“If we like only the best things in the person, that is not love. We have to accept his weaknesses and bring our patience, understanding, and energy to help him transform. .” –Thích Nhất Hạnh
Hello Spiritual Warriors! And welcome to another edition of The Source. This week in our video and in this blog, we celebrate love & lovingkindness. One of the most insightful conversations on love was shared by the brilliant Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh in his 2011 book True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart. In addition to his many books and articles, Thay – as he is known by his students – can be seen on hundreds of YouTube videos. We study this beautiful Zen master in my Masters of Wisdom & Meditation Teacher Training – specifically his book The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. We can learn so much from Thay’s heartfelt and tender teachings.
Here’s a small excerpt on love:
We have to restore the meaning of the word “love.” We have been using it in a careless way. When we say, “I love hamburgers,” we are not talking about love. We are talking about our appetite, our desire for hamburgers. We should not dramatize our speech and misuse words like that. We make words like “love” sick that way. We have to make an effort to heal our language by using words carefully. The word “love” is a beautiful word. We have to restore its meaning. Love is deep, beautiful, and whole.
True love contains respect. In my tradition, husband and wife are expected to respect each other like guests, and when you practice this kind of respect, your love and happiness will continue for a long time. In sexual relationships, respect is one of the most important elements. Sexual communion should be like a rite, a ritual performed in mindfulness with great respect, care, and love. If you are motivated by some desire, that is not love. Desire is not love. Love is something much more responsible. It has care in it.
If the word “love” is understood in the deepest way, why do we need to say “long-term commitment”? If love is real, we do not need long or short-term commitments, or even a wedding ceremony. True love includes the sense of responsibility, accepting the other person as he is, with all his strengths and weaknesses. If we like only the best things in the person, that is not love. We have to accept his weaknesses and bring our patience, understanding, and energy to help him transform. Love is maitri, the capacity to bring joy and happiness, and karuna, the capacity to transform pain and suffering. This kind of love can only be good for people. It cannot be described as negative or destructive. It is safe. It guarantees everything.
This week, let’s flow some sweet metta (as we do in this week’s video), maître, or karuna to those in our life this week. And don’t forget to join me Thursday on Hay House Radio where we’ll explore A Course in Miracles. In the meantime, keep meditating and I’ll see you in the gap!
PS Remember to adopt your next pet!