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BK Blog Post
Posted by Michael Nagler.
Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.
“Love is not love which asks for a return.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG XIV, p. 402
Whether or not Gandhiji is paraphrasing Shakespeare here (“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,” Sonnet 116), the rhetoric is common to these experts on love—for such Gandhi and Shakespeare were—precisely because there is so much misunderstanding about love, which in a spiritual sense is the root-energy of the universe. Gandhi had to discard the definition “God is love” only because, as he said, “human love in the sense of passion could become a degrading thing also,” and that begins to happen where we expect something in return, where our love is contractual. If there is one area where “it is more blessed to give than receive” that area is our precious capacity to give love without seeking anything for ourselves. I daresay, none of us start there! Nor do we stand much chance of getting there through the media presentation of “love” by which we’re surrounded. But it’s in us, by virtue of our being human beings, and we can bring it to full life by that same humanity.
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Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.
Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.