Category Archives: true love

Love as a Strategic Weapon

In a world where everyone seems to be trying to gain ascendancy over everyone else, there seems to be a fixation on weapons and strategies. We look for the super-weapon to destroy (or disable) our enemies, seek the best strategy to ‘win’ in love, or at work, or…wherever we go.

We militarize everything – even the spiritual path. We have spiritual ‘warriors’ these days, and loudly give them acclaim. We have the ‘battle between the sexes’ as if love and interaction are some sort of M.M.A. cage fight. We have a ‘war on drugs’, as if inanimate objects could fight us (in reality, we have a war on citizens who use drugs).

neanderthal

Our minstrels (court jesters) sing about sapphire bullets of love, and about beating our loved ones over the head with our ‘love.’ All we need is a good weapon to do it with, right? Our politicians make war against each other, and incite us to a sort of war against each other as well.

I literally find myself feeling sick as I contemplate our monstrous separation from each other. No wonder our planet seems to be going down in flames. People stockpile rifles and pistols, as a sort of safety blanket against the scary world they perceive. Most want even better weapons than they are allowed by our (purported) laws.

rpg

We’re just as fascinated by (and fixated on) ‘winning strategies’ as we are on weapons. Whole sections of book stores are dedicated to them…strategies to find love, to manifest love better, to get the job or mate or circumstances we so desire. Just as badly as we want super-weapons to crush the people and problems that lie before us  (or gain ascendancy over them), we want strategies to ensure we ‘win’ in life.

love tactics

These attitudes are the enemies of love. When we use weapons or make ourselves warriors, we are not really on the side of peace and love, no matter how loudly we proclaim we are. When we engage in strategies to plot how to unfold our lives, we are fighting against the natural flow, trying to force the universe to do it our way.

win at love

We search high and low, seeking these weapons and strategies. We go to seminars where others tell us how to find or use them…others telling us how to use the weapons they like as our own. We never question this massive solipsism, and often applaud these warmongers as ‘spiritual guides.’

half lotus skeleton

I gotta tell ya, any spiritual guide who tries to sell me weapons and strategies is nothing more than an arms dealer to me. Although these suggested strategies seem cloaked in visions of love and happiness, I know that love and happiness cannot be achieved or experienced by using weapons and strategies.

Still, we search on, like kids looking for an imaginary Pokemon they’ll never find. We look for a ‘better way’, better techniques, better tools and methods to accomplish what we want. All the while, we are ignoring the one ‘strategic weapon’ that could actually help us. Okay, I gave away the suspense in the title…it is love.

Yes, love is the ‘weapon’ we are looking for, the ultimate strategy we continually seek. Love…real love, as action, as an open heart, as compassionate acceptance of others and their sovereignty.

lotus 2

At first glance, the concept of love seems incommensurable with the concept of weaponry. Love is at its core (if anything) a healing and uniting tool, not a weapon. Love blossoms from the heart as a natural phenomenon, and is not made manifest by planned strategies. The two seem to be contradictions in terms. So how can I have the outright gall to suggest love is the ultimate strategic weapon? Am I as confused as the rest of our planet seems to be?

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Weapons obviously divide – there is one person at one end of the weapon (holding it metaphorically, as it were), and another on the receiving end. Weapons never bash us with enlightenment – they are made to hurt and harm, perhaps even kill. Even ‘humane’ weapons and ‘non lethal’ weapons share this attribute…one person is using force and the other is subjected to that force.

Love unites. So how could it be a weapon? It really can’t, if it wants to remain love. Yet love can have the end result that weapons intend (but never achieve). Weapons basically are used to get someone to do something you want them to do, or to stop them from doing something you want them to stop (such as living, or messing with your grandma, or whatever).

Weapons are all about force – a force that harms and divides. Love is about force, too – a force that unites. The two seem to be separated by a gulf, polar opposites, diametrically opposed to each other. So how could love be a weapon?

Say we want to get someone to bend to our will, or to force them to see things as we do. Why, we typically just grab a weapon (which could be simply arguments or the sharp side of our tongues) and start bashing until they comply…or run away. That has proven to be highly ineffective – yet we persist in hoping that with a new, improved weapon we might finally get us what we want.

What if instead we used love? Love implies understanding, compassion, acceptance, concern, and respect for the ‘other’. What if we used this anti-weapon as a weapon? Would we have a chance of accomplishing more with compassion, understanding, or acceptance – or will a bigger, better weapon get the job done? Would we get more bees with tasty honey than with bitter vinegar? Uh, let me ask a third grader, for they will surely know what we adults seem to have forgotten.

let love win

If we meet our enemies with understanding (or the desire to understand their issues), we might have a chance. If we meet them with acceptance of how they are (and a desire to find a solution acceptable to both of us), would we have a better chance of getting (if not what we want exactly) a mutually agreeable outcome? Will the sun rise tomorrow?

So yes, love can be a ‘weapon’…the only one that might work. The one peaceful ‘weapon’ we could possibly use.

squirrel bhakti

If this is possible, maybe love would also work as a strategy. Instead of plots and plans, what if we used love (and the open and heartfelt listening and consideration that results from real love)? Love’s strategies are simple…placing the other at the same level as the one in which we place ourselves. Granting the other the peace and understanding we desire for ourselves, could that work…or be a good first step towards communication and eventual harmony? Will the moon shine in the sky this month?

Strategies based on love (instead of the divisive self-interest they usually serve) might just work. They might just offer us a path for ‘getting to yes.’ We sure know that weapons and our ‘normal’ strategies aren’t working…just look around at our divided planet.

Tar and feather

In Nazi Germany, their endlosung (final solution) was to kill all those pesky Jews and Catholics and homosexuals, destroy all the liberals they could find. How did that work out for them? I suggest the real endlosung is to implement the strategies of love. It seems like a no-brainer, but who has tried it…really tried it on a large scale (or even a personal one)? Those who have we call the sages, the wise.

world supported

It disturbs me how insidious the power paradigm is. Today I read a meme post by a woman who is typically quite loving, a real yogi, someone who knows and practices the value of love. Her post said something like ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.’ Now that is a saying that is sure to unite us all, right? Wrong! It is as nonsensical as its idiot cousin phrase ‘you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish.’

Another woman I know (knew?) was of the idea that love was simply too overwhelming, that it distracted her from her ‘inner work’, led her off her ‘path.’ Now the question pops to my mind…what inner work or path is more important than cultivating and preserving love? What good is the watered-down pseudo-love that attaches to no person, which promotes no tangibly loving actions or attitudes? That is a travesty of love, a mockery of it, as far as I can tell.

Perhaps our world is becoming divided not into ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, or liberals and conservatives, rich and poor, but by those who persist in the Neanderthal notion that weapons and strategies will get us what we want and those who see love (and its attendant attributes and manifestations) as the only real answer.

Yes, I think the only real ‘strategic weapon’ is love. If love is the basis for our strategies, then perhaps the goals those strategies are meant to reach can be achievable. If love is the ‘weapon’ we use (not to get what we ourselves want, but to get what both want…or can accept), then maybe we have a chance.

Otherwise, one more weapon or strategy might just be the thing that puts us over the edge into planetary barbarism…people considering only what they and theirs want, and figuring the best strategy or weapon to get that (at the cost of others not getting what they want or need).

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One more stupid meme (which means ‘the same’ in French) originated by someone else and yet passed on unthinkingly by blind, sheep-like followers…that might just be the thing that sets off the conflagration – if not within the entire world, then in our own hearts and minds. Let that happen enough and the entire world will soon be running around yelling memes (ideas originated by others)…and acting on them.

old yeller

I suggest that if weapons are to be used, let’s try love as a ‘weapon.’ If strategies are to be implemented (or imagined) then let us base them on love. We might just have a chance that way.

Love. It is the only answer, the only valid response, the only hope for our fragmented and tattered planet. Love.

hearts two hearts

“All you need is love”

-Da Beatles

“This I command you, to love one another…”

-Yeshua (Jesus) the Nazarene Rebel

“Shine on the world, shine on me…love is the answer”

-England Dan and John Ford Coley

“Love is a rose but you’d better not pick it”

-Neil Young

“Love, love, love”

-Hippies and lovers everywhere (and every when)

food is love

(c) 2016 Mark Francis Mullen. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission (especially for profit). Facebook and other social media are granted no rights to this document or its contents, regardless of publication on their pages.
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Division and World Citizenship

Israelis and Palestinians…Iraqis and Kurds…Democrats and Republicans…black and white. The divisions among us increase on a daily basis. As we identify with a particular group, we create division between ourselves and other groups. Now, I’m not knocking group identities or cultural heritages, but I am saying this…

How about we first identify as Fellow Humans? Maybe next as citizens of the world…or as shipmates on Spaceship Earth. How would that be?

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If that were our primary identity, how would that change things? Would our current differences matter as much? Could we create space for healing and growth?

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Who benefits from our division? Certainly not us, no one on either ‘side.’ 

In a world where the smallest percentage of the population holds the most wealth and power, what do surface divisions matter? Would an equity among citizens of Earth result if we stood together and demanded equity of resources and wealth? What would we have to give up? Old attitudes? Selfish desires? Angry leaders who keep us divided?

If we see the world in a ‘zero sum mentality’ (to use Stephen Covey’s phrase), we see wealth and resources as finite, like slices from a single pie. More for you means less for me, in this paradigm. If instead we perceived things from an abundance mentality, we perceive that we could make more pies together, and all of us could have bigger slices. More for you means more for me. Would that be a better paradigm for cooperation? What stops us from achieving this?

pie       pies

The unarguable fact is that we are all together on this common planet. Any divisions (political, social, etc.) we make are contrived by us and us alone. These borders are imaginary, developed and promulgated by politicians and bureaucrats. 

Israel

What would we have to give up to achieve an equitable world? Would we have to give up any survival essentials? What if all we had to give up was outmoded attitudes? What if all we had to give up was identification with a group that considers itself separate from other groups of humans? What if all we had to give up was our apathy and our sense of dis-empowerment, to demand from our leaders such equity? What if all we had to do was lay down our weapons, pound our swords into plowshares?

art not war

What if instead of another F-35 fighter jet, we were to put that money into solving social inequities? What if instead of a second (or third) car or TV, we were to put that money into funds to help people obtain the things they need for survival? What if you kept your old     i-phone and gave the money you’d spend on a new 5-S to the poor?

I was watching a show on how to ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ the Israel-Palestine troubles. One apparently intelligent man argued that the cost would be billions of dollars and would take ten years or more. He said it as if that were a deterrent, an impossibility, as if asking where we could possibly get that kind of money.

The answer seems obvious: if the US had skipped the Iraq and Afghan wars, there would have been enough money and time to accomplish this…we spent more money and time making war (with no apparent gains) than that ‘expert’ projected it would take to create peace. That’s just one single country…what if all countries united in this, spent even a fraction of their ‘defense’ (war) budgets on their citizens?

What would we do if we created a different world, one where we didn’t starve our teachers and recruit more Marines? How would that world look? What would the world look like if the small percentage of the rich were to pay the same taxes as the poor, and that money were used to address world hunger, health, and survival issues?

I’m not suggesting solutions here, merely asking questions…

What if it was more important to be an American than a Democrat or republican? Would that have prevented our recent government breakdown? What if it was more important to be a citizen of the world than to be an American? Would that change things? Would our country act more responsibly, would it be a better world citizen, more a part of the world community, rather than a self-appointed world police?

Am I just a dreamer?

imagine wall

I think not. I am a lover, but I am also a pragmatist, a realist. All it takes is for us all to unite…not as Americans or citizens of countries, not as members of opposing groups, but as world citizens.

If we start from a place of unity and commonality, we have a hope. If we start from a place of division, we have scant little hope.

It’s not up to the government, or the UN, or someone else. It’s up to US…all of us.

world supported

Ten Reasons Not to Make Lists of Ten Reasons

Articles listing ten steps to anything you can imagine have blossomed on the blog and social media world. From ten steps to finding a lover to ten steps to ditching your lover, these articles by self-proclaimed experts abound. I tried to correlate the plethora of steps, see if I could reduce them into a common set of ten things. That just didn’t pan out, even using the massive super-computing power of my brain. What did become apparent is the truism that nothing can be contained in ten easy steps, and anyone who tries to tell you they can should probably come down out of their theoretical ivory towers and try that academic shit down here in the real world.

So first a recap of some common things I did find in these lists, and then on to the real list, the list of why we shouldn’t deconstruct the world into ten easy units of anything. Some of the things the lists did have in common:

a) be cool

 b) be authentic and speak/live your authentic truth

   c) the answer is inside yourself, not outside in some person or practice or belief or God

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That said, let’s move on…ten reasons why you shouldn’t make lists of ten reasons:

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1. It is an old trick, and no one can hope to compress the wisdom of life in ten simple              rules or steps

This looks good on Elephant Journal articles, and fits with our American penchant for           finding quicker, faster, simpler ways  to do things. Look where that got us…

2. It distorts through over-simplification

If you find the Buddha, kill him. If something looks like it is too simple, too black and               white, doubt it. Look for your own authentic truth within, not from some author’s list             (not even mine).

3. It is an exercise of ego

These lists serve more to make the author look wise than to truly distill the panorama of     human wisdom. They are exercises of the ego, which thinks that life can be reduced to           lists it contrives. Silly ego.

4. Rather than leading to common perception of truth and right action, these lists more       often serve to divide and  polarize.

Every list instills division in people, who may have ten lists of their own, lists that don’t         agree with our own. Comparing lists is like comparing anything…all it does is lead to              dissatisfaction and suffering. Even Buddha knows that.

buddha peace

5. Lists are for the absent-minded and OC. Real people live life as life occurs, not try to         force it to conform to rules

Do you really want to live life by a list? Do you really want to go through this marvelous       exhibition clinging to a list, checking if you comply? Come on, you are better than that.

6. No author can know you or what is right for you. 

Only you can know your own truth. You can know it the only way you possibly can,                 through your own experience, mindful observation, and reflection, not through my lists.

7. Lists of things are just lists of things. All meaning is imputed.

There it is. It is all things, all impermanent and illusory. That is not truth, just one                     conception of the truth.

8. Trying to encapsulate reality like this is really just trying to force my (or their) reality        down your throat, in a neatly packaged little ‘pill.’

You don’t want to live on my regurgitated ideas. Live instead on your own fresh ideas             (right or wrong). Try them out, and discover what your wisdom is.

9. Making lists simply tries to put the world and our actions in it into a nice, neat box.            Life is not that way.

Life is too large and subjective, too random and unpredictable to fit into little boxes              defined by our lists. If we try to live by     static lists in a changing and fluid world, we risk        becoming outmoded ideologues, fanatic fundamentalists, sycophants to others. No one      wants that, especially you.

10. No box can contain you or your ideas or motivations. No box can contain your truth.        No box is that big, and a box  built by only ten questions is not nearly big enough.

You are too big and beautiful to be fit in any box, boxes of expectations or                                  recommended actions. You are too big to limit yourself to ten of anything. life is counted      in the millions, the zillions, not in primary numbers. Nothing in life is black and white,            nothing is clear-cut enough to fit into a nice, neat list. Beware nice, neat lists, for they are      like clean desks – they indicate a diseased mind.

You are vast….far too vast to be put in – or stay in – a box of any type.

chakra

Author’s Note:  Of course, I peg the hypocrisy meter with this one…which is sort of the point of the article. No one can tell you with lists…yet I tried to use a list to tell you that lists are useless. LOL. Enjoy that natural dichotomy of life, the cognitive dissonance that rings in and behind our every thought, word,  and deed. Learn from it.

hypocrisy meter

On ‘Finding’ Love

Plenty of us are looking for love. Our romantic paradigm encourages us in this (as do the Web dating services, which sell a lot of advertising due to this misconception, and thus love to keep this sophistry intact). Our friends encourage us in this, whether they do it consciously or not. Our parents definitely encourage us in this (when are you going to settle down? when are you going to find a good man and get married?). Hollywood and Bollywood tell us this too, for their own greedy and distorted reasons. Everything tells us that love is to be found on the outside, in the Perfect Person.

I have a hot news flash for us all…that person is a myth; they do not exist. And love cannot be found outside ourselves. It can only be found (and manifested) within ourselves, and then shared with others. Others are not the source of love, but perhaps they are someone who we can share love with, with whom we can learn and live the lessons of love.

Here’s another hot flash on love – you can’t make love. It either exists and wells up within us naturally, or it doesn’t. Love is a gift, it is not something that can be achieved, or worked for, or made. Love is not a thing, and it is not a feeling. It is a sequence of loving actions, a lifetime of loving attitudes. Love is communion. Through this holy communion with another, we can learn more about the holy communion with the Divine.

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Love is an ongoing lesson. It is a destination, never arrived at, but only pointed to. Love is a teacher. Through love we learn how to give of ourselves, how to manifest love in our hearts, our actions, our attitudes…in our being. Yet we continue to perceive love as a thing – as something that can be found, if we just look hard enough. We, the lovelorn, seek it and hope to find it. Can one find the sunrise, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Still, we try.

Many of us waste our entire lives looking for love (instead of being love). We search high and low, thinking we might find it in this girlfriend, in that lover. We never give up hope…the false hope that keeps us searching for the un-findable: like a miner looking for the mother lode, like a child searching for Easter eggs after there are no more to be found. We look. We search. We hope. These disordered actions keep us in a sort of slavery: slavery to an idea, a concept, an ideal that may not even exist. Still, we look,

Love cannot be found – it can only be lived. We will not find love – it will find us…if we live lives of love and manifest it in our every thought, word, and deed. Love will find us when we are ready, when we can hold our own spaces, when we are able to forge love in the crucible of truthful, meaningful personal interactions.

Love has wings. It can just as easily fly away from us as towards us. Love comes and nests in our hearts – if we nurture it, care for it, feed it by the actions of our love. Love requires open-hearted vulnerability. It requires trust, and no small degree of faith. It requires all the things the sages told us are Good: patience and truth, kindness and consideration. Love requires compassion – and is compassion – of the deepest and fullest sort. Love requires presence of mind, of heart, of being. It requires us to remember who we are, and who the other is. It requires care and time, to grow into the fruitful blossoming it promises in potential.

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Love (in its more limited conception and manifestation) can be a burden. Love (in a more authentic version) can be a gift, a blessing, a joy. In love, we ascend together. In love, we augment each other, help raise each other up to truer, fuller versions of ourselves than we ever thought possible. In love, two already complete people somehow complete each other, in ways they never suspected were possible.

If my love requires the presence of another person to manifest, I will undoubtedly spend much of my time in suffering. Other people (and ourselves, of course) are notoriously fickle, subject to whim and circumstance. The love that requires another to exist is always held hostage, for it depends on another. Love that accepts and abides will never die, for it blossoms independently of others and their actions.

When these types of true love (heart and action-based) merge and combine, they are glorious, beautiful to hold and sublime to experience. These loves know that love exists NOW, in this loving moment. They know its shadow may leave, but the substance remains. In true love, we accept the autonomy and choices of another. We know that loving may be releasing as much as it is holding. Love is accepting and allowing – each of us to be what we are, to live and love as we discern best in the moment. That love is a rock…it endures.

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It lies dormant within us. It cannot be found or discovered – only uncovered and allowed to bloom.

So we can try to find love. We will find love, if we look in the only place it can be found – in our own hearts. As long as we try to find love outside ourselves, we will always be searching, always seeking but never finding…for eternity. That sounds like a sort of hell to me. Once we look for (and allow) love from within, we have a real chance of ‘finding it.’ Yet as we do, we realize it was there all along; never lost, never to be found.

It was (and is) within us always. As it unfurls, it ripples outward in the world, illuminating and bathing it with love. It spreads and ascends, and meets with Pure Love…that ineffable Source that some call God or Goddess. Whatever it is called, this Source magnifies our puny concepts and manifestations of love…and sends it back to us, in love. That sounds like a sort of heaven to me.

So the secret to finding love is looking in the right place. Once you find love within yourself, you will then find it everywhere, in all things, in all beings and all circumstances. Then, we can swim in the sea of love, bathe in it, and share its waters with our Beloved. Then we will not find or experience love – we will BE LOVE.

My Love
My Love (Photo credit: Jennuine Captures)

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