Being before complete love
We have no fear
For to love completely
Is to know we are completely loved
And we will turn
And find only...
We have no fear
For to love completely
Is to know you are completely loved
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
“Sometimes people are good And they do just what they should. But the very same people who are good sometimes Are the very same people who are bad sometimes. It’s funny, but it’s true. It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…
Sometimes people get wet. And their parents get upset. But the very same people who get wet sometimes Are the very same people who are dry sometimes. It’s funny, but it’s true. It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…
Sometimes people make noise And they break another’s toys. But the very same people who are noisy sometimes Are the very same people who are quiet sometimes. It’s funny, but it’s true. It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…
Sometimes people are good And they do just what they should. But the very same people who are good sometimes Are the very same people who are bad sometimes. It’s funny, but it’s true. It’s the same, isn’t it for me… Isn’t it the same for you?”
The loving, gentle, true, and beautiful, perspective Fred Rogers shares in this song couldn’t be simpler, but it’s been so easily missed or forgotten by me . I find it is a perspective that encourages kindness, mercy and loyal love towards others and myself.
“Paradise” he said, “is hidden in each one of us, it is concealed within me, too, right now, and if I wish, it will come for me in reality, tomorrow even, and for the rest of my life. ”
I looked at him: he was speaking with tenderness and looking at me mysteriously, as if questioning me.
“And”, he went on, “as for each man being guilty before all and for all, besides his own sins, your reasoning about this is quite correct, and it is surprising that you could suddenly embrace it so fully. And indeed it is true that when people understand this thought, the Kingdom of Heaven will come to them, no longer in a dream but in reality.”
“But when will this come true?” I exclaimed to him ruefully. “And will it ever come true? Is it not just a dream?”
“Ah” he said, “now you do not believe it, you preach it and do not believe it yourself. Know, then, that this dream, as you call it, will undoubtedly come true, believe it, though not now, for every action had its law. This is a matter of the soul, a psychological matter. In order to make the world over anew, people themselves must turn onto a different path psychically. Until one has indeed become the brother of all, there will be no brotherhood.No science or self-interest will ever enable people to share their property and their rights among themselves without offense. Each will always think his share too small, and they will keep murmuring, they will envy and destroy one another. You ask when it will come true. It will come true, but first the period of human isolation must conclude.”
“What isolation?” I asked him.
“That which is now reigning everywhere, especially in our age, but it is not all concluded yet, its term has not come. For everyone now strives most of all to separate his person, wishing to experience the fullness of life within himself, and yet what comes of all his efforts is not the fullness of life but full suicide, for instead of the fullness of self-definition, they fall into complete isolation. For all men in our age are separated into units, each seeks seclusion in his own hole, each withdraws from the others, hides himself, and hides what he has, and ends by pushing himself away from people and pushing people way from himself. He accumulates wealth in solitude, thinking : how strong, how secure I am now; and does not see, madman that he is, that the more he accumulates, the more he sinks into suicidal impotence. For he is accustomed to relying only on himself, he has separated his unit from the whole, he has accustomed his soul to not believing in people’s help, in people or in mankind, and now only trembles lest his money and his acquired privileges perish. Everywhere now the human mind has begun laughably not to understand that a man’s true security lies not in his own solitary effort, but in the general wholeness of humanity. But there must needs come a term to this horrible isolation, and everyone will all at once realize how unnaturally they have separated themselves one from another. Such will be the spirit of the time, and they will be astonished that they sat in darkness for so long, and did not see the light. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens…But until then we must keep hold of the banner, and every once in a while, if only individually, a man must suddenly set an example, and draw the soul from its isolation for an act of brotherly communion, though it be with the rank of holy fool. So that the great thought does not die…”
“Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time. I occupy myself with this mystery, because I want to be a man.”
“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort”
“Why do you run scattershot
begging for answers
when you are the essence
of all meaning?”
“A human being is a spatially and temporally limited piece of the whole, what we call the “Universe”. He experiences himself and his feelings as separate from the rest, an optical illusion of his consciousness. The quest for liberation from this bondage is the only object of true religion. Not nurturing the illusion but only overcoming it gives us the attainable measure of inner peace.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“The Little Prince”, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond”
“We are never confronted with a task that denies us our free will.”
“In every one of us this morning, there’s a war going on. It’s a civil war. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you live, there is a civil war going on in your life. And every time you set out to be good, there’s something pulling on you, telling you to be evil. It’s going on in your life. Every time you set out to love, something keeps pulling on you, trying to get you to hate. Every time you set out to be kind and say nice things about people, something is pulling on you to be jealous and envious and to spread evil gossip about them. There’s a civil war going on. There is a schizophrenia, as the psychologists or the psychiatrists would call it, going on within all of us. And there are times that all of us know somehow that there is a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jekyll in us. And we end up having to cry out with Ovid, the Latin poet, “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.” We end up having to agree with Plato that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions. Or sometimes we even have to end up crying out with Saint Augustine as he said in his Confessions, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.” We end up crying out with the Apostle Paul, “The good that I would I do not: And the evil that I would not, that I do.” Or we end up having to say with Goethe that “there’s enough stuff in me to make both a gentleman and a rogue.” There’s a tension at the heart of human nature. And whenever we set out to dream our dreams and to build our temples, we must be honest enough to recognize it.”
“Unfulfilled Dreams” Sermon, Martin Luther King Jr.
” The human shape is a ghost
made of distraction and pain.
Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel,
trying wildly to open,
this image tightly held within itself”
“Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know they are loved and capable of loving.”
“We are all so much alike… and yet we’re all so different! I find myself rejoicing at the endless variety of human beings, and that’s partly, I know, because your differences from one another tell me that it’s all right for me to be different in many ways, too.”
Share in the comments any quotes about being human that speak to you. I’d love to read them.
Who wronged me
Never harmed me
No one to forgive
Whom I've wronged
Brought myself harm
Never to forget
“Genius of the Ancient World” Socrates Episode.
“Socrates (at his trail): I have something more to say, at which you may be inclined to cry out; but I believe that to hear me will be good for you, and therefore I beg that you will not cry out. I would have you know, that if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me.”
-The Apology by Plato
“SOCRATES: “That may very well be, inasmuch as doing injustice is the greatest of evils.
POLUS: But is it the greatest? Is not suffering injustice a greater evil?
SOCRATES: Certainly not.
POLUS: Then would you rather suffer than do injustice?
SOCRATES: I should not like either, but if I must choose between them, I would rather suffer than do.”
-Gorgias by Plato
“My brother ought not to have treated me thus.” True: but he must see to that. However he may treat me, I must deal rightly by him. This is what lies with me, what none can hinder.”
I discovered this cover of Fred Rogers’ It’s You I Like while making a playlist for a loved one. I was searching for a song which expressed how I feel towards them. And this song captured that to me in a deep way. In a vulnerable way. It expresses something my heart knows and feels, but I struggle to express and live in life. Expressing this feeling to someone else is important to me, and true to me, but very difficult for me (even if simply doing it through someone else’s song like this). It is an emotion that is hard for me to grasp and express at all. And I suspect, in real life situations, hard for me to grasp and accept from another when expressed towards me. But that is the magic of this song, it reaches me. It brings tears to my eyes. I accept it, I feel it for a moment. And I remember that moment.
When I reflect on my experience of this song it is complex. Is the song being sung to me? Or am I the one singing the song? Is the song a parent singing to their child? Or a child singing to their parent? I hear it as first being sung to me, but somehow it has a magic that frees me to be more fully myself for a moment, and what I find is I am somehow the voice who was singing the song in the first place. Singing that song to myself, everyone else, and everything. Somehow I have lost and forgotten part of who I am.
My heart finds so much comfort and peace in the unconditional love expressed in this song. And I believe through hearing it, my heart builds up a sense of trust and safety. Which allows my heart to feel increasingly empowered and free to sing it.
“The truth is inside of us, and it’s wonderful when we have the courage to tell it.
Singing: What if I were very, very sad And all I did was smile? I wonder after a while What might become of my sadness? What if I were very, very angry, And all I did was sit And never think about it? What might become of my anger? Where would they go, and what would they do If I couldn’t let them out? Maybe I’d fall, maybe get sick Or doubt. But what if I could know the truth And say just how I feel? I think I’d learn a lot that’s real About freedom. I’m learning to sing a sad song when I’m sad. I’m learning to say I’m angry when I’m very mad. I’m learning to shout, I’m getting it out, I’m happy, learning Exactly how I feel inside of me I’m learning to know the truth I’m learning to tell the truth Discovering truth will make me free.
Are you discovering the truth about you? Well I’m still discovering the truth about me. That’s what we do as we keep on growing in life.”
Fred Rogers television show Mister Rogers Neighborhood was intended for children. And he spoke so beautifully to the child’s heart, he was often able to awaken the inner child that still lives within adults. His gentle, compassionate, and understanding presence along with his wisdom has been/is incredibly inspiring and comforting to me in this journey.
This past week was difficult. It felt as if another floor had fallen out from under me, and many painful feelings arose. I am coming to understand this falling into difficult emotions is part of the process of healing/returning back to my true self. But still the emotions, though freeing me and healing me, are painful. Exactly what floor fell out from under me this week? I’m not sure. But these were some of the thoughts and feelings I observed within me this week.
A realization that what I believe saved me/woke me up to live life (which was my love for my children and more generally other people) does not seem to have saved my mother. And not only did it not save her in my childhood, but to this day I feel shut off from her. I feel deeply unwanted for who I am. Something about this relationship pulls me away from the present, pulls me away from my husband and children. I do not want this to happen anymore, I want to live.
As I reflected on this all, this numbed out but I suspect deep hurt I carry around my mother, a metaphor came to my mind. I imagined a heaven, a life after this one where we are all healed. All living our dreams. I saw my father there, my brother, it brought tears to my eyes. The togetherness, the joy.
But I realized I do not see her there. Why not? My heart seems to believe she does not want to be there with us. If I try to include her in this heaven with us the closest I can bring her is to the other side of our heaven’s gate. She stands behind the gate yelling over to us how she “can’t join us”, but the gate door to our side is large and wide open. I try to get her to see the gate is wide open, she needs only to walk in if she wants to join us. But she gets angry and dismissive of me. I am left feeling concerned for her, which morphs into anger within me, and also an uneasy feeling at her bizarre claims. I am confused, and afraid. Do my eyes deceive me? Heaven is ruined.
The World of My Dreams or The World of My Fears
The day after reflecting on this heaven metaphor and letting the hurt of feeling like my mother doesn’t want to be around the real me sink in, another thought arose. This was the realization that I suspect I have lived most of my life behind a haze of my own projections. I was not aware that what I was seeing, what felt so real, was being put there by me. I feel as if I sometimes now catch glimpses of the real world, the world with less projections, the world I assume I was born into and saw briefly as a child.
So what world have I been seeing most of my life? I suspect it was a version of the world I feared to be the case. But to me it looked like “the truth”/”reality”. I feel heartbroken to reflect I have played a part in helping bring more to life and perpetuate that world that is not the world from my dream but the world from my fears. I see how I have so often preemptively pushed others away because I feel they do not want to be around me, they do not care for me. When the truth is the person (my mother) who probably created this belief in me, does care, but fears me. But how many other people have feared me? Yet, it seems clear to me I have been so quick to fear others. It seems the distorted image of my mother (I was not even aware of) was the lens through which I saw and responded to many people. My heart fell into moments of hopelessness and pain as these realizations sunk in and were accepted this week.
I was left feeling like I do not understand anything anymore. So much regret and lack of faith in myself and my vision of reality. Many moments of hopelessness and a general sense of deep confusion. But in this disoriented and hopeless state, there was one thing I realized I remained confident in – and that was my dream. The image of my dream seems to keep me tied tight to this life, keeps me happily striving even through pain, regret, and uncertain odds. I will share what I dream of and what I am beginning to believe I will strive to bring about or maybe just recognize already exists and start to actually feel. I believe my peace rests in knowing that I have done what I can do for the creation of my dream. But it all becomes so complex because others are involved. What are their dreams? But I will share what I dream of.
“I Love You. I Would Rather Die Than To Hate You”
As I found and shared these images, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words came to my mind “I love you. I would rather die than to hate you”. It is a beautiful motto of life to me. To a life, far from easy, but a life approaching my truth. I am love. Where I step outside of love, I step outside of myself, a part of me dies/loses contact with living life. I want to live as whole, I want to live in harmony. I can try to live as my heart wants to live, I can live as if my dream is already true, and maybe in time I will start to feel it is and experience it.
What I am beginning to see is that I can not live in peace with these feelings of fear and resentment in me, they destroy even the hope of the dream I love. I have so often lived some warped and fearful motto of “I love you. BUT I would rather hate you than to die”. This fearful state told me I must flee others and push others away. It morphed the world before my eyes into the very world I fear, a world where I must be cut off from others and alone. A scary, unsafe world, empty of being lovable and loving. And it did all this in the name of “protecting me”.
No, this warped motto destroys my beautiful dream. I will not willingly play a part in harming this dream of unity and love with others any longer. I fear some people in my life look at my actions and words and feel I do not want the real them around me. But that is the opposite of my dream. There is another side to this too which is I fear others do not want the real me around them. There is a part of me that feels the truth is that I should be left alone to protect others from me. That my real self is a danger to everyone I love and my dream. I seem to fear myself. But I say “Look, look, at my dream. If it is not a dream you want, that is fine. But if you fear it, why? What is the danger in my dream?”
But there is a part of me I am trying to nurture. A peaceful, happy part of me. A hopeful part of me, seeking to harmonize. A dreamer. What that part of me cares about most, longs for, is the dream I shared in those images. If I can have faith, I believe I can be a part of creating/waking up to that beautiful dream. Without faith I have seen fear will reign in me, and I will likely play a part in continuing to create/wake up to the very world I fear.
These quotes are from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov written in 1880. I first read The Brothers Karamazov for a school assignment. I absolutely loved the book. Though I could not clearly see the book’s message, I knew I found it beautiful. It always remained close to my heart; and I believe it was a large part of the light which helped me start this journey back to myself. I will be forever grateful Dostoevsky helped spread and keep alive these beautiful ideas.
“Strive to love your neighbor actively and indefatigably. In as far as you advance in love you will grow surer of the reality of God and of the immortality of your soul. If you attain to perfect self-forgetfulness in the love of your neighbor, then you will believe without doubt, and no doubt can possibly enter your soul. This has been tried. This is certain.”
“Active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with the love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go as far as the giving even of one’s life, provided it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and persistence, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science.”
“I believe that you are sincere and good at heart. If you do not attain happiness, always remember that you are on the right road, and try not to leave it. Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood, especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness and look into it every hour, every minute. Avoid being scornful, both to others and to yourself. What seems to you bad within you will grow purer from the very fact of your observing it in yourself. Avoid fear, too, though fear is only the consequence of every sort of falsehood. Never be frightened at your own faint-heartedness in attaining love…..But I predict that just when you see with horror that in spite of all your efforts you are getting farther from your goal instead of nearer to it – at that very moment I predict that you will reach it and behold clearly the miraculous power of the Lord who has been all the time loving and mysteriously guiding you.”
“At some thoughts one stands perplexed – especially at the sight of men’s sin – and wonders whether one should use force or humble love. Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.”
“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”
“Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we won’t see it, if we would, we should have heaven on earth the next day”
“Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.”