Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Sunday, September 1, 2019

What happens to our ego when we die?

Human beings are, we are taught, the only animal species that knows it is going to die. We live in fear of death most of our lives. This fear is rich territory for religion to take over by providing people comfort and eliciting their allegiance to their creeds and financial support oftheir institutions.

As Paul Pearsall suggests, if we want to understand a person, know what ultimately makes them tick and motivates them, we need to understand what their understanding is of what happens to them when they die.

My answer is “nothing”. We go back to where we came from, nothingness. I see no evidence that there is any human consciousness after physical death. If there were human consciousness after death, I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams how that could be or what it would look like.
What we have is now, is this life, and the memories we will leave behind for a short time in the consciousnesses of those who survive us.

Part of growing old gracefully is the acceptance of this nothingness and the giving up of childish fantasies. Childish fantasies may give comfort and hope and calm our fears. This is perfectly OK, if people need this, but it is childish and not the sign of a mature soul.

We are all a part of the universe of the interdependent web of life and the manifestation of energy that we call me is released back into the power grid and gets used for some other purpose that we have no idea of. As my teachers told me in seminary when I was an adolescent, “David, it is a mystery.” It is a mystery, indeed, and one to which we must eventually submit ourselves.

We can go out terrified, kicking and screaming, believing in fantasies, or accepting gratefully the lives we have had, and the re-integration back into the cosmic mystery.

The Universalists believe that we are not bodies but we are Love and as the Beatles sang, "Love is all there is."

I'd love to hear and sing this song about love in church. It's my kind of church music.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Looking for Love in all the wrong places

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Where should we search? Where does that search take us? The mystics suggest that we look within, within ourselves and within others. Unfortunately, we waste a lot of time and effort looking for truth and meaning in all the wrong places. We are, after all, on a spiritual quest not a worldly one. The pearls and diamonds of great worth will be found on the path of the spirit not on the path of the ego.

There are times when we are quiet and still that we sense there is something more deep in us and in other people.That something more is the glimmer of the divine. We want it desperately and we search for it usually in all the wrong places.

Johnny Lee's great song "Looking for love in all the wrong places" sums up the problem succinctly in an entertaining way.

That "something more" is not to found on the path of the ego. It is not external to us where all we find is counterfeit. What we find is "fool's gold." What we find may be temporarily pleasurable but then becomes boring once we are satiated. We come to realize that pleasure is not the same thing as joy and while joy is better, joy is not the same thing as bliss and bliss is what we seek and is to be found in the union with the Beloved.

A Course In Miracles teaches that bliss is to be found in the miracle and the miracle is simply a choice to perceive at the level of spirit rather than ego. The level of spirit is Love. We simply ask "What would Love have me do?" "What would Love have me see?" "What is the Loving thing deep in myself and in my brothers and sisters?"

As the Beatles say, "Love is all you need." However, we have to be on the path of spirit to see it within which means we have to turn back from looking for love in all the wrong places.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Love is not something you do; it is your state of being.

It seems paradoxical to become aware that we fear love. We are afraid of getting too close and getting hurt again. We are afraid of having our heart broken again and so we keep our distance or we become possessive and jealous and at times we even hate the ones or the things which we perceive as abandoning us or rejecting us or attacking us in some way.

It is poetic to say, "Love hurts," but that is not true if we understand what Love is. It would be more precise to say, "Ego hurts." because what we call "love" is not real Love.

Osho says, "Very few people in the world are loving, that's why there is so much misery. Everybody wants to be loving, everybody wants to be loved, but nobody learns the art of loving. It is a great art. You are born only with the potential, but potential has to be transformed into the actual. It has to be made into a reality and the first requirement is becoming more alert."

Most people don't know what love is. It is easier to say what love is not. Love is not jealous. Love is not possessive and controlling. Love is not manipulative to get one's needs met. Love is not attachment and clinging to reduce one's insecurities and fears. Love is not caring for so one can feel superior.

Love is unconditional and a sharing of one's well being and peace. Love is generous and forgiving and nurturing. Love desires the well being of the other as if the other were part of oneself. Love is kind, benevolent, and whole hearted. Love really has no definition because it is beyond definition. It's opposite is not hate but fear. Love is joining with the whole and as such love is a holy thing, a holy experience which brings peace, joy, and bliss.

Further, love is not special and not exclusive. The art of being loving is a state of being not an attitude towards a special object. We don't do love. It is not a thought, or a feeling, or a behavior. Love is a state of being. And as Stephen Gaskin said one time, the only thing, in the last analysis, we really have to offer another human being, is our own state of being.

Osho teaches that in order to become a loving being and not asleep in the ego we have to be alert. As was written on the men's room wall over the urinal, "Be a lert. The world needs more lerts."

Monday, December 18, 2017

Love is all there is. Right?

There are a couple of things very unique about Unitarian Univeralism. The first is the idea that there is only one Love. The second is that that Love is universal and unconditional. UUs like most people don't really believe these two things, the founding ideas of their faith. Like everyone else, UUs like to argue that there are different kinds of Love, and that Unconditional Love is discriminating.

Can you forgive someone a little bit? Can you forgive someone for this but not that? Can you really forgive but not forget? Forgiveness which is compromised is not forgiveness at all for it hides deep resentment and fears.

With forgiveness it is all or nothing. This is a difficult teaching, too much for most people. Only the very spiritually mature can forgive wholeheartedly and mean it.

With forgiveness there is no half-assed way to do it genuinely. Either we move on in Love and peace or we are held back by fears and resentments.

Fears are the crux of the problem with forgiveness. We find it difficult to eliminate them because we are pre-occupied with bodies and not with souls. Our bodies can be hurt for sure, but never our souls without our acquiescence and permission.

Deep down we are invincible and there is nothing to fear. We are loved by the Force of the Universe unconditionally. When we realize this, nothing can ever hurt us again. Fears are eliminated by Love. In the last analysis, Love is all there is.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The third principle applies to our family relationships not just to our congregations

The third principle of Unitarian Univeralism asks that we covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations. This is a very challenging principle in our congregations especially when it is often so difficult in our own families and relationships.

Why am I so unhappy in my love life? My wife and I have been married 14 years and we have two kids. I don't think I love her any more but if I leave her she will be devastated and I'm worried about how all this would affect the kids. I have grown increasingly depressed. I find myself drinking more and looking at other women in a lustful way which I know is wrong. What should I do?

This is a very common situation and we live in a society which tends to psychologize these situations instead of seeing them as opportunities for spiritual growth.

Most people don't know what love is. They describe it as a feeling of euphoria which often is transient because the infatuation, the honeymoon, can't last forever. The failure to understand love at a deeper level leaves them confused and depressed.

As has been described earlier, at a broad level, there is two kinds of love:conditional and unconditional. On the ego plane, we believe in conditional love, "I'll love you if...." People think they need to earn love, or merit it. This kind of conditional love is not really love because what we deeply crave is unconditional love which is , "The worst about me is known and I am loved any way."

Our society believes in a God who loves His creatures conditionally. The bible is full of such stories of a judgmental God who exercises His wrath at sinful humans and yet Jesus, in the New Testament, presents us with a different God like the story of the prodigal son and the adulterous woman who loves us unconditionally.

Two definitions of love that are best are : to know the worst about someone and love them anyway. It's rare but sometimes we run across it most often between a parent and a child. The second definition is to care as much about a partner's growth and development as you do about your own, and to expend the effort to nurture, encourage, facilitate that growth and development.

Most problems in our human relationships are based on fear. We are terrified of being hurt, disappointed, betrayed, rejected, abandoned, attacked and so we think and behave in ways to defend ourselves and attack what we believe are the signs of that of which we are afraid. If we are aware enough, we recognize that the very things we think we see in the other that engender our fears is present in ourselves. This self recrimination and self loathing then gets projected onto the other with a vengeance.

It is not only important, but essential, for a person to be loving for the person to know that he/she is loved unconditionally by his/her maker, the universe, life. As Jesus tells us repeatedly, God not only loves us but loves us abundantly. When we know this, we can share that love generously with others. If we don't know that, then, yes, we can feel out of love because we have put ourselves there.

If we feel "out of love" it is important to find ways to take better care of ourselves so that we can feel more satisfied and fulfilled in our lives. With that satisfaction and fulfillment comes a generosity that engenders the ability to create unconditional love in our relationships.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Two types of love: conditional and unconditional. Which do you aspire to?

In Unitarian Universalism the first principle is to covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person not just some persons. We are caught up in a hell on earth where we are taught to  love people conditionally and not unconditionally. This idea that people should be loved conditionally is antithetical to our UU faith.

I thought my wife would make me happy, but after five years, I find myself seeking other women. I have been taught in my religious upbringing that this is wrong, but I can't help myself. My psychotherapist tells me this normal, all men do this, it is not unusual to become bored or disenchanted with a relationship when the honeymoon, inevitably, comes to an end. So what can I do? My wife is a good person and I don't want to hurt her, but I don't think I love her anymore.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "To believe that special relationships, with special love, can offer you salvation is the belief that separation is salvation." T-15.V.3:3 It is not the job or purpose of a relationship with another person that that person make you happy. That person is having a hard enough time making herself happy, let alone taking on the burden of making you happy. Each person must ultimately take the responsibility for his/her own happiness not put the responsibility for that on somebody else. This idea that someone else will make you happy, is suppose to make you happy, is the path to hell.

The spiritual answer to the dilemma is that we are suppose to love everybody unconditionally.  The definition of the At-one-ment is when everybody loves everybody all the time. That is heaven. Anything less is hell. Unfortunately, most of us operate on the level of conditional love. I'll love you if.......

It is a challenging thing to love someone unconditionally and yet it happens, it can happen, when we ask the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Live, our Higher Power for help. In that holy instant when unconditional love occurs we have created heaven on earth and experience bliss.

Focus on your own growth and happiness and forget this idea that someone else will make everything okay for you. This is looking for love in all the wrong places and true love is not to be found in special relationships. Special relationships are part of the curriculum of life to help us learn about love, what it really is, and your disenchantment with the relationship with your wife is a golden opportunity for you to look inward and rise above your own desires for ego gratifications. The spiritual rewards of this path will far outweigh the temporary high of a new infatuation.

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