Issue 875
This week's practice

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Dear All,

I woke up this morning with the news still full of the murder of David Amess.  This was not the only account of divisions in society.  There was also much about the ever expanding proliferation of hate mail on the internet, and how the algorithms used by social media amplifies it, keeping people bound by their prejudices.

There can only be one response to all this.  The statement issued by Sir David’s family says it all: ‘We ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. Please let some good come from this tragedy.’

The kind of thinking that led to the death of Davis Amess has always been with us in one form or another. ‘People are made for each other.’ was Marcus Aurelius's response to this kind of thinking in his own day.


 

It’s spelt out in a quotation from the Dalai Lama that we have stuck on the fridge at home: ‘My religion is simple.  My religion is kindness.  Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries.  Without them humanity cannot survive.’


All the very best, William

https://schoolofphilosophy.org/collections/horizons-saturday-studies/products/philosophy-as-a-way-of-life-1


This week's reflection

LOVE IS THE PRICE OF LOVE
 

In a state of separation it is extremely difficult to give and to receive.  We are bound within a confine of our own making. 

All that we share in these emails is devoted to opening the heart and mind to a possibility, the possibility of a life lived in the spirit of love where every encounter we have with life may be looked upon as an opportunity to practise the law of love.  It is a life in which our fundamental ambition is to seek a greater opportunity for love’s expression - remembering always that it is not the greatness of the deed that counts but the spirit in which it's offered.  There is one requirement in all this, an awareness of the need, not our need, but what events demand of us.  Love is not love when it places on the situation a personal demand.

If we hold ourselves as an individual to be all important, then that which the individual values - namely his own separate existence - must rule our experience of life.  This is, inevitably, a life of separation and division.  On one side lies Me and on the other lies The Rest, and our actions must be entirely ruled by this fundamental divide.  It's full of personal desire and frustration, full of ideas about me and mine, and on every situation is inevitably placed a personal requirement.

All this not only has the effect of cutting us off from a full and proper appreciation of the world around us but also from the divine qualities that lie within us.  These divine qualities have their peculiar expression, and we are the only ones that can express them in our own peculiar way, but they are by nature universal, and, paradoxically, it is only by giving up the personal, that the universal can come to imbue the personal with all its magnificent qualities.  To rise out of a state of separation and to unite with those divine principles of beauty, love and joy, we must firstly accept they exist, deliberately bring them to mind, seek out evidence of their presence, and, in the process of embracing the universal, abandon petty and selfish concerns.

With thoughts of these principles constantly in mind, look again and again at what is presenting itself now.  When we love something we can’t help but serve it.  Likewise, when we offer selfless service, love must follow from it.

Love is the gift of oneself, and in giving we receive.  Love is the true price of love, and therefore if we wish to receive love we must first find a way to give it.
 

PRACTICE: 
Each of us has our own personal way of making our offering.  Seek it out.  And having found the opportunity pay for it with love, for love is the price of love.  When one opportunity has come, many may follow after.  This is to discover the abundance of life, for in giving we receive. 
 

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