A focus on Love as a task for human beings and the earth evolution ~
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (First letter of Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:13)
“A new task and aim I give you: Love one another! As I have loved you, so you should love one another.”(Words of Christ, John 13:34)
“Let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love has not recognised God, for God is love.”(1 John 4: 7-8)
THE HYMN TO LOVE
Yet I will show the way which is greater than all others.
If I speak out of the Spirit with the tongues of men and of angels: if I am without love, then my speaking remains as sounding brass or tinkling cymbal. And if i had the gift of prophecy and could speak of all mysteries and could impart all knowledge and, further, had the power of faith which removes mountains; if I am without love, then I am nothing. And if I were to give away everything that is mine, and lastly were to give away even my body for burning, if I am without love, then all is in vain.
Love makes the soul great
Love fills the soul with healing goodness
Love does not know envy,
It knows no boasting,
It does not allow a falseness,
Love does not harm that which is decent,
It drives out self-seeking,
Love does not allow the inner balance to be lost,
It does not bear a grudge,
It does not rejoice over injustice,
It rejoices only in the truth.
Love bears all things,
Is always prepared to have faithful trust,
It may hope for everything and is all patient.
If love is truly present, it cannot be lost.
The gift of prophesy must one day be extinguished, the wonder of languages cease, clairvoyant insight come to an end. Our insight is incomplete, incomplete is our prophesy.
But one day the perfect must come, the complete consecration-aim; then the time of the incomplete is over. When I was still a child, I spoke as a child, and I felt and thought as a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Now we still see everything in dark outlines, as in a mirror. Some day we will see everything face to face. Now my insight is incomplete, but then I shall stand in the stream of true insight, in which recognising and being recognised are one.
We find permanence which bears all future within it in the exalted triad:
And in love.
But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8*)
* J Madsen translation, The New Testament, Floris Books
Buddha and love – a meditative exercise
When your mind is filled with love, send it in one direction, then a second, a third, and a fourth, then above, and then below. Identify with everything, without hatred, resentment, anger, or enmity. This mind of love is very wide. It grows immeasurably and eventually is able to embrace the whole world. Practise the same way with your mind filled with compassion, then joy, then equanimity. (Madhyama Agama, Sutra 86)
The Greek words for love
The ancient Greek language and the philosophers of ancient Greece recognised eight words for love, reflecting different forms in which it may express itself.
Plato’s dialogue, has love as its topic; Platonic love is a familiar concept, where love is no longer love of the body and its physical beauty but love of the spirit, of the divine, in other human beings. In the speech of Socrates, he speaks of the “ladder of love“: ‘The Ladder of Love is a metaphor that relates each step toward Being as consecutive rungs of a ladder. Each step closer to the truth further distances love from beauty of the body toward love that is more focused on wisdom and the essence of beauty.’ (Wikipedia) Each step of the ladder uses a different word to define it.
‘We have found a path’
I have looked into the deepest depths of man,
I know the world to its foundation stones.
Its meaning, I have learned, is Love alone,
And I am here to love and ever love again.
Short texts from Rudolf Steiner on Love
from four of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures —
“What love is, is something so complex, that no human being should have the pride or audacity to ‘define’ love or to claim to see through it without further ado. Love is complicated. We perceive it, but no definition can possibly express love. There is one picture, a simple sense picture: imagine a glass of water that, the more you pour out from it, the fuller it becomes – that gives us an impression of one of love’s qualities.” (R. Steiner in ‘Spiritual Beings in the Heavenly Bodies and in the Kingdoms of Nature‘, lecture in Helsingfors, 5 April 1912)
“What then is essential for love? What is essential in order that one person love another? It is this – that he be in possession of his full self-consciousness, that he be wholly independent. No one can love another in the full sense of the word if this love be not a free gift of one person to another…
Christ is the bringer of the impulse of freedom from the law, that good may be done, not because of the compulsion of any law, but as an indwelling impulse of love within the soul. This impulse will still need the remainder of the Earth evolution for its full development.” (R. Steiner in ‘The Gospel of John’, lecture in Hamburg, 1908).
“Love is higher than opinion. If people love one another, the most varied opinions can be reconciled… this is one of the most important tasks for humankind today and in the future: that we learn to live together and understand one another. If this human fellowship is not achieved, all talk of esoteric development is empty.” (R. Steiner)
“For the earth, the death of Jesus was the birth of something else, something which earlier was present everywhere outside of the earth: the all-pervasive Love, the cosmic Love… At the moment when Jesus departed from his body on the cross of Golgatha, there was born for the earth something which earlier was only present in the cosmos. The death of Jesus of Nazareth was the birth of cosmic love within the earth sphere.” (R. Steiner, in ‘From the Akashic Record; The Fifth Gospel’, 2nd lecture)
Further texts on love ~
In the realm of the heart of the sun which is Christ,
each person bears the other person’s burden. True
community is revealed where sin is replaced by forgiveness
and love. Forgiveness is not just getting rid of something,
it is also something positive, a gift. Only those can for-give
who possess inner riches, who can turn evil into good
Egotism erects its center in itself; love places it out of itself in the axis of the universal whole. Love aims at unity, egotism at solitude. Love is the citizen ruler of a flourishing republic, egotism is a despot in a devastated creation. Egotism sows for gratitude, love for the ungrateful. Love gives, egotism lends; and love does this before the throne of judicial truth, indifferent if for the enjoyment of the following moment, or with the view to a martyr’s crown–indifferent whether the reward is in this life or in the next.