The Love: first thoughts and a review to come
I have been graciously invited to review a book called The Love: Of the Fifth Spiritual Paradigm. Published by The Oracle Institute, The Love is a compendium of wisdom that reminds me of Marilyn Ferguson's 1980 book, The Aquarian Conspiracy. At first glance, The Love could be The Aquarian Conspiracy for the 21st century.
My copy of the book arrived today, and a quick flip-through reveals references to Jerry Seinfeld, the Big Bang, Sisyphus, Sierra Leone, ancient Arabic poetry, seahorses, Joseph Campbell and a dog named Foxy. Authors, philosophers, sages and poets whose words grace these pages include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Susan McElroy, Aung San Sun Kyi, Rumi, and Bill McKibben.
From the introduction, a few phrases to whet your appetite:
Recently, the chasm has grown between those who are embracing Love and those who are not ... a few brave souls recognize that our current problems stem from spiritual confusion and stagnation...from a lack of Love ... Life is now being threatened on a global scale ... God is not sending a Messiah to save the righteous, or a Mahdi to destroy the sinners ... The truth is that we are responsible for what takes place on this planet.
How can we possibly be more response-able than to act with loving intention? Madeleine L'Engle, in her marvelous memoir A Circle of Quiet, recalls a conversation she shared with a 13-year-old girl named Cynthia:
"What about love?" I asked [Cynthia] as we were crossing the big meadow on the way home. "Can you prove anything about love?"
She held down an old strand of barbed wire for me. "I guess not."
"What is love?"
"No," I said, "a feeling is something love is not." Cynthia didn't like this; neither do I, lots of the time.
I asked her, "You love your parents, don't you?"
"Aren't there some days when all your feelings about them are bad? When you're furious with them, and all you feel is anger, or that they've been unfair?"
"But you still love them, don't you?"
... A friend of ours, Hugh Bishop of Mirfield, says in one of his books: "Love is not an emotion. It is a policy." These words have often helped me when all my feelings were unlovely. In a summer household as large as ours I often have to act on those words. I am slowly coming to understand with my heart as well as my head that love is not a feeling. It is a person.
The Love shows us what we are made of, what we're capable of, and what we can do with the power of practical, hands-on reverence for all that we are given. Love of earth, animals, family, community, learning, beauty and the arts, the self, freedom, and the Divine are explored -- and so are the different "flavours" of love that we can express, like romantic and unconditional love.
Larger cultural forces through history, especially religion, science, and philosophy, are examined ... and the authors of The Love come to wonder how close humanity may be to a pivotal paradigm shift in consciousness and species-wide change when
... the most fortunate people on the planet are fixated on money and infatuated by power (...) If people still cannot discern Truth, practice Love, or accept Light, what hope is there for the utopia described in all the holy books and foretold by all indigenous wisdom cultures?
There is hope, as long as we use it as a practical force and fuel it with all the reverence, humility and longing we can muster. We are love, in part -- and we can use that love to lay bare our hearts, and use our minds and hands for good.
Do pick up The Love. It'll be a lifetime read, and a holy book in its own right.
More to come!