Watch: How can you grow in the ways you give and receive love?
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Transcript of Video:
As we look for ways that we can love more, love more deeply, all those with whom we share our life, there are certain practices that might help us to distinguish between love and attachment. If we think about the way that the Johannine writings and scriptures speak about love, you know, we think “God is love,” “we love because God first loved us,” and “as Christ has loved us, so we should love one another.” So I think first a Rule of Life, our spiritual practices, the whole rule itself should help us to remain centered in that primary fact that we are loved by God and that all of the love that we give or receive is just God’s love. It’s not our possession, it’s not our product. If we are attempting to, I think, to manufacture it in our own strength as something that is just ours of this little limited quantity that we can give or receive, it is easy for our love to become attachment, which essentially is love without freedom, which is impossible. So when we are attached there is this sense that there’s something blocking that primacy of God’s love, of which all human love is just a reflection, a conduit.
So one thing we might do is just simply periodically, as part of our Rule of Life, review all of the relationships in our life. The relationships in which we are conscious of cultivating love with a spouse, a friend, a family member, and just sit down and perhaps review internally how much freedom is there in this relationship. How much am I getting stuck? Might this person or this relationship sometimes become a substitute for the love of God? Or is this relationship like a window through which the love of God is passing to you? So how attached might you be? And is your freedom being limited or is the freedom of the person you are loving, the freedom of your beloved, being limited by your attachment?
– Br. Keith Nelson