Do not pretend that you love others as yourself. Unless you have realized them as one with yourself, you cannot love them. Don’t pretend to be what you are not, don’t refuse to be what you are. Your love of others is the result of self-knowledge, not its cause. Without self-realization, no virtue is geniune. When you know beyond all doubting that the same life flows through all that is and you arethat life, you will love all naturally and sponataneously. When you realize the dept and fullness of your love of yourself, you know thatevery living being and the entire universe are included in your affection. But when you look at anything as separate from you, you cannot love it for you are afraid of it. Alienation causes fear and fear deepens alienation. It is a vicious circle. Only self-realization can break it. Go for it resolutely.
An excerpt from : http://nisargadatta.net/IamThat3.html
Ouch, that stings. And thoughts about this kind of thing have been stressing me out lately. I grew up in a Christian family that was very insistent on helping others and loving others as yourself, even your enemies. We did it because it was in the Bible, and because we wanted to feel good about ourselves, not so much for the other person IMHO. This never made sense to me, because from an egoistic perspective how can you possibly love a character (e.g. one of your enemies) that has nothing that you love about them? However, this was just me not knowing what love is.
I think the confusing part of this sentence, where people assume, is the “self” part. Christianity promotes loving others as you love yourself. But what is the self? And what if you no longer believer your “self” just to be your individual consciousness, brain, and body? What if you believe that the “self” is actually just One Being that is coming in and out of life, defying time, defying space, working on Creation from a vantage point that it does not even recognize when it is playing in the game. What if you believe the Self to be every living being that has ever or will ever exist, what if you believe that Mother Nature is alive and taking care of us but yet ultimately is us because we are all the Being vibrating in many different ways?
So with that terrifying, mind-blowing perspective of believing myself to be the eternal witness / the Soul / the One who is Conscious, that leaves me to wonder… well am I alone? are all these other animals just versions of me that are just as alone as me? with our differences, how can we all come together?
And the very fact that I identify with other animals AS being myself, because I see so many conscious processes (thoughts, emotions, etc) going on with them that I can relate to from my own experiences…. this fact confuses the shit out of me because how can you love others if you think they’re you, aren’t you just loving you? isn’t that just ultimately self-centered? or perhaps this is the ULTIMATE TRUTH, the answer, is that there is no escape from yourself because you/we have always been. Our true self is formless/changeable, and we/I have just been running from ourself for infinity. I doubt it will stop. Every time we/I die, we go back to eternal peace/silence, and eventually get restless and have to create again. Just a hunch.😉 based on my experiences with people/psychology/psychedelics.
Maybe modern Christianity has gone off the rails, and the original message was to “view the world as a part of you”. Eckhart Tolle states that to love is to “Recognize the self in another.” If the self is the only conscious being, and one does not see others as separate, then Love has total different meaning. It stops being a reluctant guilty action of “there’s more than one living being in the world so I have to accommodate others” and starts becoming a “holy crap, we are all connected in ways we can’t imagine, why would I want to hurt any of these other lives/egos/stories that I’ve created?”
The part that still makes me doubt day-to-day is whether or not I am loving other living beings because I believe them to be myself in other forms, or because I actually believe that no matter what they are, they are as important as me. I think the latter is more true and pure, and the first makes me start thinking and worrying about whether or not I’m selfish and whether or not the whole universe is a neverending chaotic hellhole. ;)
You could argue that love is a survival mechanism, that we survive better with it and that it’s nothing more than just a random quirk of natural selection, and there is no ultimate deep meaning in it.
I disagree. Every human understands LOVE to be a higher power than anything of the mind. Love is why we’re here. Love is what we are. Love is what we believe in. Love is what we will return to. Love is unconditional and we cannot fail at this, there’s just infinite ways we can go about doing it, and some paths we will enjoy more, some less.
The biggest problem I see with love is that people forget it’s unconditional. They think if they do not love others sufficiently, then they themselves are undeserving of love. They avoid other people