The Love Effect
Fear fosters fear. Shame fosters shame. Violence fosters violence. Love fosters love. Even some of our "right" thinking or "right" acting gets sidetracked when it comes from less-than-love. When fear of how I look to others conditions me to the "right" response, I have still not made the good and best choice. We have experienced the use of fear in our lives in many things. Punishing our children, excommunication from a religious group, public shaming of students or subordinates... We use fear as a weapon of mass destruction in our day-to-day lives. I've wielded it. I've received it. I know what it feels like. It creates ripples beyond our reckoning and collateral damage beyond our control. This is emotional violence, and it connects to our shame triggers and often begets physical violence as well. None of this creates, fosters or engenders love. But love can create a whole new trajectory.
We love others as we love ourselves. When I move from love, love moves from me. Love is both settled and courageous, complete in ourselves and exponentially accelerated in giving to others. And love can show up in many different forms. Our love of the stranger and the marginalized guides us to advocacy. Our love of ourselves in the midst of pain guides us into empathy. Our love of the particular friends and family in our lives sensitizes us to act in response to those particular needs as well as to the larger trends they may reveal. When I give love, I create a space of love, and I don't know where the ripple will stop. When I step out of the flow of love because of my perceived limitations, my doctrines, my prejudices, I attempt to draw lines around something that cannot be contained and limit myself in the process. Love is true presence and can know when to make space and when to embrace. Without love, I have nothing.
Like rocks in a stream, when I am in the flow of love, even the biggest rock wall of hate will eventually be broken down by the relentless force of love. This ever-out-reaching-and-self-completing-growing-and-yet-still-dynamic-presence called love will win. That's the love effect.