WHERE THERE IS HATRED, LET ME SOW LOVE
I want to make sure you are all awake because we are doing some very, very important and timely work today and every Sunday this month. And I don't want to have to resort to more drastic measures such as the wife of the farmer who kept falling asleep in church. Would you like to hear what she did?
This is the story of Wilbur, the farmer, and his long-suffering wife, Leah. As a farmer, Wilbur worked very, very hard. He worked so hard that whenever he came into the house from the field and sat down, he would fall asleep. This became a habit -- whenever he sat down, he'd fall asleep. Well, this habit extended to church. So, every Sunday, Wilbur and Leah would dress up in their Sunday best, arrive at their little country church, and shortly after sitting down in the pew, he would start to nod off. It didn't matter how riveting, how stimulating, how exciting the minister was, Wilbur would fall asleep.
Leah was embarrassed by his behavior, especially when he began to snore. She tried everything to keep her sleepy spouse awake. She complained to him that she was getting calluses on her elbow from poking him in the ribs in a futile attempt to keep him alert.
One day while shopping in the grocery store, she saw a small package of Limburger cheese, and an idea came to her. She bought the cheese and dropped it in her purse. The next Sunday morning a few minutes into the sermon Wilbur began to nod. Soon he began to snore. Quietly, Leah opened her purse, unwrapped the package of Limburger cheese and held it under Wilbur's nose. It worked.
His eyes shot open, he sat up straight and, in a voice that could be heard all over the church, said:
"Leah, will you please keep your feet on your own side of the bed!"
As I said, before the really bad joke, in the month of March, we are doing some very, very important and timely work, so it is important that you stay awake.
We are exploring the profoundly beautiful prayer known as the Prayer of St. Francis.
And whether we come from a Catholic background, a Jewish background, a Buddhist background or no religious background whatsoever, this prayer has a message for us -- a message that is particularly important for us especially at this time in the history of the evolution of humankind. And so we are all on the same page, let me recite it:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console, To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Although this prayer was spoken almost 800 years ago, it is as a timely reminder of our responsibility to be bearers of:
peace * love * pardon * faith * hope * light AND joy
now more than ever!
Each week we are exploring and embodying a line or two from the first half of this prayer. Last week, we looked at the first -- "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace" -- and I gave you all an assignment. Anyone remember what it was? (Three times a day, find a way to be an instrument for peace). How did that go? BRIEF SHARING.
Today we are going to explore the second line in the prayer: Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, was asked, toward the end of his life here on earth: If you had it to do over again would you change anything about this teaching, and specifically, about what you wrote in the Science of Mind textbook, the book which sets forth the belief system of this teaching?
And his answer was: Yes, I would have changed something -- I would have focused less on the law and more on love!a
Why would he have said that?
Well he answered this question in two very powerful, but brief, sentences in the Science Of Mind textbook: Love is the grandest healing and drawing power on earth. It is the very reason for our being.b
Love is at the very root of our nature. Our being requires love, we cannot exist without it. Love is a central theme to all spiritual paths. Just look at this list of paraphrases from various spiritual belief systems:
Hinduism: One can best worship the Lord through love.
Buddhism: Let a man cultivate toward the whole world a heart of love.
Confucianism: To love all men is the greatest benevolence.
Sikhism: God will regenerate those in whose hands there is love.
Judaism: Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself.
Christianity: God is love and he that abideth in Love abideth in God, and God abideth in him.
Metaphysics: In arms which are all inclusive, Divine Love encompasses everything.
And so, it is our role as spiritual beings to sow love wherever we go -- particularly where there appears to be hatred. What exactly is hatred?
Wayne Dyer has an interesting perspective of hatred in his book There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem. First he sets the premise: You can see contending forces of good and evil, love and hatred everywhere. Many believe that these two opposing forces in the world are God versus the devil. I have spent considerable time in this book attempting to disavow such a preposterous notion. How is it possible for both God and the devil to exist if there is only one creator and one power in the universe? It is not! There is only God, and God is only love.
NOW TRY THIS IDEA ON FOR SIZE -- ARE YOU READY? He goes on to write: For me, the truth about hatred is that hate is love. That's right, I perceive hate as love energy (which is the only energy there is) going in the opposite direction. All hatred can be transcended by loving because love really is all there is. The feeling and expression of hate simply must be reversed to head in the opposite direction. In the ancient Dhammapada (the sacred scripture of the Buddhist tradition) we are reminded that hating ceases by loving, not by hating. This is why St. Francis asked God for the ability to bring love to the presence of hatred, and thus remove the illusion that hate exists.c
Hate = Love energy going in the wrong direction. Hate ceases by loving, not by hating.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but he resisted it with love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love.d
So, our mission, according to St. Francis, according to the Dhammapada, according to Ernest Holmes, according to King and Ghandi, according to Wayne Dyer -- is to sow love wherever there is anything than does not look like love.
1. WE MUST BEGIN WITH SELF-LOVE
And I want to suggest that the place to start is right inside. If you have places within your heart where hatred for yourself resides, it is incumbent upon you to let love replace this hatred as well. You may be thinking, well if she only knew how dark it was inside of me, how many things I have done wrong, how many times I have messed up or how bad I really am, then she wouldn't be saying this.
Consider St. Francis. The man who bore the stigmatic of Christ, the man who tamed wild animals with his holy presence, the man who miraculously healed the sick, the man who preached unconditional love and the man who was elevated to sainthood was not always so! In fact, he grew up wealthy and completely indulgent. Later in his life, he told a friend, I have done and been everything you can think of that is abhorrent and unholy.
If it is true of St Francis, surely you can take a look at all of your unholy actions and thoughts and recognize the need to forgive yourself and replace that self-hatred with self-love.
Dyer writes: Everything you have ever done for which you may carry around self-contempt is in the past. So don't spend any of today entertaining self-hate. Remember that the truth about hate is it is love, only it is going in the wrong direction. Shift your gears into reverse and begin moving your thoughts in the direction of love. Self-forgiveness is the means to accomplish this reversal. All your errors of the past, mistaken judgment, and self-perceived flaws occurred because they had to. You needed to be there in that darkness in order to be able to transcend it.e
As for focusing on your flaws -- I love Wayne Dyers attitude: This is an insult to God, plain and simple. You are a divine piece of God, flawless. Since God is good and all that is created of and by God is also good, there are no mistakes, no flaws.
A little girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own soft, smooth cheek, then his. Then hers and then his again.
Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make you?" "Yes, sweetheart," he answered, "God made me a long time ago."
"Oh," she paused," Grandpa, did God make me too?" "Yes, indeed, honey," he said, "God made you just a little while ago."
Feeling their respective faces once again, she observed, "Wow, God's getting better at it, isn't he?"
Actually, no, God doesn't get any better at it -- we are all flawless!
Science of Mind: We should definitely, daily declare the Truth about ourselves, realizing that we are reflecting our statements into Consciousness and that they will be operated upon by It. This is called, in mysticism, High Invocation, invoking the Divine mind, implanting within It, seeds of thought relative to oneself. And this is why some of the teachers of olden times used to instruct their pupils to cross their hands over their chests and say: "Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful me!" definitely teaching them that as they mentally held themselves, so they would be held .f
Let's try that exercise that Holmes tells us some of the teachers of olden time used: cross your hands across your chest and say: "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful me!" Now say it again like you really mean it!
Always remember that you are connected eternally to God. You are a divine creation, and you do not need to reject your divinity any longer.
As a spiritual being, your worthiness is a given. You are a piece of God. Remind yourself of this truth whenever you resort to any form of self-hatred. Forgive yourself and you are sowing love in your energy field, which can then flow out to others.
2. LOVE OTHERS
Dear Lord --
I'm proud to say, so far today - I've got along all right;
I have not gossiped, whined or bragged, - Or had a single fight.
I haven't lost my temper once, - Or criticized my mate.
I have not lied, I have not cried, - Or loudly cursed my fate.
So far today I've not one time - Been grumpy or morose,
I've not been spiteful, cold or vain, - Self-centered or verbose.
But, Lord, I'm going to need Your help - Throughout the hours ahead,
So give me strength, Dear Lord, for now . . . I'm getting out of bed.
Jesus was once asked by a scribe which commandment was the greatest. And Jesus said that you are to love God first and love your neighbor as yourself. This scripture points to the importance of expressing love in our life, directed by the wisdom of Spirit.
In the Science Of Mind, Ernest Holmes comments on this passage and says: . . . To love God alone is not enough, for this would exclude our fellowman. To love our fellowman alone is not sufficient, for this would be too limited a concept of God. When we realize that God and we are One and not two, we shall love both. We shall love one another as expressions of God, and God as the Life Principle in all.g
So what do we do when we are faced with people who appear to be operating from the flow of love in the opposite direction?
Dyer suggests that hatred comes from those who feel hated in some way. There are two ways you can help to change that feeling. One, by letting people with hateful behavior see that you personally have only love for them, and two, by your seeing through the behavior to their Truth.
Here's a profound piece of spiritual advice from one of our members: Choose to see more in people than they are showing you.
You may be thinking that all of this love stuff seems too theoretical and theological to apply when you are in an encounter with someone who is directing hate your way.
But be assured that your simple recognition of hatred being a form of misdirected love and a reflection that a person feels unloved is enough to disempower and release the hatred. Just listen to this . . .
Dyer received a letter from a woman who was faced with an extreme situation of hatred and violence. She was able to bring love to the presence of this hatred in a moment of deep fear and terror. Prior to writing the section of the letter I am about to read, she had shared with Dyer that just a week before this incident she had been listening to tapes of his about practicing unconditional love:
On Friday morning around 2:30 a.m., I was awakened from my sleep by a masked man holding a knife to my throat. At first, I thought I was just having a nightmare, but then soon realized that I was in real time and this person was really there, and I was terrified. He taped my hands behind my back and cut into my nightgown with a knife. I realized that I had a choice to fight and possibly get hurt badly or just quietly go along and hope for the best. I chose the latter and I was able to detach myself from what was happening to a degree.
Then suddenly, I got really calm and I started talking to him. The thoughts from your tapes must have come back to me because the words I said were not what one would naturally say in this situation. I began asking him questions and he responded. He told me he was from LA and needed money and a car to get back there. The words that came out of me were 'You're such a nice young man, would you like me to pray for you? God, help this nice young man to get the money he needs to go to LA and help him to be happy and to have a good life.'
I asked him if he had a girlfriend and he said yes, in LA. I then asked him if he had any children and he said 'No, would I be here if I had any children?' I said, 'I have children and grandchildren and they are so wonderful. You should get together with your girlfriend and have children some day.' I continued to talk to him as if he were a nice young man and he eventually said, 'this isn't working,' and after a short time left me unharmed. On his way out, he said to me, 'you are such a nice lady.'
I attribute my ability to be calm and use kind words in this situation to having listened to your tapes, which I know without a doubt came back to me and gave me that extraordinary peacefulness and strength and words of kindness. And now I want to thank you very much for sharing your life and wisdom, which have provided such wonderful alternatives to getting caught up in things.
That was a pretty big thing to get caught up in, and it is my deepest hope and desire that none of us ever have to call forth love from our depths in a situation like or similar to this one, but what a testament to the power of love it is!
It is proof that when we sow love in the face of hatred, hatred cannot survive. Just like when we turn on the light, darkness cannot survive! It's just not possible.
Teilhard de Chardin, a French monk and 19th century mystic, wrote: Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love - and then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will discover fire.h
This week, I invite you to find ways to discover fire as you sow love, for yourself and for others, wherever you go!
bErnest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook p. 298
cWayne Dyer There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem
dRev. Martin Luther King Jr.
eWayne Dyer There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem
fErnest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook, p. 295
gErnest Holmes Science Of Mind textbook p 459
hTeilhard de Chardin