I've been reading a lot about love lately. Not intentionally -- it's almost as though the Universe has placed in front of me as many books, video clips, articles, etc., as possible. I think God's trying to get my attention.
I spend most of my spiritual time thinking about peace. Peace in its many forms is near and dear to my heart. I care a lot about peaceful interactions with others (people and animals and Mother Earth). I hope for -- but find unlikely -- a more peaceful global political climate in my lifetime. I believe strongly in the power of inner peace to transform the self -- and in so doing to positively affect the world. I find it likely that I will spend most of my life thinking about and promoting peace (even if no one listens).
Where does love fit in to my stated mission of promoting peace? An awkward question. I don't think about love in its grandest universal sense often enough. We know from the major world religions that God is love...the Universe is love...Love forms the fabric of everything. In that sense it becomes something that we take for granted. Love is there, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Maybe that's why I'm so interested in peace. Inner peace (or lack thereof) is palpably felt. But isn't love? I'm not talking about romantic love, but rather the kind of universal oneness and connectedness that we feel when we're close to God...the Universe...and all that is.
I started reading a book recently called "The Choice for Love" by Barbara De Angelis. In the book De Angelis makes many profound points about love, but one of my favorites (so far) is about how love is -- and always has been -- inside all of us. We don't need someone or something to activate the love that we were born with. We can always consciously choose love in our interactions in life -- no matter what. De Angelis goes on to talk about how love can be felt...always. I highly recommend the book.
As far as peace and love go, I have always thought that inner peace is one of the hallmarks of a highly conscious person. And I've been guilty of thinking that love "just shows up" in our interactions. I think Marianne Williamson said it best in this lecture for the Institute of Noetic Sciences. As she Williamson asks, "What is consciousness without love?" As she continues to explain, anything -- including higher awareness -- that does not serve love serves fear. Love has to be the focus. As I reflect over her talk it gives me pause -- what is peace without love? Later in her speech, Williamson says that if we truly make love our focus, everything else (including -- I imagine -- inner peace) falls into place.