According to the Beatles, “All you need is love.”
At the deepest level of our being, of course, all of us need love. But often our love is like a frightened child, crouching in the chamber of our heart and afraid to come out. Capable of singing with the voice of an angel, it whispers instead, in fear of being laughed at. Meant to extend its blessing to all the world, it cowers in fear of being punished for having tried.
Fear, however, has no such compunction. It seeks to nullify love. It yells, it struts, it wars, it destroys without regret, it laughs at human suffering. It kills.
So here we are. Which one will own the world…?
The answer to that question, of course, is whichever one takes action.
Right now, greed is put into action, fear is put into action, military madness is put into action, corruption is put into action, voter suppression is put into action, racial injustice is put into action, authoritarianism is put into action…and the list goes on.
Surely it’s our job now to put love into action.
Love is put into action in countless ways every instant of every day, from the way someone tenderly holds a baby; to the way we fall in love, reach out to friends, or forgive each other; to the way we plant a garden or seek to heal another’s wounds.
But we’re living at a time when love must expand its influence beyond just personal to collective expression. We must take the ethic of love into the public realm. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. when speaking about Mahatma Gandhi, "He was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale.”
And why shouldn’t we?
If it would be unloving of me to allow a child in my midst to starve, then isn’t it unloving of us to allow 12,000 children on this planet to starve each day? And if for every action there’s a reaction - if everything we give comes back to us, and what we withhold is withheld from us - then doesn’t a country, even a species, get karmic blowback just like individuals do?
Can we continue to do to the planet what we’ve been doing, and not have the planet respond in kind? In fact, isn’t that what it’s already doing?
Why should reverence, devotion, and deep responsibility to life have a place in conversations about our personal interactions but not our collective behavior? There is one main reason: such considerations are at odds with a dominant economic paradigm that puts short term profit before all else.
Putting profit before love is idolatry. It runs counter to God. It is humanity bowing down to false gods, to an erroneous sense of where our allegiance should lie. And none of us will ultimately get a pass on experiencing the effects of our collective idolatry. When those idols fall, they will fall on all of us.
“I didn’t do it! It was my government!” will only take us so far at this point. Ignorance is not an excuse before the law, either worldly or spiritual. Spiritually we’re not even ignorant of the Law, so much as we’re just choose to ignore it.
That needs to change.
For those of you interested in contributing more powerfully to a collective wave of love in action, you’ll want to know about an event I’m co-hosting called LOVE IN ACTION. I’ll be joined by some fabulous colleagues - Katherine Woodward Thomas, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Michael Beckwith and more - to provide a huge dose of inspiration and hope meant to lift all of us out of the malaise and chaos that prevails in our society today. This isn’t an easy time, but it’s a time of infinite possibilities if we’re willing to harness and operationalize the better angels of our nature. The event is intended as a full on energy boost meant to get us out of our seats and onto the streets, putting love into action in a way that nothing not love will be able to withstand.
I hope you’ll check it out. (It’s a paid event, but scholarships are available.)
All of us need to play our part. When hate speaks loudly, it’s not enough for love to whisper….