THE GOLDEN SECTION OF THE SOUL

Although only recently published the Golden Section of the Soul is a book that has already achieved high acclaim among the reading public. Here is a typical e-mail illustrating this:
Dear Madam Nena,
Your book titled Golden Section of the Soul is one of those books to be kept ready on a mantelshelf, one that that you can read to the person beside you, or even over the telephone (perhaps to some distant friend)...
In fact it is like a reference book covering all those concepts of life that are of the greatest importance to all, indeed it is a reference book on life itself.
This is a book that I would like everybody to read (both people that are light-spirited in soul as well as the darker spirited ones).

Ljiljana Zečev, Art Historian

Besides the visible golden section (ideal proportion), which is expressed through beauty, there also exists a hidden, internal, golden section of the soul, that can be reached with the aid of love. It is almost superfluous to say that in our lives both of theses are of enormous value.

This book was created as a result of the seach for a Golden Section of the soul in the different fields of our spirit and our everyday lives, of which we think that we know everything there is to know, but in fact often we know so little of.

The book consists of forty texts on love and general spirituality (On love, On a great love, On healthy love relationships, On understanding, On false hopes, On the unhealthy assistance offered to others, On manipulation and love, On love of people for whom love is a scarcity, On prayer, On Godly restrainedness, On upbringing, On the studying of love, On regaining health through community, On the signs beside the road, On faith and superstition, On prophesies…)

 

 

EXCERPT FROM BOOK


THE GOLDEN PROPORTION

 

Almost throughout all of human history, people have never ceased to search for the ideals of beauty, embodied in the perfect proportion – in the so-called golden section.

It is not only the fine arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, applied art) that decorate our lives, for the whole of nature is permeated with it. It can be found equally on a snail-shell as in a photograph of some wondrous galaxy.

According to my deepest conviction, beauty is one of the facets of love. Apart from the visible golden section, that expresses itself through beauty, there also exists a hidden inner golden section of the soul, which can be reached with the assistance of love.

It is superfluous to say that both of them are of the greatest importance for our lives.

All the great thinkers of humanity have always known and know still today that the invisible instills beauty and meaning to the visible.

This book came about in a search  for the golden section of the soul, for the ideal proportion, in the diverse realms of our minds and our everyday lives of which we commonly think we know all there is to know and it is so often that we know so little.

When I say that I am committed to love and the realm of the mind which it intersects, this represents the most precious knowledge that deserves the most serious studies, many, even very educated persons, are surprised and cannot at all think of any topic that could be studied under such a subject. The belief that there is nothing to be learned of love and that it is only something related to our inner feelings is a sorrowful image of the spiritual desolation of our civilization.

Love is the beauty of the soul, its health and the absolute precondition for its tranquility and happiness, for blissfulness is what the soul always strives for, regardless of whether we are aware of this or not.

„There is no poetry anywhere“, says Tagore“, that could reach the heights attained by love“.

Love is related to everything in existence and permeates all, like a subtle law of existence.

The permeation of our spirit by love, and the bringing of the ideal proportion into the golden section of the soul, in all situations in our lives, from the most commonplace to those most elevated – is the topic of this book.

 

 

 

THE PARADOX OF LOVE

 

I

 

If one sees himself, truly, as a being wishing love, then he must first come to terms with one disappointing truth: love is most often the last thing he really wishes for!

It is only from this truth or alternately from this paradox, if we are ready to face them at all, that our love story is about to begin.

As many psychologists would often say: persons that had applied for therapy on their own are among the bravest on our planet. It is already after the first or at least after the first few sessions one arrives at the fact that change, the very act that had started it all, is the last thing their souls, deep down, would be longing for. In other words, there exists an unusually strong resistance to change. The success of the therapy largely depends on someone’s willingness to experience change and his or her persistence in overcoming resistance to it.

It is the same with love. To heal oneself truly, by experiencing a qualitative change, well, this depends on learning how to love. Moreover, almost all of us who dream so much of love, talk about it, and even write about it, we all have inside of us an extremely strong resistance and need to run away from love. Of course, it is always someone else who does not love us or someone who does not love us enough.

In essence, love is the most serious thing that could happen to us, and therefore the most demanding, thus we fear it very much because it almost completely transcends us.

Love is like sailing out to the high seas. Even if we know how to steer – it is not enough, we also need good weather, which is something that does not depend on us. Love is a boat that is never fully in our hands; it depends on nature’s mercy and the mercy of heaven, and we must be ready for contact with those invisible but always present forces in life. In addition, to achieve contact with the visible and terrifyingly immense and deep ocean and the invisible and endlessly powerful wind, always hovering over the sea, much courage is needed. Therefore, love is the most-chivalrous discipline of all. It is, so to say, almost a martial art. Movement into the arms of love is akin to departure for battle and the resolve to leave one’s life on the battlefield, if necessary, but never to betray the most righteous of things, the most righteous thing of all.

 

 

 

II

 

The path to love is to step into the battlefield of our lives. All the lives of all beings are a preparation for this decisive moment, for setting off toward love. In fact, they are preparation for a true or genuine life that can only begin with love.

The conscious acceptance of love is the first moment in our lives that can truly be called courage, after which our courage then begins to grow and develop.

However, when we say yes to love, we are only in the antechamber of love. What we should be able to become aware of then is not just to what extent do we really wish to love, but to realize to what extent we fear love, how big our power of evasion is and how much we actually tend to hide from love.

In order to learn to love we must become conscious of our resistance to love, our enormous fear of love and the very fact that it is very hard for us to surrender ourselves fully to it, like children in front of their parents, to simply spread our arms and fly into its embrace. And this embrace is what we have not ceased to long for since the day we were born, it is the reason why we weep and complain about and finally, that which we crave for.

Love is our basic food, our only real food. Moreover, we are beings that are hungry without love for our need for love is a thousand times stronger than the need a desert has for rain. All of our problems stem from here.

Love, the big word that we always postpone and camouflage, or which we lock and frame into trivial meanings, in order to conceal from ourselves the fact that it also exists and that it is waiting for us persistently and steadfastly even if we should forget ourselves in play or fall into self-deception for thousands of years to come. It is a point on our paths that we cannot circumvent, but before which we could spend the whole of eternity attempting to ignore it.

Nevertheless, if someone wishes to travel he must first enter the city of love, for all the roads lead there…  unless such a person does not favor to be burying his own dead forevermore together with the dead.

Why is the fear of love one of our greatest fears, if not the greatest? Each person on their own must seek the answer to this question because this is the quintessential question of our lives, of our eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

III

 

All the people around us, all those attracted to our immediate vicinity are embodiments of something within our souls. The closer they are the clearer is the message they bear for us. What we see in the mirrors of their souls is to a great extent our own soul.

Some of those persons could be the embodiment of our yearning for freedom, happiness, adventure, or our need for reality, or for subtlety of vision. Someone who is lazy may embody our own inactiveness, our disinterest in movement, in development.

That which bothers us in others is very often something that we are incapable of recognizing in ourselves. Moreover, we ought not to be complaining about others. We are exactly unloved to the extent we ourselves do not love, no more nor less than that.

There is always someone there who can love us; all we have to do is to rise up to their level, to become closer to them with our own upward movement.

There is no love without understanding either yourself or others, there is no understanding without first being acquainted with others, there is no acquaintance with others without patience. All people are different. To love someone means to acquaint yourself with those existing differences, to respect and to support that difference, as well as to fulfill all the healthy needs of that specific difference. Needs that may be quite different from our own.

There is hope for each one of us, so much hope and so infinitely much unconquered space! In addition, as Bashlar says: “Space, large space is a friend of beings”. Indeed, a friend is truly there all around us. Our eternal Father, the hand that keeps us from sinking into desolation and the void, an invisible cobweb of true meaning which links us together like patterns in woven fabric.

A love that is inside of us when we alone are not within ourselves, or ourselves. A love inside of us even when we do not know it exists. Love as primeval beginning, love as a path and outcome. Love as pain and as joyful gratitude to pain. Love as all, as the indivisible one.

Love as the individual soul that had outgrown the walls of its own drinking-glass and has gone through the walls or sides of all glasses and is one enchanting drink with all, which can never be emptied to the very bottom for, contrary to the known laws of nature, the more you consume it the more it increases in volume.

Love as the only true nature, as the law above all laws to which all of nature is subservient. Love… its eternal paradox, eternal beauty and eternal secret…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ON LOVE AND ITS COMPLEXITIES

 

There is no greater responsibility
in this world than to be human.
The person who loves does
not need to be perfect but only human.

Leo Buscaglia

 

 

 

 

 

On Love as the Supreme Science and School of Life

Only one fact can justify our appearance in this world - and that is love. If someone does not want to love and to learn how to love, then I really do not know what his or her life on earth is all about.
For me, the whole of existence – is a school of love. I feel like a beginner at that school and I consider this my only true vocation.
But, what is love? Is it only a feeling towards someone or something or is it also something else? We all know that love is not infatuation, although infatuation has to do with love. But what is that thing that has nothing to do with love? Almost everything has to do with love in this or that way. That is why we could say that love is our relationship towards a being that we love, but also in a wider sense, towards the members of our family, towards our friends, towards our acquaintances, as well towards the people we do not know, towards God, and towards all beings and all matter in existence.
According to my deep belief, love is the greatest and most serious science in this world, the most essential knowledge, the meaning of our life and the crown of all our experiences and studies. And I dream about a future school at which love is going to be studied very seriously.
Proof that I am not alone in this is provided by the book called Love, published in the United States in 1972, by Leo Buscaglia, professor of psychology, who introduced love as a subject at the University of Southern California and after two semesters wrote this precious book as a testimony of his pioneering enterprise. He says that, at the beginning, his colleagues used to look at him with surprise, wondering what he was going to teach and discuss about. The lectures consisted of his discussions about love with his students, and were a form of collective search.
Leo Buscaglia writes “The scientists generally ignore love. That is simply amazing.  My students and I have made a study. We went through the books on psychology. We went through the books on sociology. We went through the books on anthropology, and we have not found a single reference to the word “love”. This is shocking, because it is something that we all know that we need, something that we all are desperately looking for; nevertheless, no teaching exists on this topic.”
There is no doubt, however, that the situation has somewhat changed in the course of the last few decades. Nowadays, there is a large number of books which talk about love or about matters close to love from different angles (Buscaglia himself wrote several books on this subject and even established the Felice Foundation with the purpose of inspiring kindness and love among people, www.buscaglia.com), which is certainly encouraging.
Here, in Belgrade, at the Faculty of Theology, monk David Perovic concludes every lecture of his with discussions about love. However, on a wider point of view, the world is still largely ignoring love. Accordingly, I think that the idea of introducing the teaching of love as a subject in schools, or to establish a separate college for its studies, is still far away from the existing level of awareness of today’s civilization.

 

On the Importance of Human Personality in Love

A large number of people tend to simplify love to a great extent; they do not think about it at all or have a very narrow conception of it, failing to understand its complexity and its enormous importance. It is only natural that many people who are looking for love where there is none, start to believe that it either does not exist or that it is something completely common, far removed from beauty and sublimity. And it seems as though the whole world is trying to prove that those who believe in love are, at least, slightly demented.
It seems to me that our shallow attitude towards love is a consequence of the lack of love for ourselves. We tend to approach many things seriously and with lots of effort and attention but, on the other hand, we have a very low opinion of our own selves. Moreover, we are a college above colleges, a job above jobs, and a treasure above treasures!
On one occasion, a poet and a friend of mine, Radomir Rubakovic, told me: “Think of a human face as though the whole world has vanished and there is nothing else but this face. Moreover, you must be able to visualize it! All the religions and all the gods are written upon it. It is a miracle above miracles, beauty above beauties! (…) And our toes, how beautiful they are! And how many people live their whole lives through without ever seeing them even for a single moment!”
Love is connected with the development of personality, which means with respect and self-respect, compassion, generosity, goodness, wisdom, good upbringing, courage, imagination, beauty, health, joy, serenity, success, freedom… Every single one of these words could be a separate subject matter within the studies of love. And where are they discussed nowadays? Those who connect them into a whole and consider them necessary for the survival of the human race and its successfulness are indeed quite rare. And love is exactly an indivisible whole consisting of the said values and could, tentatively, be measured by the level of their harmony.
However, our contemporary system of education puts knowledge into the foreground, completely neglecting human personality. As though the person who is to acquire all that knowledge is unimportant, or even as though he or she does not exist at all, especially not as a separate, original, unique entity. Thus we have reached a humiliating situation in which we know much more about everything else than about our own selves. That is why we are more inclined to praise all else rather than ourselves as human beings. Considering the fact that, accordingly, the civilization to which we belong indirectly sends us the message that we are not worthwhile; it is a real miracle that anyone of us loves himself or herself and others at all. Most of us are growing up as beings that are rather stunted in one of our essential parts, most often completely unaware of what we are lacking, and extremely miserable just because of that something which we are lacking, and which is continually fleeing from us. That something is the joy of being alive, or love in fact, because joy springs from love.

 

On Love and Joy

For what is the purpose of life without joy and love? And what is the purpose of all the human encounters? What is the purpose of all the labor pains we experience?  What is the purpose of all the wakeful nights spent in vigilance over our children’s heads; the struggle of parents for their family’s survival; endless risings in the morning and continuous hard work; to what end all the studying and hardships; to what end illnesses and recoveries? What is the purpose of breathing and sighing, if there is no joy, if there is no love?
Truly speaking, we forget about joy and love so easily, as though we have never heard about them. When we are children, they make us eat in order to be healthy, and in order to grow up; they force us to learn in order to be excellent students, and in order to be able to get a job and be successful… As though all these tasks are the only meaningful things in our lives: to become this or that, achieve this or that. And what is the purpose of the thousands of fears whether all this is ever going to come true or not. And the very word “joy”, how unusual it sounds, almost exotic! The only true purpose of our existence remains only on the level of that single word, so distant and rare that we almost do not understand it.
Try to remember if anyone at home, at school, or anywhere else has ever asked you whether you are joyous. And they keep asking us all the time whether we have eaten or not, whether we have learned something or not, whether we have achieved something or not… Somehow it seems that joy is either simply taken for granted, or that it is not important at all to us.

 

On True Courage

No, it is not our fault that we are taught almost everything, but love. And it is not either our parents’ or teachers’ fault. The world has just been spinning in this vicious circle for too long now, and it is high time for somebody to step out of it, to prove themselves different.
And here we are talking about courage.  It appears to me that the majority of people, especially in their youth, are very courageous, but a great part of them do not have anyone who would support them and instruct them in their endeavors to be themselves, original, unique. That is why there are many of those who would courageously take a step in the wrong direction, to tread on the wrong path, into blind alleys, and dead-end streets… There is no originality in drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and crime… It is so much more of an enterprise to have a strong personality, to build one’s own individuality, instead of drowning that little awareness with which we step into life into the unconscious.
To be one’s own, in fact, means to be true, to be such as the divine imagination has conceived us. Not to be one’s own means to be false, to pretend that you are somebody else and something else from whom and what we really are. And it takes incomparably more time and energy to be something that we are not, instead of simply being what we are.
Leo Buscaglia says, “The most difficult thing is to be what other people want you to be. (…) Education should be a process of helping anyone to discover his or her own uniqueness, to learn how to develop that uniqueness, and then to show him or her how to share it with others, as it is the only reason for having anything in the first place. Imagine what this world would be like if all the people were constantly telling you: “It is good that you are unique; it is good that you are different. Show me your uniqueness or how you differ so that I can learn from it.”
I have met many people who love art, but who are engaged in other occupations. They say that they would gladly draw, write and sculpt, but that they are not sure whether they would be able to do that, and whether their work would be any good. And I keep on telling them that the important thing here is not whether they can do it or not, or whether someone will judge their work as clumsy, but whether that would fill them with joy or not. Because there is no better judgment of the work we have created than the joy that overwhelms us in the process of creating it. One should not do things that do not fill him or her with joy, and should not do anything without joy. For only those who had planted the seed of joy would reap the fruit of joy. A priest has once said that the love with which a deed is performed is more important than the deed itself.
Naturally, there are jobs that are not dear to us, even when we decide to study or to do the job we like.  However, we are to look deeper into them and ask ourselves why they are there in the first place. The best way to develop our will is to learn the subject we like less, or to do the job we do not like, but which has to be done. When we recall Gandhi’s thought, “Where there is no will, there is no love”, it becomes clear to us that even situations like these go in favor of love. A person on the path of love no matter what he or she does or what happens to him or her exudes the greatest benefit for his or her being.

 

On the Laws of Love

Both matter and spirit have their own laws, and it is very important to know them. Otherwise, we shall be constantly hitting the wall with our head, and building on sand instead of on stone. One general law of goodness permeates the whole universe, and the century-old experiences of all the people bear witnesses to this. Stories that glorify lies and evil do not get through to us, but those who glorify justice and goodness survive for centuries.
Scientists have found out that even plants recognize a lie and react to it! When special devices are attached to their leaves, they change their vibrations the moment someone in their presence starts telling something which is not true. Does this not mean that the law of truth has been imprinted in nature everywhere? By carefully studying the world around us, we can notice the subtle workings of the law of goodness. Those who do bad things sooner or later get into trouble and dangerous situations. My mother, Vjera Vuksic-Vitosevic, is presently preparing a volume of short stories based on the realization of the moral laws of life itself. By listening to the experiences of the people around us, she describes almost incredible events in which we can see just how precise are the workings of these laws. For example, if the parents do harm to others and usurp other people’s property, their own children start stealing from them. To a son who has thrown his old mother out in the middle of winter and letting her freeze, a grandson is born with identically paralyzed arms and legs. To a woman who has pretended that she was blind, a blind granddaughter is born. For, as Heraclites has observed: “Not even the Sun may go to extremes, for the Erinyes, the helpers of Justice, would punish it.”
However, there is almost no one to teach us about these important spiritual laws of life that are in no way any less important than the Pythagorean theorem, Tesla’s alternating current, or Mendeleyev’s periodic table of the elements. It is of utmost importance to our lives, and to the survival of our world, to learn how to be true friends to one another, how to understand our neighbors, how to love and respect ourselves, because this is a prerequisite to our being able to love and respect anyone or anything. The richer, the more cultivated, and the stronger is our personality, the greater is its ability to live a life of love.
When we are young, we all have the romantic notion that thanks to some mysterious luck some wonderful being will enter our life, a being that will love us eternally and make us endlessly happy. However, as long as we do not become a being able to love, it would be hard for that imagined being to appear, except in our imagination, which is eventually bound to shatter so painfully.
Is it not only natural that those who know almost nothing about love, but do expect much in return from it, are going to be greatly disappointed? And is there a person who has not expected much from love at least for a little while? No, it is not a question of our own bad luck or weird ill fate, but a question of deep and general ignorance, and the sages say that ignorance is the only true vice.
I would not like anyone to get the notion that I consider myself an expert in this field. On the contrary, I am just someone who has managed to see how much I really do not know, and to conjecture how much more I have to learn. Someone who, after acquiring a tiny bit of knowledge about love, has become far more complete and joyous and, consequently, aware of the benefits the people could have if they dealt with love in an organized and serious way. Therefore, I see myself and this book as only one of a whole sequence of road signs on the road or path, but in no way as the path itself, because the path is something which must be experienced by all persons on their own, as their own unrepeatable and unique experience of the world and life.

 

On the Uniqueness of Self in Love

I am very fond of that story from the Eastern Hemisphere in which a mother goes to a monastery and becomes enlightened. Her son writes a letter to her saying that he would like to follow in her steps, asking her for advice. Then she says to him, “Son, there are eighty holy books; you are going to become enlightened if your life becomes the eighty-first book.”
In love, we can emulate others and have great models, but we cannot attain love if we imitate them literally, because love is something that ripples in our hearts, love is the music of our souls, and every single soul is unique. Without love we are all alike, like one seed resembling the other, and we are an amorphous mass to a certain extent. In love, flowers bloom out of the seeds, and each one has a unique shape, color and fragrance…
And every being is important and has his or her unique place and task in this world. And we must not reject and neglect anyone easily.
I just have to remind you here of the Greek myth of Philoctetes, the famous archer. When the Greeks began their conquest of Troy, a snake bit their hero Philoctetes. Because of his constant shrieks and the unbearable stench of the wound, they decided to get rid of him by leaving him behind on a deserted island. After many years of futile warfare in the attempt to conquer Troy, an oracle declared that the Greeks could not capture Troy without Philoctetes’ bow. So the heroes were forced to remember their rejected friend, who they believed to be long dead. However, Philoctetes started hunting birds on the island with his magic bow that had been bequeathed to him by Hercules, and somehow managed to survive in spite of the austerity of the deserted land and his terrible wound. The hero Odysseus, accompanied by the warrior Neoptolemus went back to the island and persuaded Philoctetes to come to Troy… What does this ancient myth teach us? We can never know who among those we are about to meet is the poor Philoctetes, and which Troy of our life we shall not be able to capture without his bow.
It is necessary for each and every one of us to discover what we have to do in our lives, what our cosmic, so to say, holy task is. And this is very difficult to discover without love. My younger cousin told me once that she is ordinary in comparison with me; she is talented in languages, and I am engaged in such beautiful things - I write books and I paint! I tried to explain to her that it is such because I do things that I know how to do best, and that I would not be able to do my job if there were no other people who do their jobs, that all these other jobs are equally important, and in a certain sense indispensable, and that they all somehow permeate each other.
A great clergyman, father Tadej, when asked to explain the way he explains to people how to pray, once responded that every single job that people perform honestly and with love, is a prayer to God.
Do we ever, when we have a drink of milk, think of the grass from which the milk originates, the cows that have been raised by somebody, the peasants who have painstakingly tilled the soil in order to feed them, and all other people in that long chain through which a package of milk comes into our life? Even that milk which, with all the bubbles of joy and sorrow of that long chain of beings involved, flows into my paintings, into my thoughts, is one of the prerequisites to my inspiration.
After all, for me there is no greater deed than raising your own children. To raise a healthy child, with lots of love and understanding, to raise a noble being, is the most significant job in the world. Because nothing can measure up to a living human being, and there is no such creation which can surpass the worth and beauty of the human soul! And there is no one to prepare us for the realization of a happy family and for raising kids, for that most responsible job in the world that requires great knowledge of the science of love! You get instructions with every single appliance you buy, and children, these little beings incomparably more complex than anything else, come to us just like that!

 

On Un-realized Potentials and Love

It is absurd that, on one hand, people have created such amazing machines like airplanes, cameras, TV sets, and computers. On the other hand, they still kill each other and wage wars in the most atrocious and bestial manner! However, no matter how absurd it is it can be explained – in our race for knowledge we have completely neglected our souls and their primordial need for love.
People are even not at all aware that all these technical achievements are at the same time a reflection of their innate, still unawakened, capabilities. It seems as though that it is being constantly forgotten that we hardly use even a few percent of our brains, more exactly of our own natural potentials. And, considering the fact that we have managed to create this much beauty with that little awareness, what would the world only be like if we were to become a little bit more awake?
However, there are obvious reasons due to which we were not given the capability of “internal television”, for example, by means of which we could immediately see everyone we set our minds on. Such as we are we would very easily fall into traps of mockery and sensationalism… Our eyes are still a long way away from the meekness of the angels. Even now, the crowds of journalists and Paparazzi are spying on celebrities in order to catch them in this or that sensational private moment. And, later on, we laugh at that and enjoy all those stupidities. If only we had a little more dignity, we would be truly ashamed of such conduct.
Or, for example, if we had the ability of dematerialization in one, and immediate materialization in another place, how many people would resist the temptation of finding themselves in a bank or in somebody’s apartment? Accordingly, on this level of our development, a higher reality cannot be accessible (which does not mean that there are human beings who already live in it).

 

On Compassion and Love

When I think about a word that is closest to the word love, somehow I always pick out the word compassion. Compassion, that power of one to empathize and sympathize with the other, is one of the most precious of human qualities.  It leads to universal understanding, and a French proverb says: “To forgive everything means to understand everything”; while the great romanticist Alphonse de Lamartine goes even further, ”The less we love – the less we understand.” We could also put it this way: The less we understand, the greater is our suffering.
To say the truth, to become a truly compassionate being is very difficult. I recall that until I was nineteen I used to think that my mother kept sending me to buy things for her because she was lazy. Then suddenly, it occurred to me that she was doing this because she could not see well due to her impaired eyesight and because it would be difficult for her to cope with the task under the circumstances. I was so deeply touched and surprised by this simple discovery, actually shocked by the fact how insensitive I was toward one of the closest people in my life, with whom I spend hours, days, months and years… And what is then left for the people I do not know at all?
I closed my eyes then and kept them closed for a few minutes, trying to experience what the world feels like when you do not see it, and how would I feel if I was blind. And those few moments were just terrifying…
On one occasion, I was standing in line in front of a counter, watching a young unkind clerk who was unpleasant and rude to everyone there. I wondered why she was acting like that since she was so young and pretty. All of a sudden, she stood up and I realized that one of her legs was about ten centimeters shorter than her other leg.
And how many of those hidden pains and sufferings in our souls are there? That is why love also means that we are not to hasty to criticize or condemn but that, when faced with such rudeness and unkindness, we are always to bear in mind that we are dealing with deeply miserable individuals.  Thus, instead of fighting with them, ruining our nerves, and significantly upsetting our peace of mind, which could lead even to some physical illness, we could withhold ourselves for a moment and assume their misery, send them a handful of love in our thoughts, and subdue their accumulated rage with kind and serene words. After such an act, we can go our own ways with our hearts filled up and warm, with that wondrous feeling of something expanding within our chests, a feeling which is always one of the precious gifts bequeathed to us by love.

 

On Noble Thoughts (imagination, prayer, goodness…)

Now, beside the words “love” and “compassion” there appears the third essential word: “imagination”. Imagination is our important ability and it enables us to see what is not visible, but perhaps exists nevertheless. With the help of our imagination, we are capable of anticipating or foreseeing the probable and the possible, to add missing parts to the picture, thus make it easier for our understanding, and love freely to flow between the world and us.
Imagination leads us into prayer, another essential state of love. Voltaire said, “If there was no God, He would have to be invented.” And, in a certain way, we all are inventing Him, which is imagining Him. Are not our prayers conversations with an imagined person? Are they not the most candid forms of imagination, which in this way can also become those that are the most valuable ones? For in our prayers we talk with the imagined, most precious being there is. With such an all-encompassing, being that can see and hear even us, the tiny spots on planet Earth. With such an almighty being that can fulfill even our wildest dreams.  With such an infinitely good being, that can forgive us even for the worst violations of the laws of love, justice, truth, goodness… With such an all-understanding being that can understand even what we ourselves cannot.
In the state of such openness - for in prayer we, actually, open ourselves to the whole Universe and join with it - with the help of the amazing, imaginative prayer vision, we outgrow our own tiny selves and take hold of the space around us that, only some moments ago, seemed so unreachable.  In the same way in which a scientist places the subject of his or her research under a large reflector lamp or a microscope, when addressing God we switch on a huge lamp, which lights up our lives and our misfortunes, and the dark, frightening spaces within and around us appear in all their clarity, often conquered by us once and forever.
In the presence of the divine being and his indefinite grandeur, we realize how tiny we are; we realize our own cosmic minuteness. But, this infinite being, with his presence, gives as a picture of what we could become, opening the way with his magnitude to our potential magnitude. That is why prayer, paradoxically, represents a state in which we simultaneously feel both our endless smallness and our cosmic beauty.  For even this small, we are still a picture of that great picture, a sunray of that great sun, and a tiny branch of that giant tree. That is why prayer is the deepest state of truth. For in all other moments, we either overestimate or underestimate ourselves. That is why the holy scriptures say: “Pray all the time” or, put differently: stay in truth all the time.
I have personally achieved significant realizations in prayer. I have even written some of my poems, and painted some of my paintings in the state of prayer. I am trying hard to bring together my prayers and my artistic activity. Because an artist is a cosmic scribe, and his or her art, if it originates as fruit of true inspiration, becomes his or her teacher, too.
We are small and many things are unsolvable to us, but there is one who knows all the solutions. So let us call His name and He will come, let us knock on His door and He will open. (Somebody has said, “Inspiration is a guest of those who invite it.”) Even though we are tortured by the doubt that we have invented Him, the greatest proof of His existence is the joy we feel when our problems are solved. For is there a stronger proof of anything in this world than pure, unadulterated joy?
However, in order to reach the contemplative state in prayer, we need patience and quietness. Love demands spiritual quietness. That is why the people say that we have to sleep on it overnight before bringing any decision, i.e. the morning is wiser than the evening. Hastiness is usually connected with anxiety, and patience bears peace of mind as its fruit.  And this fruit is primarily the fruit that we give as a gift to ourselves, to our souls and our bodies, and only then to somebody else. That is why love is in our highest interest.
Scientists have discovered that words, i.e. thoughts, and their meanings directly influence the cells in our bodies. Those noble and good ones bring health, and those ugly and evil ones destroy it.
It has also been found that people who cherish goodness and love speed up recovery of the sick by their mere presence.
An experiment had been made in which the churches in Jerusalem were asked to pray for a group of patients in the States. This and another group of patients in the same condition, for whom there was no one to pray, were then simultaneously observed. Subsequently, it was ascertained that the patients from the first group managed to recover two, or even three times faster.
What does this tell us? It tells to us that thought does not have any spatial obstacles.  Therefore love is to think noble thoughts, to control one’s thoughts, without allowing them the luxury of  despair, jealousy, envy, and hatred. For thoughts do go through walls and fly across the planet. Somebody else’s sad thought can touch us and makes us gloomy just like that, in the same way in that a happy one can make us joyous all of a sudden. Only when I had started thinking like this, Dostoyevsky’s famous thought: “We are all guilty of everything and in face of everyone”, became much clearer to me.
Thus, we come to the interrelatedness of all human beings, to the fact that all is one, as the ancient sages used to say. It is not the same at all whether the members of our family, our neighbors, and all other people are joyous or sad, because all this comes to us and influences us a great deal. That is why everybody’s happiness is in the interest of every single human being on this planet. Accordingly, we should rejoice immensely to everybody’s success and everybody’s joy. Whenever we are able to, we should try to make others more joyous, because we sin even when we are in a position to do good and we do not.
The boundaries of our bodies are by no means the boundaries of our beings. I have recently listened to a scientist saying that there are parts of long gone stars in all of us, and that we are, in a way, star children.  We truly are the children of the whole Universe, and in a certain sense, we are the whole Universe. That is why caring for others and for our environment in general is only one of the ways of caring for our own selves. Or as a French thinker had once said: “Without others, I do not exist.”
Having in mind the ecological threats that are increasingly endangering our survival on this planet, it is high time for us to turn to spiritual ecology and to realize that the matter is a reflection of the spirit, and that the quintessential principle of everything lies in the spirit. The politically powerful part of this world, or the so-called rich developed world, should finally come to understand that peace, progress and well-being in every single corner, even in the tiniest part of the world, is in its highest interest. 
However, love is not naive goodness and simpleminded sincerity, although both goodness and sincerity are its sisters. Goodness of love must be connected with wisdom. All humans are not able to receive the same amount of goodness and love. Just as starving people must not be given large quantities of food at once, for it could kill them, love also must not be given immoderately, for even with the best intentions we could cause hurt to others. Love is like a remedy and demands cautiousness, and it has a different aspect for every single situation and every human being. Accordingly, it is one of the tasks of wisdom to judge to what extent and in what way love toward other human beings is to be expressed.

 

On the Meaning of Life and Responsibility

The more aware we are of the meaning of life, the more receptive we are to love. But there are also those who are completely unaware that life has any meaning at all. That is the reason why they do senseless, evil things by which they are hurting both themselves and others. In the same way in which an anemic person is deficient in red blood cells, people cruelly deprived of love are deficient in particles of spiritual sensfulness.
With such underdeveloped beings/non-beings, one should be very careful, and sometimes even strict, especially when they break the laws of goodness. For, as Njegos says: “But to stomp tyranny, and make it truly aware of Righteousness, is the most sacred human duty!” Such people are to be taught a lesson on the limits of what is allowed whenever possible, and their scandalous deeds are not to be tolerated, for their basic problem is that they think that everything is permitted.
Dostoyevsky properly pointed out that only demons are allowed everything. Moreover, if everything is allowed, we are not to think about anything, we are not to make any efforts. An ancient wise saying goes: “Laziness is the mother of all vice”. Laziness does not like any work, any clarity, because everything is vague and muddled with it; it is the sister of mist and mother to chaos.
By tolerating evil, we become its accomplices. Evil must be trimmed in its roots, but it has to be done with deep understanding and not with hatred. However, if we are to do this properly, we have to learn what is good and what is bad for us, which is not a simple process but often requires years of observation, study and clarity of thought.
There is no other moment when one feels more human then when one is able to conquer his or her own self. To conquer his or her own little self, and achieve a victory for his or her own big self. And one is to start with these victories that represent essential change as early as possible. And there is no greater change than to wake up in love.
Contrary to the fear that encloses us, love means opening up and demands a lot of courage and knowledge. And not only knowledge of love and its subtle laws, and knowledge of ourselves, but also knowledge of the people closest to us, knowledge of our family members, and even of our ancestors. Because love unites us with others, and not only with those in present time, but also with those from the past, and even with those from the future.
A friend once told a young person in a moment of despair: “You do not have the right to be so desperate. Do not forget that you are also responsible to your future children.” People very rarely think this way, and life is a long-distance run.  We often forget that we are just a pearl on a string, and that the paths along which we walk are far longer in both directions than we can assume.

 

On Self-observation

When I was only eight years old my father asked me to observe myself and to tell him in a few days of my good and bad sides. Self-observation exercises are necessary if we want to get to know ourselves.  It is hard to improve something that you are not familiar with. To  become aware of one’s mistake is a necessary step if we are to rise above it.

Thanks to my practice of self-observation from early childhood, I am able to accept anybody’s criticism with gratitude, and to apologize with easiness and true regret when I am wrong. These should be normal, i.e. natural characteristics of every single human being. Unfortunately, we are constantly in a position to see that a large number of people find it incredibly difficult to accept criticism in a positive way, or to apologize to one another. And without self-observation there is no self-emancipation, there is no growth - no love.

As early as on the first step of my self-observation I encountered laziness and the absence of the sense of order.  Since then, to this very day, I have not stopped fighting different forms of laziness in my being. At the same time, my awareness of the beauty of order, of the meaning of work, and of noble achievements has been constantly growing.

 

On Order, Harmony and Art

When I watch an orchestra playing and listen to the music created thanks to the perfect coordination among a large number of musicians, I keep on experiencing them as a reflection of the divine order on Earth, as a picture of heavenly harmony. And then I think, there must be worlds where living beings communicate by means of music, the beauty of their voices, by means of ballet movements, or verses… Worlds where there is enjoyment in the perfection of its communities.
Love is connected with art, as it is the highest art of life. Where there is love there must be art and vice versa, and there is no great art that does not aspire to love. All great art is permeated with the power of harmony, and harmony is the essence of love and is the most healing power there is on earth. I believe that healing by means of art, being one of the least researched ways of healing, is the most fruitful one.
Psychologists say that there are only eight percent of conscious people on the planet, while the more rigorous ones tend to reduce this figure down to two percent. However, it is not necessary to look into these estimates, to understand the simple fact that all people, or almost all of them, suffer because of someone or something. And this universal suffering is constantly being treated as an individual, private thing. On the general level, however, everything is rosy and beautiful, until a terrible war breaks out and shows us the Neanderthal face of modern man. Underneath the polished mask of our “civilization”, people live in their own private hells, deeply alienated both from themselves and from their neighbors. And almost nobody is able to truly touch anybody else.
On the other hand, there are amazing artistic and spiritual works, works that illuminate our paths and warm up our souls, works full of meaning and joy, works which can open new vistas to us, be our best and, in certain situations, indispensable friends. There is a whole world of priceless things that must be much more clearly pointed to, and that could be of much greater use to us then is the case now.
On one shore a beautiful treasury, on the other a desert, and it seems as though there are no bridges in between… And there we have the tragic predicament of modern civilization! However, I do not have any doubts that Life, the greatest artist of all, will find a way to build them.
On the other hand, no matter what great ideas we might have and how enthusiastic we are about them, they cannot be truly ours until they start to mature in us. But if something cannot be changed or created now, it does not mean that one should not dream about this now. For, was not this world God’s dream at first, and was not each and every little thing that man created in it, his or her dream at first?
I am convinced that numerous medicines could be replaced by the reading of luminous books, and even by only reading certain passages from them, by listening to divine music, by looking at inspiring pictures, watching theatrical plays, movies… as well as by taking part in artistic and humane activities in general...
“Man rarely questions the fact that ugliness and evil exist in this world, but he is never equally ready to accept the fact that life also offers unlimited beauty and the potential for joy, as well as numerous opportunities for enjoyment. Man becomes dissatisfied with himself and, by blaming the unchangeable aspects of a hostile world, finds comfort in his own self-created hopelessness. In this way he liberates himself from every responsibility.” (Leo Buscaglia)

 

On the Remedial Action of Good Deeds

It is certain that numerous medicines could also be replaced just by doing good. Once I have read somewhere about a man who was told by his doctors that he is suffering from lung cancer and that he has only three months left to live.  Writing himself off, he decided to move to an unknown city and to spend the three months by doing good to unknown people. Six months passed and he was still alive and active in his noble mission.  And then one day he saw a boy drowning in a river. Considering himself already lost, the man jumped into the river and saved the boy.  And then he asked himself how come that he himself was still alive. He went back to his hometown, to his doctors, and the new x-rays showed, to their great surprise, that his lungs were completely healthy. Or as Christ would have said: “For he who will be successful in losing himself, will in the end be saved by himself.”

 

On Upbringing

Good upbringing is also a prerequisite to the growth of love. If compassion is a pillar of love, the beginning of compassion is to be found in upbringing, because it is teaching us the little laws of respect toward others and ourselves.  It is so rare nowadays for a man to let a woman cross a threshold or go through a narrow part of the street first, or for someone to let an old man pass through first. It rarely happens that someone gives up his or her place to an older person in a public bus or tram.
Many people do not know that you should not come for a visit one single minute before the agreed time, and that it is nice to bring a little something as a gift to the one whom we are visiting, out of consideration. And there are so many of them who do barge in unannounced. If scientists have discovered that even plants know when the person who takes care of them is coming home, doesn’t our friend then have the right to know of our arrival in advance, doesn’t he also have the need to prepare his soul for an encounter with us?
Groups of people, who walk the streets late at night, coming back from somewhere, talk loudly, without thinking that they could be waking someone up, perhaps someone who is very tired or sick, a person that will not be able to fall asleep again until morning.
Lunch does not begin until everybody is sitting at the table, and until everybody’s dish is full. My mothers’ father used to cherish another little subtlety: he always paid attention when we had guests in order to be the last person to finish lunch, so that they would not feel embarrassed to eat some more. (Research conducted within families with drug addicts among them, for example, showed that ninety percent of the families have almost never had lunch together.)
When I was a little girl, an older woman stopped me at a theater, at a moment when I was trying to reach my seat with my back turned to those who were already sitting in that row. She told me: “You are still a little girl, but you should know never to turn your back on people, you should turn your face toward them.” This little rule of theatre etiquette, as well as everything else that I have mentioned in connection with good upbringing (and one could mention so much more!), might look like pettiness to somebody, but I am deeply convinced that these seemingly little rules are in fact the inception of big character traits. These are the seeds of the things that represent the prerequisite to love, these are the details that, if they are not adopted mechanically, might mean love and emanate it, without which our social life would never become a symphony and sanctity of the human community. For without good upbringing there is no human being, like there is no middle and end without a beginning.
Sincerity at all cost does not necessarily have to be love. For sometimes sincerity is the easiest way there is, i.e. the picture of human laziness. We have thoughtfully to judge to what extent our neighbors are ready and able to hear the truth, and how useful the said truth can be to them. Because mere truth for the sake of truth itself, in certain situations, can do more harm than good.  It is also so easily transformed into envy, criticism and malice, which all results in bad vibrations between people, in withering instead of flowering.
No matter what we are doing, it is always necessary to ask ourselves whether it makes any sense or not, and what fruits we can expect of our actions. For Christ says: “You can recognize them by their fruits.”

 

 

On the Wisdom of Life

Victor E. Frankl developed a form of existential psychotherapy known as logotherapy – treatment by means of meaning. He is also the writer of one of the best books I have ever read – Why Haven’t You Killed Yourself? In the worst possible living circumstances, while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, this psychiatrist had realized that it is not only those who are physically strong and healthy who survive in life, but primarily those with a strong spirit and a strong belief that there is meaning to life, and those who truly love somebody or something. What is very interesting here is that his experience points out that life itself had favored these people, helping them in a mysterious way to survive.
Another book that I also find very interesting is Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, a science fiction novel (on which Tarkovsky based his film under the same name). A team of scientists in their space station on a planet in space covered by a huge ocean, is studying this planet. However, it turns out that the huge ocean, as though a living entity, has been studying them.
To me, that ocean is a metaphor for life itself. There are numerous things that point out that nothing in our lives ever happens by coincidence, that we are not alone and left to aimless and senseless wandering. Evolution has its flow and its deep innate meaning. It has not ended with the creation of man, like we often imagine, but it continues with the development of our consciousness. The wisdom that has created all the plant and animal species, man and the wondrous world of nature, has not thrown us into this world just like that.
I like to imagine life as a living being, which is dealing very prudently with us, leading us constantly into the middle of events so necessary to us, or as a great workshop in which every single one of us is in the hands of a first-rate sculptor. The only difference is that some of us are still like raw ore, a mass out off which a human figure is yet to be sculpted, while the others are almost finished, with only a few details to be adjusted. In the same way in which, in the case of a huge rock, the sculptor uses large and rough hammers and strong blows in order to get rid of the excess material, and fine little tools and light knocks in the case of an already shaped sculpture, we go through more or less difficult situations, depending on in which state of sculpting we are in. And each one of us finds himself or herself in that exact situation, which is, according to his or her awareness, at the exact level of development necessary for each individual. Accordingly, in a certain sense, life treats us in the perfect way and we are almost never aware of that.

 

 

On the Meaning of Suffering

In their prayers, the Tibetans request sadness and difficulties because they consider them their best teachers. One suffers out of ignorance, but there is a moment when all the suffering transforms the gold of pain, as poets would say. Thanks to suffering, which has always been connected with mistakes, we get to know life, our pride is diminished, and other humans become much closer to us, they become much more like sisters and brothers to us.
Once I walked through a courtyard of a monastery in company of the already mentioned clergyman, father Tadej, who is also known by his gift of being able to hear other people’s thoughts. Although we have previously not talked about illnesses at all, at a certain moment it occurred to me: “Oh, my God, why is father Tadej suffering with arthritis, when his prayers are so strong that he could definitely heal himself with any single one of them?” Father Tadej stopped, then looked at me and said quietly, “You know, we are sick in order to be able to understand the suffering of our neighbors.”
Our suffering, be it a sickness or some other misery, is never here to destroy us, but only to teach us something. The sooner we understand the lesson, the faster it will end. That is why, whenever I have a hard time, I say to myself, “Life never underestimates you.” By means of the endless series of difficulties and temptations Life actually pays us respect, telling us that we are beings worthy of struggle and challenges, and revealing to us that our strength is at least equal to our plight and troubles.
Life is trying to speak with us in countless of ways. An old proverb says, “A person who does not permit life to lead him, is then dragged along by it.” The language of Life is the language of love and, like any other language, it has its rules, and its grammar. It often sends messages and gives directions to us, but the source of our problems is the fact that, unfortunately, we understand it so poorly.

 

On Growing Up and Happiness

In love, one grows continuously. And one is happy only as long as one is able to grow. While we are growing physically, we are happy and fulfilled, in spite of all kinds of difficulties. That is the period of our childhood, our natural joy, which in our imagination can do anything. But when our physical growth starts to end, our joy starts getting thinner and it can only burst into flame again if we continue to grow spiritually. The spiritual joy is the joy of love, and in reality it can do anything. That is why imagination is so crucial, for it is our primary reality, and it stands the closest to our actual reality. In between these two realities is the world of illusions.
And when you recognize yourself in joy with your whole being, isn’t it only natural then that one can fly, walk on water, disappear in one and appear at another place thousand of miles away, heal the sick, bring back the dead to life? For is not all of joy gleaming, sparkling, lively? Does joy find anything difficult or impossible?
Happiness and fortuity do not come all of a sudden and from nowhere. It is not a lottery gain, or a new love; it is not found in fame, in money or in power (although everything, and even this, can be in its service). Happiness and good fortune are like the diplomas you receive after long years of studying. It is a diploma that you are bound to receive after the successful studies of happiness.
Although these studies do not officially exist in our lives, they are far more present than all the others are. However, they require the power of abstract thinking, they require imagination, an intuition to recognize the lessons of this school in everyday life, as well as its exams. They also demand decisiveness to be able to pass the exams, as well as the awareness that not a single exam may be skipped. For, as the old saying goes: “What you do not pay at the bridge, you will pay later on another duckboard crossing.”
If, for example, we have a problem with a person and we do not solve it, there will come another similar person and we will be faced with our problem again. And, if necessary, the situation will be repeated many times… Naturally, it will be repeated with different variations. Life would try to illuminate that problem to us from as many angles as possible, enabling us to recognize it and finally solve it. But Life would not give up as long as it manages to help us to move from where we have stopped.
Finally, we realize that we have been meeting the same being all these years, that all these persons are just different sides of our own problem, our deep innate lack of love. The thing is that everything turns around love. It is the only essential answer to all the questions as well as a universal medicine. That is why wise men say that that if you want to change the world, you must change yourself first, and whenever there is a truly positive change in us, the world around us also becomes a much more positive and enjoyable place.
In the already cultic book of the exceptionally inspired psychiatrist Scott Peck The Road Less Traveled, that starts with the words: “Life is difficult”, he points out that it is easy to feel abstract love, but that it is very difficult to love a particular being or several beings for several hours every day. In fact, we are invited so many times every single day to demonstrate our will, our patience, or unselfishness. Furthermore, actual small and big wars are being waged inside us, because our will has its enemy - indifference, because impatience always jumps in front of patience, and unselfishness always has to stomp upon selfishness over and over again. However, all these endless efforts of ours are meaningful, because our being is in need of love, as our body is in need of air. To paraphrase Antigone: to love and not to hate is what we were born for.
A person who does not love is not an articulated being, and is removed from Words, from Scriptures, from Meaning. Only a being that loves has something to say, has something to give to another and leave something behind. A person who does not love, no matter what he or she does, is dying of boredom and worthlessness. And the man of love constantly keeps discovering new remarkable worlds.
However, it should be mentioned here that love is not tacitly understood, like many of us tend to believe. Love must be expressed in words, but it must also be proven in deeds.  And not just once and then who knows when, but all the time. Because love is the only thing we can never have enough of! Leo Buscaglia especially emphasizes the significance of touching and hugging. Andric, in his Signs by the Road, in one place says that we are ashamed of our most sacred feelings and we often do not state them at all. On the other hand, we talk about all kinds of trivial and unimportant things.

 

On the Three Varieties of Love

The Metropolitan of Montenegro Amfilohije told me that one night while sitting in the Moraca river canyon he was thinking about this world and about love.  While watching the stars he felt that the whole Universe is founded on love, and that all the stars are aligned in perfect order and stick in their places together out of some powerful love. Out of such love a flower opens its petals to the Sun and, generally speaking, it permeates all the nature. And Father Amfilohije called this love attraction.
Love among people, primarily one between a man and a woman, is different. Something is always being weighed in it, like at a market: I give you this, and you give me that…
But, there is also a third kind of love, one where you give just for the sake of giving, out of pure love, without any expectations. It is the love of a mother who gives her life for the sake of her child. Father Amfilohije called this love Christ-like.  It is very rare among people. He also told me that he had met only one married couple for which he could say here are two persons that love each other with this kind of love, without any measuring and expectations.

 

On Christ-like Love

For a long time, I used to think that a person should love all beings with Christ-like love only. However, with time, I realized that Christ-like love could be expressed in its full meaning only to those who also respect and cherish it.  For Christ himself had said: “Do not throw pearls to the swine.” It is wonderful to develop a Christ-like love within oneself, love that is the most deserving of a human being, but one is to treat love with care, with the greatest possible care!
That a person should not expect anything from anybody is not the meaning of this story. For love and responsibility towards our human brothers and sisters oblige us to refer them to love, to believe in their ability to love and thus, naturally, to expect them to love too. It is a different thing all together what we can actually do about this, and it should better for us to be free. But we are not to fool ourselves: the one who goes along the road of love must be aware that he or she has dared to expose its vulnerability in daylight and, accordingly, he or she has taken the risk of being hurt. The holy fathers say: “The greater a love, the greater the suffering.” Together with our love grows our joy - our inner fulfillment, but also our misery because of those who suffer, and those who we increasingly are experiencing as our own selves.
The meaning of this story is not that we are to love others because of our own selves either. For Christ had said: “Love your neighbor as you would love yourself.” Most often, we completely forget the words: “as you would love yourself.” Not to mention how unaware we are of how difficult it is to get to know and start loving oneself.

 

On Beauty and Love

Nowadays, there is almost not a single person that has not changed this or that part of his or her body. The drive towards beauty (both physical and spiritual) is profoundly human, and even the mere awareness of beauty is another step towards the awareness of love. However, this desire for physical transformation is very often an expression of not accepting one’s own self and, accordingly, the need to be somebody and something else. People easily go to extremes. On one side, we have a fastidious glorification of physical beauty, and on the other, scorn of one’s own body. In the same way in that we manage to become what we want to be only after we are accepted, our bodies also need attention and acceptance. So let us love our bodies and let us listen to them! They speak to us every single day and they have so much to say to us... Numerous illnesses of our bodies point to the existence of irregularities in our spirits.
In spite of the fact that there is almost no one to teach us how to love ourselves, it is high time for us to seriously start working on that. But we must not love ourselves in a narcissistic way, trusting that we are perfect and not allowing anyone to delve into that “holy” image of ourselves. We must not love ourselves because we have good marks at school, a successful career, great clothes or an outstanding figure, but simply because we are the children of Life, children who make mistakes because there are so many things that they do not know, but also children who are willing to learn and to grow. And that is why Life loves us just the way we are and does not give up on us, no matter how we, in our lack of understanding, persist in giving up on it.

No matter how beautiful we are physically, we must not forget that we truly radiate only when we posses the internal light, and the love itself is the greatest spring of our beauty. A mystic says that to the Angels beautiful people, if they are evil, look like monsters, and those who are noble, look much more beautiful than they appear to others and their own selves.

 

On Distancing Oneself from Love

Paradoxically, the more people are further away from the art of loving, the more they think better of themselves, not allowing anyone to criticize their “perfection”. On the other hand, the more we are closer to love, we become more open, more aware of our imperfection, and more ready for new challenges and new transformations, grateful to those who point to our mistakes. The wisest man of the ancient world, Socrates, said: “I know that I know nothing.” A wise person is not ashamed of his or her ignorance, but talks about it in order to overcome it as much as possible by communicating with others.  Incidentally, is not Life a secret? And isn’t its beauty in this very secret, that  which keeps on growing while we are discovering it little by little.
By studying the Nazis, who were put on trial at Nuremberg, it was ascertained that their chief common characteristic had been the inability to feel for others, to experience the condition other people are experiencing. Another characteristic of such people is their pretentiousness. All great dictators used to love to be photographed with children. The evil ones love to put on masks and to hide behind false veils of love. For even they feel that something is wrong with them, and that such as they are they cannot go among people without any disguise. Accordingly, they often join different humanitarian and religious organizations.
I am convinced that love can be learned. And I am convinced that if we started learning it as a subject from early childhood, that there would be much fewer of those unhappy people called “people of the lie” (as in the book under the same title, by Scott Peck) and that all the human beings on this planet would be far more joyous than it is now the case.

 

On the Fruits of Love

Only after we seriously get to know the sacred science of love may we start enjoying the fruits of love, which are always found in serenity, in joy, in flowering of all our abilities, in the glorious, deeply meaningful growth of our whole being.  Moreover, it is only then that we would be able to, with others akin to us in love, to realize a relationship filled with love.
Leo Buscaglia writes that the essence of love for others is ‘’to convince them that we are dedicated to their growth, and to the realization of their unlimited potential. (…) As soon as a love affair does not lead me to my own self, and as soon as in a love affair I do not lead the other to himself or herself, that love, even though it appears to me like the most certain and most enthralling devotion that I have ever felt, that love is not true, for a true love is dedicated to a permanent becoming.  When, and for whatever reason that process disappears, love becomes monotonous, indifferent, and it is doomed to fade away.”
Love looks for a kindred soul, for a person who knows how to dance cannot enjoy dancing with a person who does not. And the dance of life, which is the most noble and the most challenging of all art, is constantly inventing new dance steps for us and giving us pleasures that cannot be compared with anything else on earth.

 

 

ON THE BOOK