What is Life's Greatest Gift?
- Kamran Mofid
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Love is Life’s Greatest Gift
The symphony of life is all about love and loving, inspiring peace, justice, fairness and the hope for a better life.
All my life I have had the choice of love or hate. I chose love.
When I chose hate, I suffered pain and anguish.
When I chose love, I flourished and found peace and contentment.
Love: Life’s Greatest Gift'*
‘All of us want, or need, to be loved. The need for love is one of the most basic human impulses. We may cover this need with patterns of self-protection or images of self-reliance. Or we may openly acknowledge this need to ourself or to others. But it is always present, whether hidden or visible. Usually, we seek for love in human relationships, project our need onto parents, partners, friends, lovers. Our lack or denial of love often causes wounds that we carry with us. This unmet need haunts us, sometimes driving us into addictions or other self-destructive patterns. Conversely, if our need for love is met, we feel nourished in the depths of our being.
Love calls to us in many different ways. Yet while most people seek for love in the tangle of human relationships, the mystic is drawn deeper under the surface—in Rumi’s words, “return to the root of the root of your own being.” And here we begin to discover one of life’s greatest secrets: how love is at the source of all that exists, is the source of all that exists. Love is not just a feeling between people, but a substance, an energy, a divine spark that is present within everything. And it is this deepest essence—this substance of love—that we need to nourish us.
Love speaks to our soul and to our body. Love includes all the senses—taste and touch, smell, sight and sound. Love by its very nature includes everything. It does not just belong to a human relationship. It can be found anywhere, because it is everywhere. The mystic uncovers the simple secret that in truth love flows through all that exists—sweet, tender, aching, knowing, as well as dark and passionate. And as this primal energy, this greatest power, awakens within us, within our heart, our soul, and even within the cells of our body, it draws us deeper into its own mystery. Love draws us back to love.
And here we discover the oneness of love—that the source and answer to our primal need is not separate from us, but part of our own essential nature, our own true being. Again, to quote Rumi:
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.
The mystical truth of the oneness of love is something both simple and essential: the real nature of the love that we all seek is not other than us. I remember my first direct experience of this love. I was in my late 20s when one afternoon while I was in meditation, I felt what I can only describe as butterfly wings touching the edge of my heart. And in that instant my whole being and body were filled with a love I had hardly known existed. Every cell of my body was loved, tenderly, gently, and completely. Love was present in all of me. And this love came from within me, from my own heart. There was no other.
Love is life’s greatest gift. We seek for love, and yet it is all around and within us. It belongs to the oneness of life, to every dewdrop on every leaf, to the spider spinning its web, the child looking at the stars. If we open our senses and open our hearts, we can feel its presence. Love is life speaking to us of its real mystery. And in that conversation so many things can happen, so many miracles can be born, the small unsuspecting miracles that we often do not notice—like momentary sunlight from behind a cloud, a flower where a seed unexpectedly sprouted, a smile from a stranger. Despite all of its distortions, pain, and suffering, this world belongs to love, just as each of us belongs to love. And just to know that we are part of this love is enough.
Learning to love is learning to live, to become part of the great love affair that is life. And just as love is life’s gift, so is love the one true gift we each have to give. I was brought up in a family where love was unknown, where nothing real was given. And so I have come to appreciate this simple gift and how precious it is. Love is all we really have to give, and love is free, even if it costs blood and a broken heart.
Sadly, we live in a culture where so much is distorted, caught in the shadowlands of ego and greed. We are fed endless desires, manipulated by advertising and the media, no longer knowing what to trust. We have almost forgotten that life is sacred. At such a time it is especially important to return to what is essential and true, what cannot be bought or sold. Simple acts of loving kindness, an open heart that listens, hands that care—with a friend, a stranger, with someone in need. These are the true currencies of our shared humanity, which easily break through barriers and remind us of a unity deeper than our surface divisions. In our true nature we are not consumers but lovers, and life is not about economic prosperity or getting more stuff, but is a love affair waiting to be lived.
And at this time it is especially important to give the gift of love back to the earth, the same earth that we are poisoning and polluting. Return love with simple acts: planting some herbs with care and attention; walking, our feet touching the ground with love every step; seeing spring blossoms, aware of her beauty. The earth is so generous, she has given us life and yet we desecrate her, attack her fragile web. It is time to fall in love again with the earth, to remember that she is sacred and help in her healing, to listen to her and love her.
And what is revealed within the heart of the lover, of the one who has given himself or herself to love, is the great secret of creation: that love is always present. Love is present within our own heart, within every breath, within every cell of our body and the whole of creation. The whole of creation is a continual outpouring of love, of lover and beloved needing each other, meeting each other, merging with each other. The great mystery is then not that this love is always present, but that it appears hidden from us, that we have forgotten how we are made of love. That we are love seeking love. And life’s greatest gift is love waiting to be lived.’
- The above article by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, was first published in Common Ground, February 2017. See the origin of the article
Love Thyself: A Reflection by Harold W. Becker
Founder and President, The Love Foundation
“There is a great wisdom in the idea to “know thyself.” There is an even more amazing truth to “love thyself.” This is not love in a selfish sense, rather to fully accept ourselves just for who we are here and now without condition or limitation. The better we begin to know, understand and love ourselves, the greater we develop love for others and together, the more compassionate world we create.
The process of loving unconditionally begins by turning within and acknowledging our potential to love – even if we do not currently believe it is possible. We have to clear away our thick layers of old worn out and limiting beliefs that hide our light. We also need to look in the mirror of life and realize our current state of personal affairs. How much do we love? Why do we give in to fear and doubt? Why are we afraid to accept and love our self? What keeps us from loving all others? Do we even know what love really means to us?
In every moment we have the opportunity to embrace our natural ability to love unconditionally and to share this love with all others. Thankfully, we are not alone in this endeavor. We have our Higher Self, our indwelling higher nature that knows how to guide us personally through the maze of illusion and into our unconditionally loving selves. In contrast to our human side and focus, this is the spiritual part of us that understands and embodies love and knows the big picture. It brings to us the right ideas, impulses, people, lessons, and experiences that best encourages us how to love more deeply and release the judgments and opinions that bind us. It is ever ready to help us realize and use the higher response of love. We need only acknowledge this guiding force and potential within ourselves to reap the gifts.
Pursuing a life of unconditional love is an incredible journey of ever expanding freedom and joy, peace and harmony. The more we engage in it, the more our lives become enriched by this energy. Willingness is the key that unlocks our potential. Without our willingness to go beyond current understandings of personal and societal beliefs and to even try it out, unconditional love remains little more than a pair of words. It is especially during challenging experiences and events that touch us at our very core, that our readiness to find and use the qualities of forgiveness and love become vital to our individual and collective wellbeing. Without this willingness, we often shut the door to a loving response that could change generations of lives in a single moment.
The journey is as simple as embracing the love we already have within. We are the only ones that make it difficult or delay its attainment in our life. Experiencing and sharing love is the intention; patience and practice are how we get there. Whether we accept it or not, love is the only force that resolves the issues of life. It is the energy that dissolves the limitations of hatred, separation, anger, greed, ignorance and the many other negative and destructive forces that pass through and around us each moment. It is up to us to integrate and use the energy of love to transform the limitations into unlimited possibilities that benefit all.
It is our ultimate destiny to love unconditionally. It is also our freedom, right, privilege, and our gift to ourselves and life around us. Not only does it generate harmony and joy, wisdom and understanding, it brings reason and purpose to life. Be inspired to seek love for yourself and your neighbor and make this a better world for all. We have much to gain and nothing to lose in accepting and using unconditional love. So give it a try, you may never experience life the same way again.” (Original source of this article: Mailshot by the Love Foundation)
Why Love, Trust, Respect and Gratitude Trumps Economics: Together for the Common Good
Kamran Mofid, Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI)
(Written to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the GCGI)
Oxford 2002 to Oxford 2012
Portrait of a Great Journey for the Common Good
We live in difficult and troubling times, facing unprecedented global challenges in the areas of climate change and ecology, finance and economics, hunger and infectious disease, international relations and cooperation, peace and justice, terrorism and war, armaments and unprecedented violence. It is precisely in times like these – unstable and confusing though they may be – that people everywhere need to keep their eyes on the better side of human nature, the side of love and compassion, rather than hatred and injustice; the side of the common good, rather than selfishness, individualism and greed.
People need to see that there are serious alternatives to the world’s present failing policies, rules and institutions, and that there are like minded global citizens who share a vision of hope and common values that can lift them out of the deep sense of powerlessness and despair that is now affecting so many parts of the world.
Guided by the principles of hard work, commitment, volunteerism and service; with a great passion for dialogue of cultures, civilisations, religions, ideas and visions, at an international conference in Oxford in 2002 the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) and the GCGI Annual International Conference Series were founded.
The Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative Annual Conference series have ranged far across the world through Oxford, Saint Petersburg, Dubai, Nairobi/Kericho, Honolulu, Istanbul, Melbourne, Chicago and Thousand Oaks, California. The 10th Annual Conference, once again, is returning to Oxford in September 2012.
The GCGI conferences have created and continue to create an ever-widening international community of scholars, researchers and experts, forging links and establishing dialogues across national, cultural, religious, and academic boundaries, and putting into practice the movement’s core philosophy: that globalisation need not be defined merely in terms of impersonal market forces, but can be a power for good, building spiritual bonds that can unite humanity and bring different cultures, civilisations, faiths and academic disciplines closer together.
Today the GCGI is considered a leading progressive think tank, producing cutting-edge research and innovative policy ideas for a just, democratic and sustainable world. For the last 10 years, GCGI has helped shape the progressive thinking that is now the political centre ground. Independent and radical, we are committed to combating inequality, empowering citizens, promoting social responsibility, creating a sustainable economy and revitalising democracy. Best known for our influential work on Globalisation for the Common Good, Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, Value-led Economics and Business Education, Ecology, Environment & Sustainable Development, Interfaith Dialogue and more, we now have significant cooperative projects with a number of universities, think tanks and civil societies in many countries around the world. GCGI’s media programme and its influential online Journal, Journal of Globalisation for the Common Good, hosted at Purdue University, has since its inception in 2005 made significant contribution in furthering progressive goals in education and media policy.
What the GCGI seeks to offer- through its scholarly and research programme, as well as its outreach and dialogue projects- is a vision that positions the quest for economic and social justice, peace and ecological sustainability within the framework of a spiritual consciousness and a practice of open-heartedness, generosity and caring for others, by encouraging us all to know and to serve the common good.
The GCGI is a non-profit making initiative with no formal income, capital, seed money, or endowment. It has no bank account, cheque book, team of fund-raisers and accountants. This self-sustaining funding mechanism has been a key linchpin of our independence and integrity. At no point in our history has the GCGI been so reliant on external sources that if external funding is removed, the GCGI cannot continue.
The most precious capital that the GCGI has had is the calibre of its friends and supporters, including the universities that have hosted its annual conferences, and more, which with their love, trust and goodwill have committed themselves as partners in shared vision, to support the GCGI in a spirit of moral, spiritual and intellectual collaboration to further its work.
Reflecting on our shared journey for the common good, it is amazing to me that ten years have gone by so quickly. What began as a simple idea to share the practical wisdom of the common good, dialogue, love, generosity, kindness, and more has blossomed into an internationally recognized non-profit organization that has become a leading resource “inspiring people to do great things for the common good”.
From the very beginning, I knew that we will succeed, if we can reach-out to everybody around the world and be an all volunteer network of individuals, while approaching our growth organically and focusing on our vision and mission.
As you might imagine, in the initial days when we began sharing our vision of doing things for the common good, we were met with a great deal of scepticism, apprehension, and thankfully, some warm embraces and love. We were energized by all of those early experiences and continued to find ways to build ideas, programmes and initiatives around our main message and theme of Globalisation for the Common Good.
Perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been our ability to bring Globalisation for the Common Good into the common vocabulary and awareness of a greater population along with initiating the necessary discussion as to its meaning and potential in our personal and collective lives.
In the last ten years and so, similar to all those who have taken a similar value-based-journeys of self-discovery, I, too, have also realized that, “From the great oceans, vast plains and highest mountains that sustain our fragile and vital ecosystem, to our village friends and city dwellers that bring meaning to our common journey, we are quickly realizing that everyone and everything is interconnected and interdependent.
With each passing day, it is also increasingly evident in every corner of our world that great change is upon us and that by standing together in mutual respect, honour and dignity for one another, we will answer this call with creative, viable and sustainable solutions.
We must take the necessary steps now to reach out to our fellow humans and extend our hand in forgiveness, acceptance and genuine friendship. Our choices shall be made from compassion while embracing the richness of our amazing diversity. The love and acceptance we have for ourselves will be the source of our strength to assist others. Together we can and will make a difference through love.
These necessary changes may challenge us to the depths of our courage and test the very essence of our personal character, yet with each ensuing breath we shall remain in love and this love will be the very basis of a new era of peace and abundance, equality and goodwill for all”.
In short, at Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative we are grateful to be contributing to that vision of a better world, given the goals and objectives that we have been championing since 2002. For that we are most grateful to all our friends and supporters that have made this possible.
Therefore, yes, it is true: “Love, Trust, Respect and Gratitude Trumps Economics”.