Monday, August 05, 2013

Love is the only way
By Editor
Sun 21 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

FR Gabriel Nyoni of St Anne’s Cathedral Parish in Chipata says the law of love should be imprinted in people’s hearts.

Fr Nyoni also urges us not to be individualistic and think about ourselves only. We will never be civilised until that time comes, a time when one loves fellow human beings and forgets whatever differences of colour, tribe, creed and all other things that define human beings.

We do not believe in the law of hate. We may not be true to our ideals always, but we believe in the law of love, and we believe you can do nothing with hatred.

The law has made us equal but man has not. And, after all, the last analysis is: what has man done? – And not what has the law done.

The dominant force in our minds is compassion and human affection. And therefore, we call these human qualities spirituality. The words of love we are talking about today come from a Catholic priest, a religious man. But there is spirituality outside of religion. Without accepting a religion, but simply developing a realisation of the importance of love and compassion, and with more concern and respect for others, a kind of spiritual development is very possible for those persons who are outside of religion.

Purifying the mind is not easy. It takes a lot of time and hard work. You need tremendous willpower and determination right from the start, accepting that there will be obstacles, and resolving that despite them all you’ll continue until you have attained your goal.

Love need to be practiced. To do so in all situations will take time, but you should not lose courage. If you wish happiness for others, love is the only way.

If, despite external difficulties or problems, internally one’s attitude is of love, warmth and kindheartedness, then problems can be faced and accepted easily.

By developing a sense of respect for others and a concern for their welfare, we reduce our own selfishness, which is the source of all problems, and enhance our sense of kindness, which is a natural source of goodness.

Inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. One of the principal factors that hinder us from fully appreciating our inter-dependence is our undue emphasis on material development. We have become so engrossed in its pursuit that, unknowingly, we have neglected the most basic qualities of love, compassion, caring and cooperation.

There should be a balance between material and spiritual progress, a balance achieved through the principles based on love and compassion.
Whether we are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, whatever our nationality, colour, social status or outlook may be, the purpose of our lives is to be happy.

Mental peace cannot be injected by any doctor; no market can sell mental peace or happiness. Happiness comes from kindness. Happiness cannot come from hatred or anger. We are trying to get peace or happiness from outside, from money or power. But real peace, tranquility, should come from within. Unless our minds are stable and calm, no matter how comfortable our physical condition may be, they will give us no pleasure. Therefore, the key to a happy life, now and in the future, is to develop a happy mind. And the greatest delight of life is a feeling of being near and necessary to other people.

If an individual human being eventually becomes a nice, calm, peaceful person, then it automatically brings some kind of positive atmosphere, and you’ll have a happy family. Love is the centre of human life.
Love and compassion are the ultimate source of human happiness, and our need for them lies at the very core of our being. A good mind, a good heart, warm feelings – these are the most important things.

But real love is not based on attachments. The kind of love we advocate is the love you can have even for someone who has done harm to you. This kind of love is to be extended to all living beings, and it can be extended to all living beings, including those one considers to be his or her enemies. What’s more, Jesus tells us we must love our enemies – he doesn’t say we mustn’t have enemies - and there is no greater love for a wrongdoer, a criminal than to prevent him from doing wrong, committing crimes.

Love is hard. Compassion and love are precious things in life. They are not complicated. They are simple, but difficult to practice. If you have love and compassion toward all sentient beings, particularly toward your enemy, that is true love and compassion. The feeling of a mother for her child is a classic example of love. For the safety, protection and welfare of her children, a mother is ready to sacrifice her very life.

Human beings are social creatures, and a concern for each other is the very basis of our life together. Love consoles when one is helpless and distressed, and it consoles when one is old and lonely. It is a dynamic force that we should develop and use, but often tend to neglect, particularly in our prime years, when we experience a false sense of security. Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on others’ kindness, how can it be that in the middle we neglect kindness towards others?

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of wellbeing. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease and opens our inner door. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life.

Love and kindness are always appropriate. We all need love in this life. If we have love, there is hope to have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace.

The development of a kind heart, or feeling of closeness for all human beings, does not involve any kind of religiosity we normally associate with it. It is for everyone, irrespective of religion, race, tribe or any political affiliation.

There is need to put other first. Our doings and thinkings must be motivated by love and compassion for others. The way to acquire that kind of outlook is to accept a simple fact that whatever we desire is also desired by others. So it doesn’t make sense for one to steal public resources that are meant for the common good of society or to destroy the environment on which all are dependent in pursuit of personal profits. Therefore, genuine love and compassion must be acting on the basis of respect, and the realisation or recognition that others also, just like myself, have the right to be happy. Genuine love and compassion is unbiased, should be unbiased.

To experience genuine love and compassion is to develop a feeling of closeness to others combined with a sense of responsibility for their welfare. And true love and compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason.

We would therefore advise all those things which are necessary for human beings who live together – love, compassion, patience, tolerance and so on and so forth.

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