The Unreliable Guide To… Love
Most religions preach that we should practise what the Buddhists call “loving-kindness”. The Bible encourages the practice with the suggestion that, “love covers a multitude of sins”, while the Quran exhorts believers to, “Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it.” Even philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who thought religion was nonsense, suggested that love can be, “the most angelic instinct” and, “the greatest stimulus of life.” As The Beatles told us, ‘All You Need Is Love’, so The Unreliable Guide has some tips and tricks to help you bring more love into the world…
Love thy neighbor
Love of others is a hard one. It’s easy to dislike people, they do a lot of really annoying things. The Buddhists focus on this issue; much of their teaching is on the importance of how empathy and understanding bridges differences. When you realise that this is one planet with one people, refugees are no longer ‘them’- they are ‘us’. But people with opposing views are hard to love sometimes. Scomo’s Pentecostal beliefs are especially hard to swallow – the wealthy are godly, the poor are sinners, and if climate change leads to the end of the world, well that’s just God’s providential plan. This wouldn’t matter if he was an Uber driver or worked behind the fish counter at Coles, but unfortunately this loony is in power. Back to the Bible, Scottie, you need to show a little more love.
Love the world
Back in pagan times people worshipped the environment, they believed that divine spirits dwelled in trees, the sun and the ocean, etc. It was a perfect environmental mindset. You’re unlikely to throw your trash in the ocean if you believe Poseidon, god of the sea, will rise up and smite you with his trident. But now most of the world believes in either one god or no god at all, we’ve lost our reverence for Mother Earth. We’re sat on the couch eating shrink-wrapped popcorn and watching our house burn down. This year, why not make a vow to tread more lightly? Start with that demon plastic: pop a reusable shopping bag in your pocket before you go shopping, pick up three pieces of plastic litter a day and visit local growers’ markets instead of buying overly packaged supermarket products.
Oscar Wilde declared, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”. He was right, but we seem to have lost sight of how to love ourselves. We take selfies of our narcissistic, Botox-injected, silicon-enhanced exteriors, but we forget about what we do to our bodies and our minds. Think of your body as a temple, not a mall. Don’t fill it with processed food, eat simple. Don’t smear yourself in chemical filled gunk, be natural. Don’t slouch in front of a screen, go for a walk, swim, meditate, sing. We know this advice even if we don’t follow it. But we’re happier when we do, and our joy spreads out amongst the world.
Finally, The Unreliable Guide suggests that you take a moment, right now, and think how you can spread some loving-kindness today. Even if you simply pick up one chip packet from the beach, the turtle, dolphin or seagull you save from choking to death will love you.