“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness … the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. ”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1881 – 1955
Perhaps we are hot on the trail of discovering fire! In my evolutionary reading, I keep coming across references to love, compassion and connecting. These as not new words but it does begin to seem that without these qualities, the human race will have a difficult time surviving. And since evolutionary mechanisms develop qualities that will support survival, the emphasis on these three words is understandable although perhaps surprising in this day and age of materialism.
Three books about these subjects have moved me: Love for No Reason by Marci Shimoff, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong and The Bond by Lynne McTaggart. See Key Books
What strikes me is that all of these books recognize the difficulty of developing these qualities yet help the reader with clear incentives for investing the energy into this task and then provide the maps and tools for doing the work of learning to open your heart. These are not sentimental, nice words- kind of books. Nor do they have the commanding approach of telling everyone that they should love each other. This hasn’t worked very well throughout the ages.
Rather, each book presents helpful support to accessing these qualities. They provide a new paradigm of love that goes beyond the personality-self and presents research that shows we are actually hard-wired to bond! Learning to love beyond just what we need or want, becomes instead a “state of being” connecting both with yourself and with others. This can transform our experience of life, even in difficulties.
Examples of this are happening around the world today, sometimes providing quite amazing stories of even “enemies” working together for a common good. Stories like this abound in these books. They are inspiring and enlightening. It begins to seem possible. They show results that lead to feeling good. Could it be that we are learning what actually brings happiness and peace? That would be a big evolutionary advantage for humanity’s continued existence in an ever shrinking world.
As I write this, I am reminded of the Norwegian people in the aftermath of the terror tragedy on July 22nd. A few days after the actually tragedy, the entire nation of Norway suddenly began connected with each other. Differences of race and religion were forgotten. Important people spoke openly and freely about love and compassion- even on TV and in the newspapers. This was noticed by the rest of the world. It was also remarkable in Norway where love was not very common in public discourse. Although this has quietly slipped away again into old patterns, something touched our souls.
No one told the Norwegians that they needed to love and support each other after the tragedy! But love appeared and spread like wildfire over the entire country. A shared loss? This doesn’t necessarily bring love; revenge and hate could just as well have turned up. It was the young people themselves, those very one who had been attacked on the island, that declared that love, not hate, was needed now. And it felt good and right to move beyond the “self” to the community. Hard to forget was the contagious courage shown by the young woman who had just lost her mother on the island and barely escaped herself. She led the rows of mourners to the sea to lay down flowers on the memorial. And then she spoke, entreating everyone to find love and compassion in their hearts. I wonder if the young people were touched by an evolutionary wind!
Love and Beauty are close relatives. This video, filmed in the Arctic on the archipelago Lofoten in Norway is a tribute to love and perhaps awakens our Bond to Nature as well as to each other.