What love is all about

Love romanticThe dictionary has many four-letter words, but none as powerful as LOVE.  Love has the power to impress upon or influence almost all human beings.  Love manages to control both hearts and minds.

When in love, the most rational among us is known to do crazy things and often be told by our family and friends that we have completely lost our minds, but we are happily oblivious to these comments.  Our eyes are controlled when in love in such a way that we are blinded to not only how the one we love looks but to all the faults he/she may have.

What is obvious to most bystanders somehow misses our notice.  Our ears are controlled as well, for how else can you explain that we are selectively deaf to any criticism of the one we love ?

Let us compare love to some of the four-letter words we think may have a powerful effect on us :

HATE :  This is the exact opposite of love —— a feeling which makes us completely despise another and all we want is to destroy the one we hate.  Hate consumes us equally in our pursuit to destroy our enemy and brings depression if we fail to do so.  Love can either make you or destroy you.  Love is sacrifice and hate is revenge.

PAIN :  Love has this phenomenal capacity to both give and tolerate pain.  Love has this unique ability to give agony and ecstasy at the same time.

HURT :  It can be interpreted in two ways —– the physical component caused by injury and the emotional component caused by feelings.  It is only the ones we truly love who can hurt us the most.

SOUL :  Most religions teach us how the soul is the purest part of us, how it is released only after we die.  But, has even one of us ever seen life after death, or come back to tell the tale? If you want to see a true reflection of your soul, love someone selflessly, you shall get very close to seeing yourself in the eyes of the one you love.

HELP :  This gets the closest to love, you usually see gratitude in the eyes of the one you help.  And if you give without expectation, you shall have managed to control the heart and mind of the person you have helped for life. Unfortunately unlike love, it is unilateral in dimension and makes the giver more powerful than the receiver.

CASH :  Money can make a person feel very powerful and buys us material things.  Sadly, the best things in life do not come with a price tag and true love cannot be bought.

LUST :  This emotion is selfish and shallow.  It is momentary and has absolutely no effect on the heart.  Lust and desire are interlinked.  It is usually one-sided and never deep.

 In these comparisons, love stands above the rest.  Love can heal this world, it is probably the balm we are looking for in today’s troubled times.  As Gandhiji would say, “the day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace”.

————- Muffazal Lakdawala.

Advertisements

The right way to pray

prayer-on-my-knees42

Much that perplexes us in our experience is the answer to our prayers.  We do not know what we should pray for as we ought.
We pray for “patience”, and God sends those who tax us to the utmost, for “tribulation worketh patience”.  We pray for “submission” and sufferings come our way, for ” we learn obedience by the things we suffer”.  We pray for “unselfishness”, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice ourselves by thinking on the things of others.
We pray for “strength” & “humility”, and someone torments us until we lie down in defeat.  We ask God to “increase our faith”, and money takes wings, or someone is taken ill or a servant comes who is careless and untidy, or some hitherto unknown trial calls for an “increase of faith” along a line where we have not needed to exercise much faith before.–We pray for “gentleness” and someone is very harsh and irritable to us.  We pray for “quiet” and every nerve is strung to the utmost tension.  We pray for “love”, and God sends people to us who say things that lacerate the heart.——- The way to “peace” & “victory” is to accept every circumstance, every trial as coming straight from a loving Father’s Hand.

Indian prayer

I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile
All sense of nearness, human and divine
The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart
The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine
But while I swayed, weak, trembling and alone
The everlasting arms upheld my own.
I prayed for light, the sun went down in clouds
The moon was darkened by a misty doubt
The stars of Heaven were dimmed by earthly fears
And all my little candle flames  burned out
But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night
The face of God made all the darkness bright.
I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease
A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose
Above my head the skies were black with storm
And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes
But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew
I heard His voice and perfect peace I knew.
I thank You, Lord,You were too wise to heed
My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought
Since these rich gifts Your bounty has bestowed
Have brought me more than all I asked or thought
Giver of good, so answer each request
WITH YOUR OWN GIVING, BETER THAN MY BEST.
—————Annie Johnson Flint.

Mother

Mother and Child

Today is MOTHER’S DAY.  Of course, everyday is MOTHER’S DAY.
Here are a few words of love sent by her child to his mother on MOTHER’S DAY. : What is a MOTHER ? — A MOTHER is someone who knows all our “needs”, our “hopes”, and our “dreams” and “desires”, with a “genuine interest” in all that we do ——– Someone who “guides” and “inspires”.
The “heart” of a MOTHER is “full of compassion”, is “generous”, “kind” and “forgiving”.  The “smile” of a MOTHER is “loving” and “tender”, and ADDS SO MUCH GLADNESS TO LIVING.
There’s another one that runs thus :
raviv17

When God created MOTHERS
It’s certain that He knew
We’d need the loving, thoughtful things
that only MOTHERS do.
Like knowing when we need a push
Or when we’ve had enough
And giving help and good advice
When problems get too tough.
Like helping us to reach goals
That we’ve been dreaming of
Or being warm and caring
When we need her special love.
Yes, God knew all the beautiful
Things that only MOTHERS do
And that’s exactly why He
MADE A MOTHER JUST LIKE YOU.
So, I wish each and every MOTHER  —————————- A VERY HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Choosing the righteous path

buddha-painting-lily-of-consciousness

If God is everywhere, why does suffering, agony, hatred, enmity and violence exist ?  When we do not get logical answers, our faith gets limited, we start fearing God rather than loving Him.
God is everywhere and He exits as “consciousness” that is formless.  God, as “consciousness”, provides energy to the body, mind, brain and senses, and these instruments misuse the power of “consciousness”.  As a result, hatred, jealousy, violence and suffering manifest.
God’s consciousness is like the ” battery” of a mobile phone or the electricity supply to a TV.  If the mobile phone or TV is misused, can we blame the “battery” or the “electric supply” ?

1-Eduardo-Rodriguez-Calzado-Art-600x477


These instruments (body, mind and senses) are misusing God’s consciousness to spread hatred, jealousy, enmity and violence.  The source of energy —— God’s consciousness cannot be blamed for that.
Soil can reap a rose plane as well as a poisonous plant.  It is up to the person sowing the seed he wants to plant.  Will it be right to blame or question the soil for allowing the poisonous plant to grow and spread poison ?
How can these negativities and destructive attitudes change and allow peace to prevail in the world ?  When we focus on our individual existence, negativity crops in, but when we start focussing on our “source of existence”, that is God’s consciousness, then equality, patience, tolerance and love will prevail.
Focussing on consciousness leads us to the realisation of God and enlightenment.  Once we see consciousness as our source and perceive it everywhere and in every being, then our life becomes a joyful experience, peace will prevail everywhere in the world and hatred, enmity and violence will cease to exist.
——– Sadguru Rameshji. 

Instinctive empathy

nepal earthquake_mill-1

When a natural disaster strikes, like the recent earthquake in Nepal, news and images are immediately beamed out to the world thanks to technology.  From shaky photographs taken on mobile phone cameras to live coverage, the vast human tragedy quickly reached television and computer screens around the world.  As it unfolded, many watched and prayed, many watched and were driven to help.  There were few who saw the images and remained unaffected.
When we see suffering human beings, even with whom we have no personal connection, isn’t empathy our first instinct ?  For many of us this INSTINCTIVE EMPATHY rises for animals and birds, as well as the earth and ecosphere.
Feeling empathy is the first step towards the mental and emotional processes that lead to actual action, like compassionate giving and altruism.  Why do we need to think about this? Because ever since Charles Darwin propounded the theory of evolution in the 19th century, where natural selection was considered to function on “survival of the fittest”, there has developed a view that selfishness is the basis of all nature.  Theories of “social Darwinism” trace the rise of laissez faire capitalism, racism and, to some extent, imperialism, to an innate selfish and “me first” view of what it meant to be human that arose from the “survival of the fittest” mind-set.
painted-hands-clasping-empathyThis 19th century notion that human beings are somehow “hardwired to be selfish” lingers on in popular culture.  Biology itself has moved far beyond simplistic explanations of Darwinian thought, and in fact the discovery of “mirror neurons” in the 1980s and 1990s holds out the possibility that we might be actually be “hardwired towards empathy and altruism”.
Here is how “mirror neurons” work.  If a ball hits me on the head, signals are sent to my brain that enable me to feel pain.  If I watch a ball hit another human being on the head, something happens in my brain that is not a direct sensation of pain, but is an experience of pain nevertheless.  It could be called “empathetic pain”.  A certain type of neuron in my brain “mirrors” the pain of another, so that I can feel what the other is feeling.  THIS IS THE SEED OF EMPATHY.
Neuroscientist V. S. Ramchandran, who has extensively researched “mirror neurons” and their implications, credits them with enabling human beings to develop an “allocentric” view, which means being focussed on others, as opposed to the “egocentric” one, which means being focussed on oneself.  According to him, “At some point in evolution, this system (mirror neurons) ……. allowed you to create an “allocentric” view of yourself.  This is, I claim, the DAWN OF SELF AWARENESS.”
So, not only are we “hardwired” to be kind, we actually benefit from it.
——- Swati Chopra

Pearly gates

Faithful-Dog-1920x1080

Looking back across the years I see how important dogs have been in my life.  I had been an ordained minister only a few weeks when I received a call from an eight-year-old boy.  His dog had ben killed by a car.  “Mr. Turner,” the lad sobbed, “do you do funerals for dogs ?”  I didn’t quite know how to respond, but I recalled the scriptures’ affirmation of God’s knowing when even a sparrow falls.
I replied, “Why not ?” and I conducted a little ceremony for the boy’s pet.  He was very pleased and then asked, “Is my dog going to heaven ?”  I wasn’t prepared for that question, but my love for animals got me through it.  I’m sure I made the child feel better.
Several years later, I had my own personal experience that provided the answer I had never been sure of.  Our wonderful dachshund, Greta, died, and we were eager to bring another dog into our home.  We went to the pound to get the dachshund whose photo had appeared in the paper.  By the time we arrived, he had been claimed.  Another puppy, sensing our mission, poked her nose through the wire fence.  The look in her eyes seemed to say, “Please pick me.”  We did and we named her Pick.
Whenever I came home, Pick was there to greet me.  I’d say, “Pick, you’ve got it made.  Other animals work for their keep.  A canary sings, cows give milk, chickens lay eggs, but you don’t have to do anything but hang around.”  After 14 years, Pick became very sick, and there was nothing to be done except put her out of her misery.  With a heavy heart I drove her to the vet’s, who did what had to be done.  I then went back to my study and wept for hours.  A few days later, a parishioner who knew of my grief sent me this poem.  It healed my sorrow.  Perhaps it will help others.  I’d like to share it : —–

the-gates-645x250

I explained to St Peter
I’d rather stay here
Outside the Pearly Gates
I won’t be a nuisance
I won’t even bark
I’ll be very patient and wait
I’ll be here.
chewing on a celestial bone
No matter how long you may be
I’d miss you so much
if I went in alone
IT WOULDN’T BE HEAVEN FOR ME.
—–Dan Turner.

Are you ready to forgive?

good-friday

As more than two billion people of the world observe today the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ, there are different images of the journey of Jesus carrying his Cross with nails pierced through his hands and feet.  Though hanging criminals on the cross and leaving them to die was the Roman custom to punish serious offenders, the image of this “offender”, though ‘more sinned against’, now occupies a place of honour in all the churches around the world.

Crucification

So, why this paradox  Why the glorification of a man who died a criminal’s death in rather shameful conditions ?  To begin with, when we go through the records of the trial of Jesus before the governor Pilate, he tells the crowd that he found nothing against Jesus.  That was a fact.  The high priest, however, accused Jesus of blasphemy.  Finally, Pilate ruled in favour of Jesus’ crucifixion, as the gospel narratives tell us, more due to pressure from the crowd ( they wanted Barabbas, a criminal, released) than for any offence that could be legally proved.
Be that as it may, before Jesus was made to carry the Cross on which He would be crucified, a crown of thons was placed on his head.  He was ridiculed and called “King of the Jews”.  The soldiers leading Him to Mount Calvary spat upon Him and lashed Him every time He fell, they also ordered Simon of Cyrene to help Him in carrying the Cross, as Jesus was very weak and the Cross was heavy.

crucifixion-1565

When He reached Calvary, He was laid on the Cross and nails were driven in His hands and feet and the Cross was lifted on high and, with a heave was put into the hole that had been prepared beforehand.  How it must have shaken Him up !!  He felt abandoned by all, and cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani ? (My God, My God, why have you forsaken me ? )
Towards the end, He forgave those who had dealt with Him so brutally and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they have done”.  Thus Jesus, proclaimed the prayer of forgiveness, even for the men who had ill-treated Him.  That was in line with what he lived and died for.
ARE YOU READY TO FORGIVE ????? Really forgive and emulate Jesus’ concrete act of forgiving, not merely as a concept or thought, but in reality ???? Can He inspire us all to forgive ??
—— Father Dominic Emmanuel