There is no way to love, love is the way

by Rev. Dr. Bill Bartlett, Reno Gazette Journal, Feb 10, 2007

Reno, Nevada (USA) -- The late French sage Teihard de Chardin wrote, "Some day, after mastering the winds, the tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man (humans- my addition here) will have discovered fire."

Nothing can happen in the future that doesn't have its seeds in the present moment. The real time to awaken to the energies of love is now. I believe "discovering fire for the second time" refers to seeing the light of love, wisdom and compassion that shines on all of us. In Buddhism this is called "deep hearing of the light" or Monpo.

Yet, honestly, is it really possible to love all beings? We all sense a certain madness with our passion for immediate gratification and consumerism, our 50,000 nuclear bombs, our egregious environmental destruction, our insane religious hatreds, our lack of concern for our homeless and our mentally ill, our poor, our addicted brothers and sisters with no health insurance and our prejudices of gender, color and sexual preference.

Is it possible in such difficult and polarized times to hear the light of love? Some say it is just wishful thinking. Others, optimists like Chardin and myself, believe that we can harness the energies of love.

There is an old Vietnamese saying. "Chicks born of the same hen have to paint their faces to fight."

This wise proverb recognizes something that we already know. We have to resort to lunacy to create differences so we may hate each other.

The historical Buddha taught, "In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible." It is most certainly still true today.

I noted immediate gratification as one of the raging issues on our society.

A friend of mine was a prison chaplain. He said many of the inmates would present themselves at his office wanting to be seen immediately. He would tell them to sit outside and wait their turn, mentioning that their insistence on demanding immediate gratification was probably a factor leading to incarceration.

This truly is the familiar downside of immediate gratification. Humorously, he told me that these inmates nicknamed him "Chaplain Hard-Ass."

It occurs to me there is an up side to immediate gratification when harnessing the energies of love. My experience -- when I am able to harness a higher form of loving others and recognizing our oneness, I get a positive sense of grace and some immediate gratification. Actually I notice that my day goes better when I am successful in practicing love. Try it for yourself.

May ours hearts forgive without limits and our love for our friends and foes be without measure as we awaken to the energy of love.

The Rev. Dr. Bill Bartlett is assistant priest at Reno Buddhist Church.