“Perform your obligatory duty, because action is indeed better than inaction.”

–Bhagavad Gita

“All through the Verba Seniorum [The Sayings of the Desert Fathers] we find a repeated insistence on the primacy of love over everything else in the spiritual life: over knowledge, gnosis, asceticism, contemplation, solitude, prayer. Love in fact is the spiritual life, and without it all the other exercises of the spirit, however lofty, are emptied of content and become mere illusions. The more lofty they are, the more dangerous the illusion.

Love, of course, means something much more then mere sentiment, much more than token favors and perfunctory almsdeeds. Love mean an interior and spiritual identification with one’s neighbor, so that she is not regarded as an “object” to “which” one “does good.” The fact is that good done to another as an object is of little or no spiritual value. Love takes one’s neighbor as one’s other self, and loves him with all the immense humility and discretion and reserve and reverence without which no one can presume to enter into the sanctuary of another’s subjectivity. From such love all authoritarian brutality, all exploitation, domineering and condescension must necessarily be absent. The saints of the desert were enemies of every subtle or gross expedient by which “the spiritual man” contrives to bully those he thinks inferior to himself, thus gratifying his own ego. They had renounced everything that savored of punishment and revenge, however hidden it might be.”

–Thomas Merton.

 

 

 

He who loves

does not think about his own life;

to love truly,

a man must forget about himself.

If you desires do not accord with your spirit,

sacrifice them,

and you will come to the end of your journey.

If the body of desire obstructs the way,

reject it; then fix your eye

in front and contemplate.

 

–Attar

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