i like to think about god when i wake up in the middle of the night. i had just finished deepak chopra’s new book on mohammed (review coming up soon). the many stories about the tribes, the complicated family relationships, the exchange with jews and christians, the interdependency with slaves – maybe that’s what made me come up with this idea: god is about community and cooperation. or maybe: god IS community and cooperation.
love your neighbour as you love yourself, says jesus.
give alms to the poor, says mohammed.
respect your parents, says the god of the old testament.
we are all one, says the buddha.
do not kill one living being, say they jain.
ren, a key concept in confucianism, is represented in chinese characters by the image of “human being” and “two”.
religions are, to a large degree, rules for living together. (i know, that’s not a new thought).
“if there were no god, it would be necessary to invent him,” voltaire said. who knows what a god is, whether god exists, and what it means for a god to exist. in my mind, these questions are often not that interesting – clearly, there are important levels at which god/gods exist.
however, i can see how it is through community and cooperation that gods could have been invented. evolutionarily, humans were desperately dependent on community and cooperation. we didn’t have the size of woolly mammoths, the adaptability of the cockroach or the fierceness of the sabre toothed tiger. huddling together, dividing labour, learning from each other as we developed tools were our only chances to survive. (banding together for raids and warfare apparently seemed like a good idea, too). building powerful rituals and stories around these communal means to survive made us stronger.
some notes on love from deepak chopra’s ageless body, timeless mind:
passion and commitment, love and dedication, self-worth and fulfillment – all are born in Being; they are qualities of the essential self that blossoms when you are free from narrow attachments
moments of nonattachment are characterized by perceiving the inner world as an open space with no boundaries; self-acceptance flows out into the environment. things “out there” seem intimate, an extension of self
this experience of unity is a good working definition of love
mostly, love appears as a feeling but the essence of love is not feeling – it is a state of being you need to find an outlet for your love. the more openly you experience love, the closer you will come to finding its essence
follow your bliss! bliss is the tingling rush of love in action
do not confuse immediate pleasure with love; love brings pleasure but in a profound way
love has depth after depth
love is the surest way back to Being
the force of love changes reality by changing the perceiver
harvard psychologist david mclelland looked at the physiology of love. physiologically measured love (rather than the thought of being “in love”) reveals “themes of dialogue, commitment, and harmony” rather than themes of “getting” something through love
when two people use their love for each other as a doorway into timeless love, the death of the loved one does not close the door to or deprive the other of the flow of love
use love as your mirror of the timeless; let it nurture your certainty that you are beyond change, beyond the memory of yesterday and the dream of tomorrow
come out of the circle of time and find yourself in the circle of love