“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
― Mother Teresa
Spiritual teacher, Eknath Easwaran, maintains that love is a skill that all of us can develop but so few of us dedicate ourselves to it as a practice. As a skill, love is the ability to put the needs of the whole before one’s private, personal satisfactions; it is not (though it can include) a romantic feeling. Gandhi developed his method for nonviolent social change, Satyagraha, based on this concept of love, stressing that we can build new patterns of thought and new behaviors which draw upon our capacity to take on suffering and minor inconveniences in the cause of the well-being of all. This is learning how to love, as well as unlocking our potential for nonviolence.
When we apply this approach to any social ill, we see that they share the same root: a lack of love among alienated individuals. Undoing alienation will require the long-term vision of a dedicated group of individuals who strive to see their welfare in the welfare of everyone else. Loving means honoring a sense of unity at the heart level. It might sound simple, but the simple path is not always the easy one to follow. Easy or not, it is the most worthy cause toward which we can strive. And through this striving, by learning more every day how to truly love one another, by putting the needs of others first more often than our private satisfactions, we are working in a silent way to heal ourselves and our world from alienation and violence.