In Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, John Galt speaks of the idea that love must be earned in much the same way as hate is in some cases thought to be deserved. Thinking in these terms, one might come up with the notion that love and hate use the same trading mechanism in reverse.
But in truth it is a different mechanism altogether, isn't it? When I look deep inside myself I see that hate is very unnatural and alien to my true nature, while love is the most natural thing in the world. A little baby loves naturally, but has to become older and learn conceptualization before it can be taught to hate.
Also when I pay attention inside myself I see that hating wastes enormous energy and engenders tremendous strain. Whereas love is fun and easy, saves energy, relieves strain, and attracts people.
The fact that love attracts people is of primary importance to me in achieving my political goals. It has been said that one of the shortcomings of democracy is vast numbers of people voting not on the basis of intellectual information but on the basis of impressions and feelings.
In other words, in a democratic political realm I could have all the most wonderful intellectualized premises and conclusions anybody ever came up with, but if people don't sense that I am loving then I am not going to be supported by vast numbers of people and my ideas are going to be sold short.
Clearly it is to my advantage to open my heart and extend love. But in doing so, do I run the risk of giving what Ayn Rand might have called "unearned love?"
The answer is it's not about the others who may or may not benefit by what I have to give. It's all about me and how I feel. I am the one who benefits. I am the one who gains. I am the one who has earned the experience of love.
I have earned the right to love. If love feels good, I have earned such a good feeling. If love is fun, I have earned the right to have fun. If love saves energy, I have earned the right to save energy. If love relieves strain, I deserve to be unstrained. If love attracts people to me and to my ideas, it is by right that people should be so attracted.
In other words, holding back my love for fear I might somehow love someone who has not earned love is not depriving the other person. It is depriving myself. And it's not depriving myself of some little trinket. It's depriving myself of everything that is really important.
Some who see that my love is a benefit to the entire society might think that my motive for loving rises out of altruism. Who cares what they think! My motive for loving is supremely selfish. Love is my own enlightened self-interest. Love is who I am when I am my true self. Love is who I am when I am enlightened.
Clearly I want to learn to be a really, really, really loving person and come across to others as the loving person I am. But how do I open up and love as I never have before? That is my goal as I practice this week.
This week during my morning meditations I am going to visualize myself loving all day long, loving when I'm walking, loving when I'm sitting, loving when I'm driving, loving as much as possible no matter what I am doing.
Each hour during the day, I will take five minutes to stop whatever I am doing and look at many things around me, near and far. Lovingly in my mind I say to everything I see, "I love you," specifically naming what I am looking at. I might say for example:
"Tree ... I love you!"
"House ... I love you!"
"Sun and blue sky ... I love you!"
"Earth ... I love you!"
"My spirit inside ... I love you!"
"The spirit inside that person over there ... I love you!"
"The power that is making my dreams come true ... I love you!"
During these practice periods, I say "I love you" to everything that comes to mind and everything that comes before my eyes.
If I find it difficult to say "I love you" to a particular person because I have judged this person so harshly, I remind myself that a person's mistaken belief or misguided action is not the same as a person's true nature ... and his or her true nature I can love. I remind myself that even my enemies can become my friends if enough change takes place ... and love brings changes.
Before I retire each day I review my progress in teaching myself to love. I ask myself if there were situations during the day in which I was unloving? With each such situation that comes to mind, I ask deeper inside:
"How can I see this in a totally new way that will give me a feeling of love?"
I do not let myself fall asleep until I have found a new way of seeing things and an increased feeling of love. And in this progress I rejoice.
The device which more deeply prepares freedom lovers for success, A Course in Miracles , talks about our ultimate need to free ourselves from every kind of slavery:
You have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And you have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is the tiny part of your self, the little thought that seems split off and separate, that the Holy Spirit needs. The rest is fully in God's keeping, and needs no guide. But this wild and delusional thought needs help, because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Son of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery.
Also available free of charge online:
Course in Relationship Miracles
14 May 1995