January 16, 2018, Prescott- Dolores O’Riordan had a powerful voice, calling out those who exacerbated tension and bloodshed, in her Irish homeland and appealing to those who take the feelings of loved ones lightly, to think deeply about their choices in life.
I’m thinking of her,now, in the wake of an untimely passing and on the heels of some very harsh judgments, flying in all manner of directions. Dolores both made rash judgments and received quite a few, over a 25-year public career. She made amends for the former and absorbed the latter, as many of us do, in similar straits. I find her music compelling, regardless.
The ego leads us into horrible choices, even among those who have dedicated their lives to the welfare of humanity. I have made plenty of my own, and I know of many others who have, as well. In each case, there are people who could come forward and point fingers. We’ve seen quite a bit of that, lately, and in most cases, the accused could probably stand to make amends, if they have not already been made.
The ego leads us, also, to set conditions on our love for others. Christ says:
“You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends.
If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.” (CEV)
“Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7) , and, through His eldest son and interpreter, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, He admonishes us:
“The greatest gift of man is universal love – that magnet which renders existence eternal. It attracts realities and diffuses life with infinite joy. If this love penetrate the heart of man, all the forces of the universe will be realized in him, for it is a divine power which transports him to a divine station and he will make no progress until he is illumined thereby. Strive to increase the love-power of reality, to make your hearts greater centers of attraction and to create new ideals and relationships. First of all, be ready to sacrifice your lives for one another, to prefer the general well-being to your personal well-being. Create relationships that nothing can shake; form an assembly that nothing can break up; have a mind that never ceases acquiring riches that nothing can destroy. If love did not exist, what of reality would remain? It is the fire of the love of God which renders man superior to the animal. Strengthen this superior force through which is attained all the progress in the world.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 111-112)
Satan, the personification of the dark aspects of the ego, is clever, as the human mind is clever. It can get a person to do and say the most heinous of things, even in the name of the Lord. It can make a person fear those who mean no harm, and embrace those ready to apply a dagger to the back. It can lull a soul into complacency, whilst raising the hackles of another, leading to lost spiritual growth, in each of them. It leads to disease, contention and strife. Yet, this is not some one of the supernatural dark forces, being summoned, (though these do exist). It is the power of a person’s own ego, or of the collective ego, manifest in a community. The time is now, to work at channeling our egos towards love, and away from self-aggrandizement.
I have said enough, for now, and will have more to say about love, in an upcoming post.