Acts of Loving Mindness
1 JOHN 4:7-11(The New Testament: A Translationby David Bentley Hart)
Beloved ones, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born out of God and knows God. Whoever does not love has not known God, because God is love. By this, the love of God was made manifest in us, because God has sent his only Son into the cosmos so that we might live through him.Since God loved us this much, we must love each other.
I love John’s sentiment and reasoning: We should love each other because God loved us first.God is love, so if we want to know God, we must know love. Specifically, we must love each other as unequivocallyas God loves us. That’s a big ask because John argues that God loves us so much that God incarnated—and willingly died—as one of usto show us the way to a new life in a new world.
Over the millennia this has come to be interpreted to mean that if you’re a good Christian today (whatever a good Christian is) then after you die you’ll go to your heavenly reward.
There’s nothing overtly wrong with that sentiment, but I don’t think that’s what John means here. We have to read the text carefully because it’s full of clues about John’s cosmology. This is important to understand because John is asking his readers to do something specific and challenging: to willfully raise their level of cosmic awareness as a way to convert the current world into the kingdom of God one individual at a time. You see, the story of the Christ isn’t only about God incarnating in the being of Jesus of Nazareth, it’s also about God incarnating in every single one of us.
In particular, 1 John is about raising universal consciousnessas a way to diffuse fear and hatred. When the (unknown) author writes, “Love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born out of God,” he or she is talking about a perspective of reality that blows our minds even today: the multidimensional, subatomic interconnectedness of all beings. For the author of 1 John, the source of that interconnection is God’s creative love.
Hart’s translation of 1 John reveals the original author’s cosmic awe of God’s process, especially the process of creating love, one person at a time. I have found John’s first letter comforting and encouraging in these current dark times filled with trade wars, border wars, and the more-possible-than-ever prospect of nuclear war.
The constant barrage of bad news and imbecilic, ignorant words and actions at the very top of our government often leave me feeling helpless and despondent because the world seems in such turmoil and distress. It breaks my heart, and if I let it, it breaks my spirit, too. So, I think it’s worth considering the author of 1 John’s idea that love creates more love as a way we can counterattack the warmongers and, as William Safire once wrote for Spiro Agnew, “the nattering nabobs of negativity.”
I’m not going to pick up a weapon to fight back. Violence only creates violence. But, I’m not going to feel helpless anymore, either. It’s time for us to think as cosmically as the author of 1 John and consider what he/she says in light of our contemporary understanding of quantum entanglement and the interconnectedness of all beings.
I think we canchange the world. I think we’re supposedto change the world, and I believe that by simply gathering here today and pondering universal love and relationship with God and each other, we arechanging the world.
I believe that letters like John’s call us to be loving actors in both action and spirit. We act for the common good by doing things like supporting food pantries and social justice organizations. We volunteer, we donate time, money and talent, we do all the things we possibly can to be and act like decent human beings who care about each other. Communal loving action is what we physically do to create love in the world. Loving acts of kindness, both large and small, change the world.
But an equally important, and I think way too often overlooked, potent tool is 1 John’s idea of what we would today call mindfulnessor intentional thought. I like to call them loving acts of mindness: the moments we take tointentionallylet the love of God manifest through us.
A loving act of mindnessonly requires stopping, calming one’s mind, and letting God flow. When we do this, we act like amplifiers broadcasting God’s love signal. I believe, and I think John, James, Thomas, and Jesus believed, that becoming amplifiers for pure love dissipates the signals of hatred, intolerance, and injustice being broadcast from our brothers and sisters hypnotized by the myth of an inescapable dystopian reality.
Reality does not have to be dystopian, and I do not in any way believe the future is as bleak or inevitable as the current crop of movies, TV shows, and even news, would have us believe. There is a way out of this self-fulfilling prophecy, and The Bibleis full of clues about how to wake up and shatter the illusion that “this is the way the world has always been because people are evil and sinful.” John’s first letter to his community is one of those instruction manuals.
When the author writes, “By this, the love of God was made manifest in us, because God has sent his only Son into the cosmos so that we might live through him,”he’s writing a spiritual instruction: Tune into the Christ frequency that Jesus opened up for all of us. This makes God’s love manifest within you. The universe takes care of the rest, distributing that love everywhere.
This is energy work, and it’s every bit as important as our physical, communal work.
How does it work? Please watch this video link from the movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know?” for an intriguing look at the way our thoughts affect reality:
This video doesmake me wonder, as the guy who used to play a Ferengi on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, asks at the end of the video.
It makes me wonder about the power of loving acts of mindness, of being present to our thoughts, and of doing our best to focus our thinking on something, anythingpositive: how much you love your kids; how breathtaking Yosemite National Park is; how awesome the view of a distant galaxy through the lens of the Hubble space telescope, the splendor of watching a sunrise in the mountains and a sunset at the beach.
Did you imagine those things as I said them? Congratulations! You’ve just made the world a little bit better.
Am I suggesting the “power of positive thinking” can solve all the problems around the globe? Absolutely not. What I amsuggesting is that focusing our thoughts on love can’t hurt, especially when there are billionsof us thinking thoughts of unity and peace, instead of war and enmity.
I’m talking about more than positive thinking, anyway. I’m not talking about glossing over the horrible realities of the world, or ignoring your pain and suffering and hoping it will go away. Instead, I’m talking about intentional thought, which requires tuning into God’s love frequency. It can’t hurt when we understand that we’re doing more than just thinking happy thoughts:We’re using the universal, holy vibration of love to tune into the Godstream, which then takes care of the details.
Let’s just think about this in a universe of quantum entanglement: Everything we areis entangled with other things that are. We are not as individual as we believe. Rather, we are all somehow mixed up with each other on a quantum level. Our lives are entangled whether or not we have physically met each other, because, on the quantum level, we’re all manufactured from the same substance. We are one. Literally.
We know that quantum entanglement works between individual particles separated across vast distances, perhaps separated by dimensions. We also know that we are made up of billions and billions of those individual, yet wildly entangled particles. I’d bet that every one of the billions of particles that form “me” are entangled with other individual particles, perhaps in a billion different bodies, all over the multiverse.
The implication of quantum entanglement is not only that you and I are interconnected, but, more importantly, that every particle in me is entangled with other particles in other creatures across the globe, even across parallel realities. We are all entangled.
Therefore, not only does my every actionaffect the planet, so also does my every thought, because thoughts are energy, and so is all reality.
Thought energy mustaffect the way we live in some way. If I am thinking dark and evil thoughts all day, those thoughts are entangled with the thoughts of potentially billions of others. What am I doing to their psyche, their spirit, their soul? What am I doing to the overall consciousness level of the planet?
It’s time to start paying attention to our thoughts, even the little, fleeting thoughts. Recognize that every thought we have is entangled with another human somewhere. Try to remember that underlying everything we experience, whether we perceive it positively or negatively, is the quantum entanglement of God.
Here’s a little experiment you can try throughout the week: anytime you are confronted with something that seems negative, remember that you are entangled with that negativity and the only way to respond and hopefully begin to unravel that negativity is with unconditional love: Love that comes from intimate, recognized, conscious connection with God, the divine, pure consciousness of the multiverse.
We areresponsible for each other, I don’t care what the current cruel and heartless Trump administration thinks. Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tze, Mohammed and others made it very clear that we are responsible for each other and the state of our planet, in an astoundingly intimate way. Even if the Dr. Emoto stuff is a bunch of BS, the theory makes sense. We are all cosmically connected,and that means we are, and our world is, in overwhelming ways we are just comprehending, as much what we thinkas what we do.
Discussion:How does the concept of entanglement affect your thoughts and actions?
Thought Experiment: Practice chanting. Repeat the word “love” slowly, feeling the vibrations it creates as you say it. Chant the word for four or eight beats, then be silent for four or eight beats. Repeat and surrender to the loving flow of the universe.