to a spiritual life requires conscious practice, a willingness to unite the way we think with the way we act... It means we embrace the eternal principle that love is all, everything, our true destiny. Spirituality and spiritual life give us the strength to love.

For many of us, church was the place where we first heard a counternarrative of love, one that differed from the confused messages about love learned in dysfunctional families. 1st Corinthians.

Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness:
Buddha described spiritual practice as "the liberation of the heart, which is love".

bell hooks, all about love:
All awakening to love is spiritual awakening.

Awakening to love can happen only as we let go of our obsession with power and domination.
As opposed to much new age thinking, commitment to a spiritual life requires conscious practice, a willingness to unite the way we think with the way we act... It means we embrace the eternal principle that love is all, everything, our true destiny. Spirituality and spiritual life give us the strength to love.

For many of us, church was the place where we first heard a counternarrative of love, one that differed from the confused messages about love learned in dysfunctional families. 1st Corinthians.

The choice of love is a choice to connect - to find ourselves in the other.

Embracing a love ethic means that we utilize all the dimensions of love - "care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect, knowledge" - in our everyday lives. We can successfully do this only by cultivating awareness.

Isolation and loneliness are central causes of depression and despair. Yet they are the outcome of life in a culture where things matter more than people.

...we are encouraged to treat partners as though they were objects to we can pick up, use, and then discard and dispose of at will, with the one criteria being whether or not individualistic desires are satisfied.

The nuclear family is not the optimum, is aberrant to our time, and encourages dysfuntionality. Children have historically been raised in a community.
(this strikes me as seminal.  bk)

Susan Miller, Never Let You Down:

...love is what made you feel good. Love was not what made you feel bad, hate yourself. It was what comforted you, freed you up inside, made you laugh.

bell hooks, all about love:
...friendship is the place in which a great majority of us have our first glimpse of redemptive love and caring community.

The more genuine our romantic loves the more we do not feel called upon to weaken or sever ties with friends in order to strengthen ties with romantic partners.

Def.: When we see love as the will to nurture one's own or another's spiritual growth, revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love in our life is the same. There is no special love reserved for romantic partners.... values that inform our behavior, when rooted in a love ethic, are always the same for any interaction.

Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.

... love will not prevail in any situation where one party, either female or male, wants to maintain control.... When someone has not known love it is difficult for him to trust that mutual satisfaction and growth can be the primary foundation in a coupling relationship.
To practice the art of loving we have first to choose love - admit to ourselves that we want to know love and be loving even if we do not know what that means.
Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love.... the next step on love's path is communication. ...philosopher Paul Tillich's insistence that the first responsibility of love is to listen... "to each other... to ourselves... and to God."

... the partner who is hurting often finds that their mate is unwilling to "hear the pain".
We fail at romantic love when we have not learned the art of loving. It's as simple as that.

John Welwood, Love and Awakening:

Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship - "A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other's individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on a deeper level. This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials. While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension - seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence."

When true love happens, individuals usually feel in touch with each other's core identity. Embarking on such a relationship is frightening precisely because we feel there is no place to hide. We are known.

Eric Butterworth: True love accepts the person who now is without qualifications, but with a sincere and unwavering commitment to help him to achieve his goals of self-unfoldment - which we mat see better than he does.

bell hooks: This commitment to change is chosen. It happens by mutual agreement. True love is unconditional, but to truly flourish it requires an ongoing commitment to constructive struggle and change.

Welwood: "Two beings who have a soul connection want to engage in a full, free ranging dialogue and commune with each other as deeply as possible."

Since true love sheds light on those aspects of ourselves we may wish to deny or hide... it is not surprising that so many individuals who say they want to know love turn away when such love beckons.

When one knows a true love, the transformative force of that love lasts even when we no longer have the company of the person with whom we experienced profound mutual care and growth.

Thomas Merton: "We discover our true selves in love."

Maya Angelou: "it is never lonesome in Babylon" - fear of facing true love may lead some to remain in situations of lack and unfulfillment. There they are not alone, they are not at risk.
Love within the context of romantic bonding offers us the unique chance to be transformed in a welcoming celebratory atmosphere... we can recognize that moment of mysterious connection between our soul and that of another person as love's attempt to call us back to our true selves. Intensely connecting to another soul, we are made bold and courageous. Using that fearless will to bond and connect as a catalyst for choosing and committing ourselves to love, we are able to love truly and deeply, to give and receive a love that lasts, a love that is "stronger than death".

Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love:

You have to trust that every friendship has no end, that a communion of saints exists among all those, living and dead, who have truly loved God and one another. You know from experience how real this is. Those you have loved deeply and who have died live on in you, not just as memories but as real presences.

Love makes us feel more alive. Living in a state of lovelessness we feel we might as well be dead; everything within us is silent and still. We are unmoved. "Soul murder" is the term psychoanalysts use to describe this state of living death. It echoes the biblical declaration that "anyone who does not know love is still in death".

bell hooks: To live fully we would need to let go of our fear of dying. That fear can only be addressed by the love of living.... Love empowers us to live fully and die well. Death becomes, then, not an end to life but a part of living.... It takes courage to befriend death. We find that courage in life through loving.

...grief is often overshadowed by regret... I try daily to leave folks as though we might never be meeting again. This practice makes us change how we talk and interact .It is a way to live consciously.

Understanding that death is always with us can serve as the faithful reminder that the time to do what we feel called to do is always now...

Thich Nhat Hanh, Our Appointment with Life: "To return to the present is to be in contact with life. Life can only be found in the present moment, because 'the past no longer is' and 'the future is yet to come'... Our appointment with life is in the present moment... right here, in this place."

bell hooks: Death is always there to remind us that our plans are transitory. By learning to love, we learn to accept change. Without change we cannot grow.
Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation.

Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh, "The Raft is Not the Shore":

"the bridge of illusion must be destroyed before a real bridge can be constructed" - we must recognize and confront the circumstances of our spiritual forgetfulness to assume responsibility.... forgiveness and recognition enable us to release all the baggage we carry that serves as a barrier to healing. Compassion opens the way for individuals to feel empathy for others without judgment. Judging others increases our alienation. When we judge we are less able to forgive.... When we practice forgiveness, we let go of shame.

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island:

"...The best way to love ourselves is to love others, yet we cannot love others unless we love ourselves.... But if we love ourselves in the wrong way, we become incapable of loving anybody else. And indeed, when we love ourselves wrongly we hate ourselves; if we hate ourselves we cannot help hating others."

"...We cannot love ourselves unless we love others, and we cannot love others unless we love ourselves. But a selfish love of ourselves makes us incapable of loving others. The difficulty of this commandment lies in the paradox that it would have us love ourselves unselfishly, because even our love of ourselves is something we owe to others."

"Only when we see ourselves in our true human context, as members of a race which is intended to be one organism and "one body," will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents of our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from the failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another's achievement. Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my own achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time."


"A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy."

"Hence the paradox that unselfish love cannot rest perfectly except in a love that is perfectly reciprocated: because it knows that the only true peace is found in selfless love. Selfless love consents to be loved selflessly for the sale of the beloved. In so doing, it perfects itself.

"The gift of love is the gift of the power and the capacity to love, and, therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.

"Love not only prefers the good of another to my own, but it does not even compare the two. It has only one good, that of the beloved, which is, at the same time, my own. Love shares the good with another by not dividing it with him, but by identifying itself with him so that his good becomes my own. The same good is enjoyed in its wholeness by two in one spirit, not halved and shared by two souls.

"To love another is to will what is really good for him. Such love must be based on truth. A love that sees no distinction between good and evil, but loves blindly merely for the sake of loving, is hatred, rather than love. To love blindly is to love selfishly, because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved but only the exercise of love in our own souls.

"To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.

"...There is something in the very nature of my freedom that inclines me to love, to do good, to dedicate myself to others. I have an instinct that tells me that I am less free when I am living for myself alone.

"We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us - whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.

"Happiness consists in finding out precisely what the "one thing necessary" may be, in our lives, and gladly relinquishing all the rest. For then, by a divine paradox, we find that everything else is given to us together with the one thing we needed."

"If I love my brother with a perfect love, I will want him to be free from every love but the love of God. Of all loves, charity alone is not possessive, because charity alone does not desire to be possessed. Charity seeks the greatest good of the one loved: and there is no greater good than charity."

"We tend to identify ourselves with those we love. We try to enter into their own souls and become what they are, thinking as they think, feeling as they feel, and experiencing what they experience.
But there is no true intimacy between souls who do not know how to respect one another's solitude. I cannot be united in love with a person whose very personality my love tends to obscure, to absorb, and to destroy. Nor can I awaken true love in a person who is invited, by my love, to be drowned in the act of drowning me with love."

"Do not ask me to love my brother merely in the name of an abstraction - "society", the "human race", the "common good". Do not tell me that I ought to love him because we are both "social animals". These things are so much less that the good that is in us that they are not worthy to be invoked as motives of human love. You might as well ask me to love my mother because she speaks English.

"We need abstractions, perhaps, in order to understand our relations with one another. But I may understand the principles of ethics and still hate other men. If I do not love other men, I will never discover the meaning of the 'common good'. Love is, itself, the common good."

"...the secret of sincerity is, therefore, not to sought in a philosophical love for abstract truth but in a love for real people and real things - a love for God apprehended in the reality around us.
It is difficult to express in words how important this notion is. The whole problem of our time is not lack of knowledge but lack of love. If men only loved one another they would have no difficulty in trusting one another and in sharing the truth with one another. If we all had charity we would easily find God."

"If men do not love, it is because they have learned in their earliest childhood that they themselves are not loved, and the duplicity and cynicism of our time belongs to a generation that has been conscious, since its cradle, that it was not wanted by its parents."

"Our ability to be sincere with ourselves, with God, and with other men is really proportionate to our capacity for sincere love. And the sincerity of our love depends in large measure upon our capacity to believe ourselves loved. Most of the moral and mental and even religious complexities of our time go back to our desperate fear that we are not and can never be really loved by anyone."

"Do not stress too much the fact that love seeks to penetrate the intimate secrets of the beloved. Those who are too fond of this idea fall short of true love, because they violate the solitude of those they love, instead of respecting it.

"True love penetrates the secrets and the solitude of the beloved by allowing him to keep his secrets to himself and to remain in his solitude."

"Secrecy and solitude are values that belong to the very essence of personality.
A person is a person insofar as he has a secret and is a solitude of his own that cannot be communicated to anyone else. If I love a person, I will love that which most makes him a person: the secrecy, the hiddenness, the solitude of his own individual being, which God alone can penetrate and understand."

"A love which breaks into the spiritual privacy of another in order to lay open all his secrets and besiege his solitude with importunity does not love him: it seeks to destroy what is best in him, and what is most intimately his."

"It is at once our loneliness and our dignity to have an incommunicable personality that is ours, ours alone and no one else's, and will be so forever."

"A community which seeks to invade or destroy the spiritual solitude of the individuals who compose it is condemning itself to death by spiritual asphyxiation."

Loaves and Fishes

This is not the age of information.
This is not
the age of information.
Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.
This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.
People are hungry,
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.

David Whyte from The House of Belonging

What to Remember When Waking

...What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.
What you can live
will make plans
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.
To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.
To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.
You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
than the one
from which
you have just emerged...

David Whyte from The House of Belonging

The Winter of Listening

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.
What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,
what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.
What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.
Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born...

David Whyte from The House of Belonging

Mahatma Gandhi:

"You must be the change you want to see in the world."


Thus it is that there are few men in the world who love and at the same time know the bad qualities of the object of their love, or who hate and yet know the excellences of the object of their hatred.

The Master said, "It is only the truly virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others."

The Master said, "They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it."

Tsze-kung asked, saying, "Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The Master said, "Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."

The Master said, "A man can enlarge the
principles which he follows; those principles do not enlarge the man."

J. Glen Gray, The Warriors:

Re: W.W.II Army paratroop company members training for D Day, then fighting through Europe.

"The three of us... became an entity. There were many entities in our close knit organizations. Groups of threes and fours, usually from the same squads or sections, core elements within the families that were the small units, were readily recognized as entities.... This sharing... evolved never to be relinquished, never to be repeated. Often three such entities would make up a squad, with incredible results in combat. They would literally insist on going hungry for one another, freezing for one another, dying for one another.... Such a [unit] was a mystical concoction.

"Organization for a common and concrete goal in peacetime organizations does not evoke anything like the degree of comradeship commonly known in war.... At its height, this sense of comradeship is an ecstasy.... Men are true comrades only when each is ready to give up his life for the other, without reflection and without thought of personal loss.

"Most of what they learned in the training proved to be valuable in combat, but it was that intimacy, that total trust, that comradeship that developed on those long, cold, wet English nights [during realistic as possible combat training] that proved to be invaluable.

"They knew and trusted each other.... they had made the best friends they had ever had, or would ever have. They were prepared to die for each other; more important, they were prepared to kill for each other.

"We fought as a team without standout stars.... We were like a machine. We didn't have anyone who leaped up and charged a machine gun. We knocked it out or made it withdraw by maneuver and teamwork. We were smart; there weren't many flashy heroics. We had learned that heroics was the way to get killed without getting the job done, and getting the job done was more important."

"It was the high morale of the E Company men, the quickness and audacity of the frontal attack, and the fire into their positions from several different directions that demoralized the German forces and convinced them that they were being hit by a much larger force."

Steven Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Until we take how we see ourselves (and how we see others) into account, we will be unable to understand how others see and feel about themselves and their world. Unaware, we will project our intentions on their behavior and call ourselves objective.

Norman Vincent Peale - Positive Thinking Every Day

One of the greatest moments in anybody's developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself but determines to get acquainted with himself as he really is.

Marsha Sinetar: To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love: The Spiritual Dimension of Entrepreneuring:

I so love the Spanish proverb "God says, 'Choose what you will and pay for it,'" which stresses that life holds no easy answers, that conscious choices are often costly ones. We must live with and pay for their consequences. Understanding this, we learn what it means to be fully human. Furthermore, we can exploit every delay as a cycle of growth.

Stephen Hawking

One is always a long way from solving a problem until one actually has the answer.

Success Quote of the Week (Global health & Fitness web site)

"When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly." - Barbara J. Winter