In the wake of the atrocious shootings in Arizona this past weekend, it seems essential that we turn our thoughts, not to revenge or retribution, but to love. In this powerful guest post excerpted from her new book Love For No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditonal Love, New York Times best-selling author Marci Shimoff offers an inspiring vision for using love to protect the world in which we live.
Marci Shimoff 2011 photo "The global transformation we're in the midst of today is being powered by love. What's unusual about this shift is that it's not coming from the top down-the world's established leaders aren't dictating laws that force people to live in love. Instead, this shift is coming from the hearts of a large number of people like you and me. Each day more of us are contributing our heart's energy to the giant wave of love that's enveloping the planet.
When you live with an open heart, you treat the world as your family and the earth as your mother. Your unconditional love extends not just to people but to the planet, too. Unfortunately, for some time now, we haven't been treating our mother very well, and the effects of this are endangering us all. If we want to preserve this beautiful blue ball that we live on, it's time to take action. But we need to approach this on all levels, not just the outer ones.
Many of us are already committed to living sustainably. We drive fuel-efficient cars, we buy organic, we recycle, we do everything we can to reduce our negative impact on the environment. These loving actions are important, yet what I learned from Love Luminary Jeddah Mali is that the most effective way to help Mother Nature is by fully experiencing your inner nature-the unconditional love at your core.
Jeddah, who is an international teacher and spiritual mentor, told me, "I'm not saying you don't take action, but when you act standing steady in the true nature of existence-which throughout history has been called love-then you don't need to apply as much effort to bring about your desired result. Knowing from your own experience that harmony is the natural state of things, your attention shifts from trying to create harmony to allowing it."
I thought of Jeddah's point when I heard environmentalist Julia Butterfly Hill speak. Julia is best known for the two years she spent living on a platform 180 feet up in the canopy of a 1,000 year-old redwood tree she called Luna. Her goal was to bring awareness to the destruction of the ancient forests. She was only 26 at the time, and though she faced strong, sometimes life-threatening opposition, she refused to give up.
Many times during her vigil, she sat listening as the trees around Luna were being cut down. Each time she heard a tree fall, she felt as though a member of her family had been murdered. Her fury and contempt for the loggers grew with each passing day. At one point, she knew that if she didn't find a way to deal with the rising tide of hatred she felt, she would drown in it. Overwhelmed and desperate, she prayed.
Her answer came in the form of love-a warm current of love that flowed into her and dissolved her hatred. The current felt as though it were coming from Luna and from the earth itself; it felt like the love that gave everything in the world life-without condition.
This experience was a turning point for Julia in her life as an activist. From that moment forward, she was inspired by love, rather than motivated by anger and hatred. In the end, she managed to negotiate an agreement that permanently protected Luna and all the other redwoods in a three-acre buffer zone. Julia's story shows that the most environmentally conscious thing you can do is to allow your inner environment to blossom.
Lynne Twist is a beautiful example of someone who combines a radiant quality of inner unconditional love with focused love for Mother Earth. In 1995, she and her husband Bill founded The Pachamama Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting the Earth's rainforests and the indigenous people who live there. One of The Pachamama Alliance's programs is the Awakening the Dreamer Initiative, whose mission is to create an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on Planet Earth by empowering individuals to take action in their own lives on a daily basis. This mission is based on the principle that experiencing unconditional love at our core is deeply connected to our care for the planet.
Michael Lindfield, consultant, coach, and the author of Dance of Change: An Eco-Spiritual Approach to Transformation, compared the spreading of love around the planet to the great global water cycle. "The clouds pick up moisture from the ocean, carry it over the land where it precipitates into rain; this fills up the rivers and streams which flow back to the ocean.
"There's also a great global love cycle. When you live a life of giving love, you help increase the circulation of love around the planet until it reaches a point of precipitation where it starts to rain love. The love you give out comes back to you from all directions, making it easier to give, which keeps the cycle going.
"At the moment, however, we've got acid rain precipitating from all the negative thoughts that people are pumping out into the world. If we change that and have love be the element that's circulated, it will transform the planet more than anything else."
Shimoff_Love for No Reason fnl cover By Marci Shimoff. Excerpted from Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love (Free Press, December 2010). Love for No Reason offers a breakthrough approach to experiencing a lasting state of unconditional love-the kind of love that doesn't depend on another person, situation, or romantic partner, and that you can access at any time and in any circumstance. This is the key to lasting joy and fulfillment in life. Order Love for No Reason now and receive the Love for No Reason Bonus Package free at www.TheLoveBook.com Follow Marci on Twitter @Marci_Shimoff
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