REFLECTIONS: To love your neighbor
Great love has the potential to open the heart space and then the mind space. Great suffering has the potential to open the mind space, and then the heart space. Eventually, both spaces need to be opened, and for such people non-dual thinking can be the easiest. People who have never loved or never suffered will normally try to control everything with an either-or attitude, or all-or-nothing thinking. The closed system is all they’re prepared for. The mentality that divides the world into “deserving and undeserving” has never been let go of by any experiences of grace or undeserved mercy. This absence leaves them judgmental, demanding, unforgiving, and weak in empathy and sympathy. They remain inside of the prison of meritocracy, where all has to be deserved. Remember, however to be patient with such people, even if you are th target of their judgment, because on some level that is how they treat themselves as well .
Authentic love is of one piece. How you love anything is how you love everything. Jesus commands us to “Love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” and he connects the two great commandments of love of God and love of neighbor, saying they are “like” one another (Matthew 22:40). So often, we think this means to love our neighbor with the same amount of love – as much as we love ourselves – when it really means that it is the same Source and the same Love that allows me to love myself, and others, and God at the same time! That is unfortunately not the way most people understand love, compassion, and forgiveness, but it is the only way they every work. How you love is how you have accessed Love.
- Richard Rohr, The Naked Now