Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not inflated. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered or quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury. Love does not delight over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, perseveres through all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
This passage is not just about Love: it is about each of us; it about what we are each called to become and what we will each be more and more like the more we awaken and progress on our journey and mature emotionally and lose our smaller conditioned frightened self.
To really get a sense of the size of the task as well as the abundance ahead of us, simply replace the words “Love” and “it” in the above passage with your name and read it aloud.
It will show us each how far we presently fall short of the full majesty of what we can become through grace and sustained inner work and increased mindfulness, self-honesty, and real inner courage. It shows us each where our problem areas are, why our relationships have the difficulties they do, why we are not happier and more alive and living more abundantly and less anxiously and less stressfully.
As a dear friend of mine wrote to me in a moment of raw candor and tremendous honesty, “In order to have a truly loving relationship, I have to become the type of person capable of inhabiting such a relationship. . . . I need to change and become one with God and let myself be purified. I need to let myself be confronted with what I am—both my best and my worst—by a true mirror. I need to give up my selfish, impulsive, self-centered, emotionally reactive ways of being in the world. When the going gets tough I have to stop falling back on whatever is easiest and I have to stop running away and emotionally distancing myself. I have to learn better ways of dealing with myself and my emotions and stress, anxiety, fear and other life difficulties. I have to become truly willing, receptive, humble, and ready to make that commitment to myself and my growth.”
My sense is that this is pretty much the same size of the task that is ahead for each of us if we are sincere about truly wanting to grow and become more genuinely Loving and grow into our full stature as human beings. I know it is for me. Yet this is what truly being an adult is all about: being able to love this deeply and consistently and widely, and having the courage and willingness to take this journey.
After all, what else is there really to do in life that is really meaningful and worthwhile?
As the Dalai Lama wrote:
“Although attempting to create a more harmonious society and bring about more peace in the world through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way. Peace must first be developed within an individual. And love, compassion, and altruism are the fundamental basis for peace. Once these qualities are developed and sustained within an individual, then he or she is able to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony and love all around her. The inner atmosphere is expanded and extended from the individual to his or her family, from the family to the community, and then eventually to the world at large.”
If we truly want to raise the level of consciousness on this planet, it begins with ourselves and with becoming an ever more patient, kind, peaceful, compassionate, resilient, honest, humble, attentive, warm, understanding, mindful, self-aware, self-confronting, courageous, and loving individual—the most loving version of ourselves we can be.