This week we welcomed Marianne Williamson, presidential candidate and internationally acclaimed spiritual leader, to talk about love as a force multiplier for good in society. More than just a gushy or sentimental feeling, Marianne eloquently conceptualizes love as an essential political, societal, and spiritual power than can uplift our country’s collective consciousness. With the politics of love, suffering can be diminished; peace, prosperity, and well-being can be established; and humankind can be enlightened.
Here are some of the myths about love that were shattered and the fascinating insights that we learned from our interview with Marianne Williamson:
*Love is a Reversal: Unconditional love, also known as Agape, Bhakti, or Karuna, is based on reversing our attention from me to we—by developing empathy and compassion for all life forms—and seeing ourselves in those who suffer and in those who love. As we spread our loving energy outwardly, we also enhance our own inner nature and spirit—giving the love we receive and receiving the love we give.
*Love is a Weapon for Good: Much more than a romantic or sentimental feeling, Love can be used as a practical tool to redress societal injustice, reduce suffering, and bring health, peace and prosperity to our society. Adapting from the Karate Creed, we can develop a Love Creed (set of beliefs which guide our actions):
I come to you with only Agape, Unconditional Love.
I have no weapons.
But should I be forced to defend myself, my principles, or my honor,
Should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong,
Then, here are my weapons,
Agape: Unconditional Love
Love is a Force Multiplier: A force multiplier is a factor that allows us to accomplish greater things than we could without it. In military terms, morale—the capacity for people to pull together for a common purpose—is a powerful force multiplier which greatly maximizes the fighting capacity of its troops. In the same way, those who love are in a war against those who hate. The way to defeat hate is to collectivize love (group it together) so that it becomes a weapon of mass healing and goodness. By volunteering for charitable and political causes, being well-informed about national and international affairs, and giving a helping hand those who need it, average citizens can multiply the power of love to defeat hate, anger, and prejudice.
Love is Optimism: Optimism comes from the root word, “Optimus,” to expect the best. When we are optimistic, we are happier, healthier, and contribute more to the world. Our children are a great source of optimism since they still possess the naturalness, openness, and zest for life that some adults lose as they get bogged down in the worries of the world. By helping children—economically, politically, and spiritually—we can recapture our own lost spirit of childhood hope and enthusiasm. When children have inadequate food, education, and material necessities, the enthusiasm and optimism of the world diminishes. When our children suffer, we suffer because our hope and future is tied with them. When children prosper and are healthy—emotionally, physically, and spiritually—we as a nation, and as individuals, also prosper and feel more love inside.
Love is Atonement: When we do something wrong or owe a debt, it’s important that we correct it or pay for our wrongdoing. This is called atonement and serves to set things right and purify ourselves. In Jewish tradition, it is called Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement); in Catholic tradition, it is called Confession. In a larger scale, atonement means giving compensation to certain groups for past injustice and oppression as well as educating ourselves and others about the dangers of tyranny and hate. Atonement in a society and governmental scale can purify the spirit of a nation, just as it can rebirth the spirit of the individual. There is great love to be found in atonement because we demonstrate both empathy (putting ourselves in the minds and hearts of others) and compassion (relieving the suffering of others).
Love is Gratitude: Gratitude is when you give thanks for the good that comes to you—recognizing that it comes from outside you; from a higher power, from loved ones, and even from strangers. Grateful people are among the happiest people on earth. One thing to be grateful for are the great contributions we have received from those who have come to this country and have left their mark of goodness, love, and advancement. At the same time, those who came here can also be grateful for the wonderful opportunities they have been given in this great nation of ours. Gratitude is a connector—instead of separating us into groups based on racial, religious, or cultural differences—we see that we are all the same inside. We all fear, we all feel sad, we all feel pain; yet we also all laugh, we dream, we serve, we grow, and above all, we love.
The Power of Love is Stronger than the Love of Power: In society today, the love of power and material gain has become the “monster within.” Forgetting the elements of spirit that make us truly divine and authentically human, too many people and institutions have forsaken basic decency and kindness for profit and ego-enlargement. Yet, we can recapture and enhance the power of love in our personal lives, as well as collectively in our society and government, by being politically active, choosing worthy causes to support, and offering financial, emotional, and spiritual assistance to those who need it the most.
Some may say that a society or government based on love sounds like a fantasy dream or unrealistic utopia. But the real fantasy is that we can survive another 100 years as a civilization if we don’t bring love into our societal and governmental structures, as well as into our interpersonal lives. In the end, Love will prevail because love is all that remains of who we are and what we have accomplished on earth. With Love as a force multiplier, we can vanquish fear and move into a new world order of love, kindness, compassion, strength, and elevated humanhood.