Love is “the only law of life”

In a 2015 OnBeing piece titled “The Gollum Quality of Our Souls”, the Duke University Professor Omid Safi uses J R R Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” to illuminate.

The tale, Omid writes, is about “an unsure petty ranger, Strider/Aragorn, who must come to embrace his own destiny, his own true identity. He’s a regal presence, meant to be a king. For this apparent officer to become a king, the ring of ego that wants to rule them all has to be cast into the fire.”

Omid tells us that Tolkien’s masterpiece is really about “the ego” — depicted in the story (using Tolkien’s words) as the ring that seeks “to rule them all” — the ring that seeks to rule each of us. 

Omid’s pen pours out words of Light. 

“Selfishness is real. There is that thing in us that screams, “Mine! Mine!” It clings, it grabs, it claims.”

“There can be no peace, no unity, no justice, until the selfishness is purged, burned away.”

What are we to do? “There is a redemption, an alchemical transformation, that each and every single one of us need, and need to go through.”

What makes this transformation happen? Abandon “the worship of the clinging, commanding ego,” Omid sings — cast “the ego into the fire of love….”

“Love is what burns the ego. The fire of love cooks, burns the ego away, until the divine presence underneath emerges.”

Unlike the ego, which “claims all, clings to all, wants all, demands all”,  “Love says not “mine!”. It is “not about how I feel, but about how I can make you, friend of my heart, feel loved.”

In an 1895 letter (“The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”, Volume 6) to his brother-monk, Swamiji Brahmananda, Swamiji Vivekananda writes that Love “is the only law of life.” He tells us to cultivate Love, and make selflessness the essence of our lives — “just as you breathe to live.”

His words to Sister Nivedita, in a letter written more than 125 years ago (“The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”, Volume 7), hold true. “The world is in need of those whose life is one burning love, selfless.”

Peace 😊

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