Sunday, February 8, 2015

Love knows no religion

Some time between the year(s) 53-55 AD, the Apostle Paul was credited with writing the book of Corinthians.  One of the more well known passages from those writings is found in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

But long before Paul wrote these beautiful words defining love, which are often recited at Christian wedding ceremonies, there was Metta Sutta, thought to be written as early as 400 BC.  Metta, in its simplest terms is defined as loving kindness.  It is a meditation focused on the development of unconditional love for all beings.  Because of its practice of loving all beings, it is also known as universal love.  The word Metta is of Pali descent which is an Indic language, closely related to Sanskrit, in which the sacred texts of Theravada Buddhism are written. Some of my favorite concepts of Metta from the website are:
  • Metta is empathy. It’s the willingness to see the world from another person's point of view: to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.
  • Metta is wishing others well.
  • Metta is friendliness, consideration, kindness, and generosity.
  • Metta is the basis for compassion. When our Metta meets someone suffering, then our Metta transforms into compassion.
  • Metta is the basis for shared joy. When our Metta meets with another person's happiness or good fortune, then it transforms into an empathetic joyfulness.
  • Metta is boundless. We can feel Metta for any being, regardless of gender, race, or nationality.
  • Metta is the most fulfilling emotional state that we can know.
  • It’s our inherent potential. To wish another well is to wish that they be in a state of experiencing Metta.
  • Metta is the answer to almost every problem the world faces today. Money won’t do it. Technology won’t do it. Metta, loving-kindness toward all beings, will.  

While Apostle Paul's words, "Love is patient, love is kind...." are undeniably true, so is the idea that if you project love into the universe, you will get love back.

Recently the fans of hip-hop/rap mogul Kanye West, blew up the twitter-verse praising Kanye for giving an older, unknown artist a big break by recording the song, Only One with him.  That “unknown” artist, actually known to millions of people over the age of 25, was none other than Sir Paul McCartney, a bit of a music mogul himself.  In 1969, SPM penned a song titled, The End, which appeared on the album, Abbey Road.  True to it's title, The End was the last song the Beatles ever recorded together.  In the song, the line, "Love you, love you" is repeated 12 times, but it is the last line of that song that has garnered the most attention over the course of the past 45 years, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”  

Universal Love.

And while the Beatles never recorded as a complete group again, John, Paul, George, and Ringo each continued to make music, both in solo careers and with other groups including one or two Silly Love Songs.

Released in 1971, the lyrics to Imagine suggest to me that John Lennon had a philosophy for love and peace all his own.  In a January 1981 interview with Playboy magazine, John Lennon stated, "I am no more a Buddhist, than I am a Christian..." I wonder if the fans of Kanye West have ever heard of John Lennon?


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

So whether you subscribe to the Biblical belief of love, the teachings of Buddha and the philosophy of Metta, Imagine the world according to John Lennon, or all of the above, I wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day filled with much loving-kindness and peace to all!  Be sure to take lots of love this it it equal to the love you make