Day 7: The Culture is Usually Wrong
O SON OF BEING! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant. Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah
Usually when our life is a big mess it is simply because we are doing the wrong things, and most of the time doing the cultural path is the wrong thing. I have always found it useful to live my life by looking at what most people do in the culture, and then do the exact opposite. It is usually the better path.
In the above quote Baha’u’llah explains the dynamic of love that most people don’t get. Our culture says that you if you look a certain way or have the right things or listen to the right music, then you are going to get love. We live our lives hoping and waiting for love wondering what we need to do to attract love. Baha’u’llah says it pretty clearly. Love does not come to us unless we first give it out to others.
Last weekend when I was in Singapore at a meeting on the topic of love and unity, an extraordinary person shared a really great story that taught me a lot. She said that she had been upset for a long time that her father never had conversations with her. It left her feeling alone and wanting like she had missed out on love. Then someone told her that she could give to her father what she had never gotten because it is what had been missing in his life as well. So she just started being really light and starting conversations with him. Then he began to be much friendlier and happier around her.
This story blew me away because I always thought that this kind of change was a lot more complicated. We seem to be more or less stuck in pattern of waiting for love to come to us from somewhere in the past, but it never comes. The story above is a practice of the message from Baha’u’llah. You can just love by giving out love and then love comes back to you, but if you do not love first, but just wait, then love will never arrive.
You don’t need to wait to be filled up with love before you start giving it out. You just practice giving out love in whatever form and then magical things happen. When we are stuck in the belief of needing love, then our life tends to spin out of control and get pretty depressed. We do all of the wrong things.
The corollary of the love thesis can happen with other virtues. If you are enthusiastic, others will be enthusiastic back. If you wait for others to be enthusiastic you will just get sadness. If you are patient, others will be patient with you.
The exercise today is to just find a way to practice your virtue as if it were already really functioning in you. Don’t wait.
“I have always found it useful to live my life by looking at what most people do in the culture, and then do the exact opposite. It is usually the better path.” I found that to be a very interesting statement. That is sometimes a very difficult thing to do! Thinking about it, there are definitely some ways in which I do that. But in other ways, not. So I’ve been repeating this exercise each day 🙂