Love
 
Ralph Waldo Trine

  

Our good friend, Henry Drummond, in one of his most beautiful and valuable little works, says--and how admirably and how truly!--that “Love is the greatest thing in the world.”  Have you this greatest thing?  Yes. How, then, does it manifest itself?  In kindliness, in helpfulness, in service to those around you?  If so, well and good, you have it.  If not, then I suspect that what you have been calling love is something else; and you have indeed been greatly fooled.  In fact, I am sure it is; for if it does not manifest itself in this way, it cannot be true love, for this is the one grand and never-failing test. Love is the statics, helpfulness and service the dynamics, the former necessary to the latter, but the latter the more powerful, as action is always more powerful than potentiality; and, were it not for the dynamics, the statics might as well not be.  Helpfulness: kindliness, service, is but the expression of love.  It is love in action; and unless love thus manifests itself in action, it is an indication that it is of that weak and sickly nature that needs exercise, growth, and development, that it may grow and become strong, healthy, vigorous, and true, instead of remaining a little, weak, indefinite, sentimental something or nothing.

It was but yesterday that I heard one of the world's greatest thinkers and speakers, one of our keenest observers of human affairs, state as his opinion that selfishness is the root of all evil.  Now, if it is possible for any one thing to be the root of all evil, then I think there is a world of truth in the statement.  

But, leaving out of account for the present purpose whether it is true or not, it certainly is true that anyone who cannot get beyond self robs their life of its chief charms, and more, defeats the very ends they have in view.

It is a well-known law in the natural world about us that whatever has not use, that whatever serves no purpose, shrivels up.  So it is a law of our own being that they who make themselves of no use, of no service to the great body of mankind, who are concerned only with their own small self, find that self, small as is, growing smaller and smaller, and those finer and better and grander qualities of their nature, those that give the chief charm and happiness to life, shrivelling up.  Such a one lives, keeps constant company with their own diminutive and stunted self; while those who, forgetting self, make the object of their lives service, helpfulness, and kindliness to others, find their whole nature growing and expanding, themselves becoming large-hearted, magnanimous, kind, loving, sympathetic, joyous, and happy, their life becoming rich and beautiful.  For instead of their own little life alone they have entered into and have part in a hundred, a thousand, in countless numbers of other lives; and every success, every joy, every happiness coming to each of these comes as such to themselves, for they have a part in each and all.  And thus it is that one becomes a prince among men, a queen among women.

Why, one of the very fundamental principles of life is so much love, so much love in return; so much love, so much growth; so much love, so much power; so much love, so much life--strong, healthy, rich, exulting, and abounding life.  The world is beginning to realize the fact that love, instead of being a mere indefinite something, is a vital and living force, the same as electricity is a force, though perhaps of a different nature.  The same great fact we are learning in regard to thought--that thoughts are things, that thoughts are forces, the most vital and powerful in the universe, that they have form and substance and power, the quality of the power determined as it is by the quality of the life in whose organism the thoughts are engendered; and so, when a thought is given birth to, it does not end there, but takes form, and as a force it goes out and has its effect upon other minds and lives, the effect being determined by its intensity and the quality of the prevailing emotions, and also by the emotions dominating the person at the time the thoughts are engendered and given form.

Science, while demonstrating the great facts it is today demonstrating in connection with the mind in its relations to and effects upon the body, is also finding from the very laboratory experiments that each particular kind of thought and emotion has its own peculiar qualities, and hence its own peculiar effects or influences; and these it is classifying with scientific accuracy.  A very general classification in just a word would be those of a higher and those of a lower nature.

Some of the chief ones among those of the lower nature are anger, hatred, jealousy, malice, rage.  Their effect, especially when violent, is to emit a poisonous substance into the system, or rather, to set up a corroding influence which transforms the healthy and life-giving secretions of the body into the poisonous and the destructive.  When one, for example, is dominated, even if for but a moment, by a passion of anger or rage, there is set up in the system what might be justly termed a bodily thunderstorm, which has the effect of souring or corroding the normal and healthy secretions of the body and making them so that instead of life-giving they become poisonous.  This, if indulged in to any extent, sooner or later induces the form of disease that this particular state of mind and emotion or passion gives birth to; and it in turn becomes chronic.

We shall ultimately find, as we are beginning to so rapidly today, that practically all disease has its origin in perverted mental states or emotions; that anger, hatred, fear, worry, jealousy, lust, as well as all milder forms of perverted mental states and emotions, has each its own peculiar poisoning effects, and induces each its own peculiar form of disease, for all life is from within out.  Then some of the chief ones belonging to the other class mental states and emotions of the higher nature are love, sympathy, benevolence, kindliness, and good cheer.  These are the natural and the normal; and their effect, when habitually entertained, is to stimulate a vital, healthy, bounding, purifying, and life-giving action, the exact opposite of the others; and these very forces, set into a bounding activity, will in time counteract and heal the disease-giving effects of their opposites.  Their effects upon the countenance and features in inducing the highest beauty that can dwell there are also marked and all-powerful.  So much, then, in regard to the effects of one's thought forces upon the self.  A word more in regard to their effects upon others.

Our prevailing thought forces determine the mental atmosphere we create around us, and all who come within its influence are affected in one way or another, according to the quality of that atmosphere; and though they may not always get the exact thoughts, they nevertheless get the effects of the emotions dominating the originator of the thoughts, and hence the creator of this particular mental atmosphere; and the more sensitively organized the person, the more sensitive he or she is to this atmosphere, even at times to getting the exact and very thoughts.  So even in this the prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled, “There is nothing hid that shall not be revealed.”

If the thought forces sent out by any particular life are those of hatred or jealousy or malice or fault-finding or criticism or scorn, these same thought forces are aroused and sent back from others, so that one is affected not only by reason of the unpleasantness of having such thoughts from others, but they also in turn affect one's own mental states, and through these one’s own bodily conditions, so that, so far as even the welfare of self is concerned, the indulgence in thoughts and emotions of this nature are most expensive, most detrimental, most destructive.

If, on the other hand, the thought forces sent out be those of love, of sympathy, of kindliness, of cheer and goodwill, these same forces are aroused and sent back, so that their pleasant, ennobling, warming, and life-giving effects one feels and is influenced by; and so again, so far even as the welfare of self is concerned, there is nothing more desirable, more valuable and life-giving.  There comes from others, then, exactly what one sends to, and hence calls forth from them.  And would we have all the world love us, we must first then love all the world--merely a great scientific fact.  Why is it that all people instinctively dislike and shun the little, the mean, the self-centered, the selfish, while all the world instinctively, irresistibly, loves and longs for the company of the great-hearted, the tender-hearted, the loving, the magnanimous, the sympathetic, the brave?  The mere answer because will not satisfy.  There is a deep, scientific reason for it; either this, or it is not true.

Much has been said, much written, in regard to what some have been pleased to call personal magnetism, but which, as is so commonly true in cases of this kind, is even today but little understood.  But to my mind personal magnetism in its true sense, and as distinguished from what may be termed purely animal magnetism, is nothing more nor less than the thought forces sent out by a great-hearted, tender-hearted, magnanimous, loving, sympathetic man or woman; for, let me ask, have you ever known of any great personal magnetism in the case of the little, the mean, the vindictive, the self-centered?  Never, I venture to say, but always in the case of the other.

Why, there is nothing that can stand before this wonderful transmuting power of love.  So far even as the enemy is concerned, I may not be to blame if I have an enemy; but I am to blame if I keep them as such, especially after I know of this wonderful transmuting power.  Have I then an enemy, I will refuse, absolutely refuse, to recognize them as such; and instead of entertaining the thoughts of them that they entertain of me, instead of sending them like thought forces, I will send them only thoughts of love, of sympathy, of brotherly kindness, and magnanimity.  But a short time it will be until they feel these, and are influenced by them.  Then in addition I will watch my opportunity, and whenever I can, I will even go out of my way to do them some little kindnesses.  Before these forces they cannot stand, and by and by I shall find that he or she who today is my bitterest enemy is my warmest friend, and may be my staunchest supporter.  No, the wise man is he who by that wonderful alchemy of love transmutes the enemy into the friend--transmutes the bitterest enemy into the warmest friend and supporter.  Certainly this is what the Master teacher meant when He said: “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you and despitefully use you: thou shalt thereby be heaping coals of fire upon their heads.”  For, thou shalt melt them:  before this force they cannot stand.  Thou shalt melt them, and transmute them into friends.

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Do you know what hurts so very much?  It's love.  Love is the strongest
force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain.  There are two
things we can do when this happens.  We can kill that love so that it stops
hurting.  But then of course part of us dies, too.  Or we can ask God to
open up another route for that love to travel.

Corrie ten Boom
The Hiding Place

   

  

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Love is that which is without condition, without limitation, and without need.
Because it is without condition, it requires nothing in order to be expressed.
It asks nothing in return.  It withdraws nothing in retaliation.  Because it is
without limitation, it places no limitation on another.  It knows no ending, but
goes on forever.  It experiences no boundary or barrier.  Because it is without
need, it seeks to take nothing not freely given.  It seeks to hold nothing not
wishing to be held.  It seeks to give nothing not joyously welcomed.  And it is
free.  Love is that which is free, for freedom is the essence
of what God is, and love is God, expressed.

Neale Donald Walsch
Friendship with God