Big Love and Good Questions

Detail from "Recognition," mixed media by Kanta Bosniak, collection of the artist

Detail from “Recognition,” mixed media by Kanta Bosniak, collection of the artist

On this Valentine’s Day, I am thinking about Big Love. Love as wonder-full (agape) and love as kindness, compassion, affection, and friendship (philia). I was raised as a Christian mystic, in a denomination which referred to all members as Friends. (Society of Fiends/ Quaker) and I loved the words of the Founder of Quakerism, George Fox, “…walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.”

When in my college days I began to study Eastern philosophy, I realized that these words might easily be translated as being in a state of “Namaste” consciousness.

Reading a quote by Archibald Macleish, “Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves,” got me to thinking about what in Quakerism would be called queries. Questions that may not have pat and immediate answers, but rather prompt soul-searching, moral inventory, and spiritual growth. There are so many wonderful teachings of world religions and sacred texts that can inspire us to ask “hard questions.” The ones that immediately spring to mind are from my Christian upbringing, though they can, of course, also be found in other spiritual traditions.

I don’t actually think of these as “hard questions,” except in the sense sense that they they challenge our ego, because they ask us to notice cognitive disconnects and surrender to a higher path. To the heart, this type of query is richly rewarding. When we go into a place of openness and stillness, insights emerge and paradigms shift.

“Ask and is given.”
Am I living in trust?
“As you have believed, so it is done.”
Am I thinking thoughts that are in line with my highest good?”
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Am I grasping and trying to control, or am I extending love that comes from within?
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way.”
Am I trying to be righter, cleverer, and more special than others? Do I try to impose my will on others, or do understand and accept that others may think make differently than I do? If I relaxed and allowed myself to feel loved , to love myself, to love, and to lovingly embrace the adventure, how would that change my life?

May we continue to ask good questions and be open to answers that may surprise us. And whatever our path, may we be guided by Big Love, that Love which is beyond human understanding.



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