Have you got that loving feeling?
As physicians, we periodically read about medical advances which hold promise to cure illnesses that are yet incurable, and some new drugs that kill resistant bugs, heal diseases, ease away the pains, or even sharpen one’s memory and improve the quality of life. Absolutely, these discoveries are amazing and heartwarming, giving us not just some kind of reassurance but something to be enthusiastic about and hope for, especially for our own family and ourselves as we age. We are eager to see their development accelerate in the years to come.
But there is one thing that has been there since the beginning of time that many of us haven’t even noticed and yet has the most potent healing force of all - love. I don’t know about you but I happen to believe that love is the ultimate expression of God’s healing power. Notice that the more you love or the more love you give to others, the better you feel. Your negative emotions like envy, jealousy, guilt, grudge, cynicism, sarcasm, etc., that have a way of compromising your immune system, fade away, for in loving or giving more love, you no longer have the desire to compare yourself with others, let alone have the wish to compete against them in order to outsmart, outwit, outshine, conquer or dominate them. You’d readily choose to place principles before personality. Notice further that where love is absent, people, even in a crowd, feel alone, forgotten, unimportant. Many of them would drown themselves with drugs and alcohol. Victor Hugo said: “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.”
Love sustains our hearts and diminishes our difficulties. It frees us from our self-centered desires. Buddha said: "Reduce your desires and you reduce your sufferings." Desires all too often enslave us and thus make our choices for us. Indeed desires are good motivators for achieving something and to be successful, but we should not put them ahead of our values and principles. Remember, real success in life is not measured by how much you can accomplish, but by how you accomplish it.
Your loving feelings may not make the world go ‘round as the song suggests, but they can go a long way toward improving your emotional as well as your physical well-being. Love has a way of enhancing cooperation, restoring harmony and making others easy to accept as they are even though they see things in different ways than we do. Love heightens your sense of being alive. It opens a channel between you and the one you love. It invites an intimate response that closes the distance. It brightens your way, lifts your heart and lessens your burdens. In short, love heals.
Love is free and is available to all of us. Yet how often do we give it to others? And if we do, do we give it without any string attached to it or without any condition? Remember, love doesn’t entrap – it lifts up and sets free. No matter how much we force, push or contain, we cannot expect to be loved by those we would imprison. Conditions are tantamount to the guards that keep you in jail. John Powell, S.J. said: “There is nothing else that can expand the human soul, actualize the human potential for growth, or bring a person into the full possession of life more than a love that is unconditional.”
We don’t have to go through some kind of training or develop any particular aptitude or IQ to be able to love; all we need to do is open our hearts. Loving others is perhaps the simplest of all actions we can take in this life. It requires no planning, no money, no muscle power, no problem solving and no advanced technology. It’s a simple decision we can make every day, or every hour if you like.
Personally though when it comes to healing, I wish I could just plug in to “Avatar” and live a life of adventure even if I die in it. By the way, for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, “Avatar”, if you want to go and see it, I recommend the 3-D version. It’s a fantastic movie and it hasn’t surprised me that it has already grossed more than 2 billion dollars worldwide and has become the number one money-making movie in the history of the cinema.
Going to the movies is one of my favorite pastimes. As Sinatra song says, “It’s my idea of nothing to do.” I prefer it than watching sports on TV although I love the Super Bowl game this past Sunday, the gutsy plays by the New Orleans Saints. The Saints won because they were willing and eager to take the risks. They followed their own unconventional plays and became unpredictable that the Indiana Colts were having a hard time figuring out what's the Saints' next play. Aeschylus once said: "When a man is willing and eager, the gods join in." So the Saints went marching on.
Movies, good or great movies in particular, make me appreciate and admire the most powerful God-given gift to mankind – the human mind. It takes one’s fantastic imagination to make fantastic movies. Thoughts and imagination are the actual movers and shakers of the world. Imagination not only offers us ideas to ponder, it also gives us an important tool – belief in ourselves. And the magic of believing offers us strength and capabilities even beyond our fondest hopes. It prepares us for the effort we need to make and for handling whatever outcome God has intended.
Everything you create, build, or destroy starts in the mind. Thus if you control the thoughts that get into your mind, you control the actions that come out of them. Positive thoughts stimulate positive feelings that would lead to positive actions that in turn would likely produce positive results. Similarly, negative thoughts stimulate negative feelings that would lead to negative actions that in turn would likely produce negative results.
So beware of negative thoughts, for the negative emotions or feelings that come out of them can easily sweep you away. When you are under the influence of such feelings, it always seems that things are much worse than they really are. Even a minor problem can suck you into the whirlpool of irrationality - it can trigger a chain reaction from fear to panic to anger and frustration that all too often ultimately lead to regret and self-pity. The mind can be a wonderful servant, but it can also be a terrible master.
Anyhow, don’t be so rational to think about love. Love is not something that needs reason and logic to develop and grow. It is something you just feel. So, just feel it.
Miguel de Unamuno said: “It is sad not to be loved, but it is much sadder not to be able to love.” Felicite Robert de Lamennais said: “The heart of him who truly loves is a paradise on earth; he has God in himself, for God is love.”
When you regularly take the prescription of love, you’d find yourself acquiring, perhaps slowly, many good qualities in life like forgiveness, understanding, hope and kindness. All these qualities did not originate or were not discovered by modern men and women. In fact, their origins can be traced far back in recorded history. One of the most inspiring and well-known prayers of all time expressed these qualities:
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
Happy Valentines, Everyone.