12 May The Joy of Divine & Selfless Love | Spirituality Podcasts
Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of inspirational fashion and gift ideas. Visit them online at BookofZen.com. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from The Way of Peace by James Allen, published in 1907.
It is said that Michelangelo saw in every rough block of stone a thing of beauty awaiting the master-hand to bring it into reality. Likewise, within each one of us there reposes the Divine Image awaiting the master-hand of Faith and the chisel of Patience to bring it into manifestation. And that Divine Image is revealed and realized as stainless, selfless Love.
Hidden deep in every human heart is the spirit of Divine Love. It is the Truth within us; it is that which is real and immortal. All else changes and passes away; this alone is permanent and imperishable; and to realize this Love by ceaseless diligence in the practice of the highest good, to live in it and to become fully conscious in it, is to enter into immortality here and now, is to become one with Truth, one with spirit, one with the central Heart of all things, and to know our own divine and eternal nature.
To reach this Love, to understand and experience it, we must work with great persistency and diligence upon our heart and mind, must ever renew our patience and keep strong our faith, for there will be much to remove, much to accomplish before it is realized.
Ever and anon, as you proceed, all your work will seem to be futile, and your efforts appear to be thrown away. There may be times when you imagine your work is almost completed, only to find what you imagined to be the beautiful form of Divine Love utterly destroyed, and you must begin again with your past bitter experience to guide and help you.
The individual who has resolutely set themselves to realize the Highest recognizes no such thing as defeat. All failures are illusory, not real. Every slip, every fall, every return to selfishness is a lesson learned, an experience gained, from which a golden grain of wisdom is extracted, helping the striver toward the accomplishment of their lofty objective.
As you proceed, day by day detaching yourself more and more from inward selfishness, the Love that is selfless will gradually become revealed to you. And when you are growing patient and calm, when your petulances, tempers, and irritabilities are passing away from you, and the more powerful lusts and prejudices cease to dominate and enslave you, then you will know that the Divine is awakening within you, that you are drawing near to the eternal Heart, that you are not far from that selfless Love, the possession of which is peace and immortality.
Divine Love is distinguished from human love in one supremely important particular: it is free from partiality. Human loves cling to a particular object to the exclusion of all else, and when that object is removed, great and deep is the resultant suffering to the one who loves. Divine Love embraces the whole universe without clinging to any part, yet it contains within itself the whole, and those who come to it by gradually purifying and broadening their human loves until all the selfish and impure elements are burnt out of them, cease from suffering.
It is because human loves are narrow and confined and mingled with selfishness that they cause suffering. No suffering can result from that Love which is so absolutely pure that it seeks nothing for itself. Nevertheless, human loves are absolutely necessary as steps toward the Divine, and no soul is prepared to partake of Divine Love until you have become capable of the deepest and most intense human love. It is only by passing through human loves and human sufferings that Divine Love is reached and realized.
It is well that the excessively proud, the overly ambitious, the ego-driven, should suffer defeat, humiliation, and misfortune; for only thus can the wayward soul be brought to reflect upon the enigma of life; only thus can the heart be softened and purified, and prepared to receive the Truth.
When the sting of anguish penetrates the heart of human love; when gloom and loneliness and desertion cloud the soul of friendship and trust, then it is that the heart turns toward the sheltering love of the Eternal, and finds rest in its silent peace. And whosoever comes to this Love is not turned away comfortless, is not pierced with anguish nor surrounded with gloom; and is never deserted in the dark hour of trial.
Only that Love that seeks no personal gratification or reward, that does not make distinctions, and that leaves behind no heartaches, can be called divine.
Many people, clinging to self and to the comfortless shadows of ego, are in the habit of thinking of divine Love as something belonging to a God who is out of reach; as something outside themselves, and that must forever remain outside. It is true that Divine Love is ever beyond the reach of self, but when the heart and mind are emptied of self, then the selfless Love, the supreme Love, becomes an inward and abiding reality.
When you realize the Love that is divine, you become a new person, and cease to be swayed and dominated by the old elements of self. You will become known for your patience, you self-control, your deep charity of heart, and your unalterable cheerfulness.
Divine or selfless Love is not a mere sentiment or emotion; it is a state of knowledge which destroys the dominion of evil and the belief in evil, and lifts the soul into the joyful realization of the supreme Good. To the divinely wise, knowledge and Love are one and inseparable.
There is no arbitrary power in the universe, and the strongest chains of fate by which we are bound are self-forged. We are chained to that which causes suffering because we desire to be so, because we love our chains, because we think our little dark prison of self is sweet and beautiful, and are afraid that if we desert that prison we will lose all that is real and worth having.
And the indwelling power which forged the chains and built around itself the dark and narrow prison, can break away when it desires and wills to do so, and the soul does will to do so when it has discovered the worthlessness of its prison, when long suffering has prepared it for the reception of boundless Love.
As the shadow follows the form, and as smoke comes after fire, so effect follows cause, and suffering and bliss follow our thoughts and deeds. There is no effect in the world around us without a hidden or revealed cause, and that cause is in accordance with absolute justice.
We reap a harvest of suffering because in the near or distant past we have sown the seeds of sorrow; we reap a harvest of bliss also as a result of our own sowing of the seeds of good. Let us meditate upon this, let us strive to understand it, and we will then begin to sow only seeds of good, and will burn up the weeds which we have formerly grown in the garden of our heart.
The world does not understand the Love that is selfless because it is engrossed in the pursuit of its own pleasures, and cramped within the narrow limits of perishable interests, mistaking (in its ignorance) those pleasures and interests for real and abiding things.
Not having this Love, not understanding it, we institute innumerable reforms which involve no inward sacrifice, and each imagines that their reform is going to right the world forever, while we ourselves continue to propagate evil by engaging it in our own heart.
That only can be called reform which tends to reform the human heart, for all evil has its rise there, and not until the world, ceasing from selfishness and party strife, has learned the lesson of divine Love, will it realize the Golden Age of universal peace.
Let the rich cease to despise the poor, and the poor to condemn the rich; let the greedy learn how to give, and the lustful how to grow pure; let the partisan cease from strife, and the uncharitable begin to forgive; let the envious endeavor to rejoice with others, and the slanderers grow ashamed of their conduct. Let men and women take this course, and, lo! the Golden Age is at hand. Therefore, they who purify their own hearts are the world’s greatest benefactors.
Yet, though the world is (and will be for many ages to come) shut out from that Golden Age which is the realization of selfless Love, you (if you are willing) may enter it now, by rising above your selfish self, by passing from prejudice, hatred, and condemnation, to gentle and forgiving love.
Where hatred, dislike, and condemnation are, selfless Love does not abide. It resides only in the heart that has ceased from all condemnation.
You say, “How can I love the liar, the hypocrite, the sneak, the murderer? I am compelled to dislike and condemn such persons.” It is true you cannot love such people emotionally, but when you say that you must (by necessity) dislike and condemn them, you show that you are not acquainted with Supreme Love; for it is possible to attain to such a state of interior enlightenment as will enable you to perceive the train of causes by which these people have become as they are, to enter into their intense sufferings, and to know the certainty of their ultimate redemption.
Possessed of such knowledge, it will be utterly impossible for you any longer to dislike or condemn them, and you will always think of them with perfect calmness and deep compassion.
If you love people and speak of them with praise until they in some way upset you, or do something of which you disapprove, and then you dislike them and speak of them with condemnation, you are not governed by Divine Love. If, in your heart, you are continually judging and disparaging others, selfless Love is hidden from you.
Those who know that Love is at the heart of all things, and has realized the all-sufficing power of that Love, has no room in their heart for condemnation.
However, those men and women who do not know this Love, think of themselves as judge and executioner of their fellow human beings, forgetting that there is the Eternal Judge who presides over all accounts. The individual whose heart is centered in Supreme Love does not brand and classify other people; does not seek to convert others to their own views, nor to convince them of the superiority of their methods.
Knowing the Law of Love, they live it, and maintain the same calm attitude of mind and sweetness of heart toward all. The wicked and the virtuous, the foolish and the wise, the learned and the unlearned, the selfish and the unselfish receive alike the benediction of their tranquil thoughts.
You can only attain to this supreme knowledge, this Divine Love by unremitting endeavor in self-discipline, and by gaining victory after victory over yourself. The person who strives for the attainment of Divine Love is ever seeking to overcome the spirit of condemnation, for where there is pure spiritual knowledge, condemnation cannot exist, and only in the heart that has become incapable of condemnation is Love perfected and fully realized.
The Christian condemns the Atheist; the Atheist satirizes the Christian; the Catholic and Protestant are ceaselessly engaged in wordy warfare, and the spirit of strife and hatred rules where peace and love should be.
Until you can regard the people of all religions and of no religion with the same impartial spirit, with all freedom from dislike, and with perfect equanimity, you have yet to strive for that Love which bestows upon its possessor freedom and joy.
The realization of Divine knowledge, selfless Love, utterly destroys the spirit of condemnation, disperses all evil, and lifts the consciousness to that height of pure vision where Love, Goodness, and Justice are seen to be universal, supreme, all-conquering, indestructible.
Train your mind in strong, impartial, and gentle thoughts; train your heart in purity and compassion; train your tongue to silence and to true and stainless speech. By so living, without seeking to convert, you will convince; without arguing, you will teach. Not cherishing ambition, the wise will find you out; and without striving to gain praise, you will subdue their hearts. For Love is all-conquering, all-powerful; and the thoughts, and deeds, and words of Love can never perish.
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