Every now and again I post a status message on Facebook that generates a comment storm. And every now and again, that comment storm generates ideas good enough for a blog post, as it did with The Tao of Love and Light: Riffing on physics and faith.
Yesterday morning I posted the following couplet as a status message.
Loving is what makes us stronger.
I’ll get into what motivated me to post that in a moment, but I’ll say now that I had some misgivings about pairing these two sentences. I knew they might need some explanation, but decided to let it ride, and gauge the response.
Sure enough, straight off the bat, mixed reviews. The first comment was very positive, and suggested the world was improved by maintaining this view of love. The second commenter pointed out that she felt stronger when she was loved by someone, and stronger as well as when she loved someone else.
I was already googling for other quotes about love by the time these comments were posted, and it didn’t take me long to come up with a clarification.
Maybe Lao Tse said something wiser:
while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Now, all this is just me riffing off a Dalai Lama quote a friend posted:
the more fearless and free your action will be.
Riffing…that’s what I like about comment storms. A bunch of people tossing in brief responses to succinct ideas. I get to muss around with the ideas and receive some quick feedback, post something else, get more feedback, muss around some more, and maybe arrive at an idea that’s half intelligent. It’s great, a mixture of brainstorming and collaboration.
This whole thing started because I read a Dalai Lama quote which my rumbling brain jumbled up and spat out as a status message. That causes a bunch of brains to rumble around, throw more ideas on the fire, and now we’re back to the Dalai Lama.
One wise friend then posted: It’s great to observe ourselves when we love another. I really love who I am when another is living in my heart.
I think that’s both beautiful and brilliant.
Another wrote, these words are food for the soul, and they absolutely are.
Reflecting on these comments, it occurred to me:
Then came a quick flurry by two dear friends,
The first wrote, loving also comes with risks, and that risk is you may not be loved in return ….ouch
But, to not take that risk means an empty life, methinks.
But the strength we get from loving helps us with that risk, responded the second.
To which the first replied, But sometimes loving drains all that strength from you, then you are reticent to risk again.
Oh. This really fired me up, because it went straight back to the original status msg. Being loved doesn’t (necessarily) make you stronger, and neither does loving. I spent some time mulling it over, writing stuff down, more mulling, more writing and eventually came up with the following.
When that is our state of love, being loved doesn’t make us stronger. Rather, it weakens us with a false sense of security. When the love is taken from us (such love is always ephemeral) we crumble.
It’s love without conditions that strengthens, gives courage.
There’s a subtle gentleness to the love in that lyric from the song Nature Boy, most beautifully and memorably performed by Nat King Cole (although the rendition posted above is very tasty!).
We talk about ‘seeking love,’ ‘finding love,’ ‘getting some love’. But Nature Boy knows what’s best, and also most rewarding, is just to love — to be loving — and to open yourself to being loved.
A simple lesson, yet, one of the hardest to learn. (I struggle with it all the time.) To master that lesson, first we must master an even harder one, to love ourselves with all the unconditional gentleness Nature Boy suggests.
I think that’s where strength and courage flow from.
Yeah. That felt pretty good, seemed to get at what was floating about in my mind when I originally posted the status message. What was really nice was to get the following affirmation via a good friend from waaaaay back in high school.
Bob and I are celebrating 26 years this Wednesday and all you just said is sooo true! Of course it took 26 years and three children for me to become enlightened to it and I’m still learning everyday! :)
Now, that’s a beautiful thing.
Oh, and congratulations!!! Way to go!
Thanks, all of you, for helping me out with that.
Now, back to that path.