After writing the previous post, I've decided that it would be good to talk about a healing topic.
In her book All About Love, New Visions, Bell Hooks quotes Erich Fromm in an attempt to define love. The quote says that love is "the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth." I would have to say that I can't agree more. She defines the spirit as "an animating principle in the self". She points out that you don't have to believe in God to believe in "spirit". I believe in the "animating principle in the self". It's this aspect of our consciousness that reacts to a particular song or poem. The same part of us that reacts to being in love. The part of us that appreciates work that we believe in. I definitely believe that when that part of our selves is neglected, we experience a loss of love. By choosing to nurture the "spirit" within ourselves and simultaneously pledging to prioritize the spiritual development of another person, you've started the road to love. I think we all need this.
Hooks goes on to point out that abuse can't exist within love. Meaning you can't be simultaneously "prioritizing a person's spiritual growth" and abusing them. I wonder how things might be different if the young people involved in the attack in Richmond, CA were raised with this philosophy as a guiding principle in their daily lives. I think that things would be different. But that's not how it is.
And so it's up to those of us that prioritize justice, to prioritize loving ourselves and the ones closest to us. It's from that starting point that we can be an example to people that haven't experienced love. Many of us that are educated and inspired by social change, have yet to experience or share love. And that is where we are letting down society as a whole. It is our responsibility to ourselves to prioritize love and spiritual growth, so that we can bring about the changes we hope to see in this world.
Thanks Bell Hooks.