- File Size: 984 KB
- Print Length: 170 pages
- Publisher: Image (August 31, 2011)
- Publication Date: August 31, 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005GFBNSW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#132,061 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #66 in Spiritual Meditations (Kindle Store)
- #126 in Women's Inspirational Spirituality
- #130 in Spiritual Devotionals
The Way to Love: Meditations for Life Kindle Edition
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Although I don’t agree with all of it, I’m always open to new ideas or different ways of explaining the same ideas for better understanding.
I crossed off some ideas in the chapters “Serpents and Doves” and “How to Give” because they over generalized that Nature is always good and virtuous, and then overemphasized on a concept that’s close to saying our unconscious tendencies must be natural and therefore virtuous (complete nonsense, think violence) and in another paragraph it wrote “Understand your fears, and they will melt” - which can work in some rare cases but not really in most cases (example, fear of snake, you can overcome it by slowly desensitize using the tried and true method: do what you’re able to with something related to snake, then gradually build it up till you can actually touch one, don’t force it is the key). Let’s face it, read and understand all your want with snake, the fear will not melt, it is only if you couple with action (gradual desensitization) that you will overcome it.
I myself have not had the kind of mystic experiences that Tony had. As a result of his mystic experiences, he came to a new understanding of certain passages in the Christian gospels. He elucidates each gospel passage in light of the new understanding that his mystic experiences enabled him to have. Even though I have not had the kind of mystic experiences that he had, his elucidations of the selected passages make sense to me.
One of the key terms that Tony uses in his elucidations is attachments. As he sees attachments, they usually involve thrills and excitement and pleasure.
Digression: Because Tony was a Jesuit priest, he was trained in Jesuit spirituality (also known as Ignatian spirituality, the spiritual orientation based on the work of the founder of the Jesuit order, St. Ignatius Loyola). Jesuit spirituality built on and encourages a certain kind of detachment, as do certain other spiritual traditions. So Tony's reflections about attachments come out of a spiritual tradition that encourages a certain kind of detachment. Not surprisingly, Tony also encourages a certain kind of detachment.
I myself find it tricky to write about attachments and a certain kind of detachment. Tony does his best to write about attachments as clearly as he can. However, at times, his comments about attachments seem like verbal gymnastics. But I am not sure that I have figured out how to avoid his verbal gymnastics.
As Tony operationally defines attachments, they are not healthy.
But what would he call the healthy way to be?
According to Tony, the healthy way to be would be to be without attachments, because by definition attachments are not healthy. Nevertheless, he does not use the root word of "attachments" to suggest a name for the alternate healthy way to be. For example, he does not use the terms non-attachment or detachment to characterize the healthy way to be.
Instead, he uses the term "love" to characterize the healthy way to be. So according to Tony, when we experience love as the healthy way to be, then we are free of attachments.
In this way, he uses the term "love" to name and explain the mystic experience in the present moment.
I should mention that the Canadian Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984) formulated five transcendental precepts for people to follow that are 100% compatible with Tony's basic advice about love unencumbered by baggage, as he puts it:
(1) Be Attentive.
(2) Be Intelligent.
(3) Be Reasonable.
(4) Be Responsible.
(5) Be in Love.
Lonergan's American Jesuit follower Robert M. Doran extensively discusses the dissolving of images that block cognition, which in effect is what Tony refers to as baggage, the kind of stuff that encumbers us and that we need to be free from in order to love.
Even though the central thrust of Tony's book is to advocate mystic awareness ("the unaware life is not worth living"), he also advocates clear thinking. He says that "what clear thinking calls for is not intelligence - that is easily come by - but the courage that has successfully coped with fear and with desire, for the moment you desire something or fear something, your heart will consciously or unconsciously get in the way of your thinking" (page 141).
So to engage in clear thinking, we need "a heart that divests itself of its programming and its self-interest each time that thinking is in progress; a heart that has nothing to protect and owes nothing to ambition and therefore leaves the mind to roam unfettered, fearless and free, in search of truth; a heart that is ever ready to accept new evidence and to change its views" (page 141).
As short as Tony's book THE WAY TO LOVE is, it is chock full of food for thought.
P.S. Nowhere in the text of THE WAY TO LOVE is Tony's indebtedness to the thought of Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), who was also from India, mentioned. From the retreat that Tony gave in July 1980 in Denver that I attended, I know that he was deeply impressed with Krishnamurti's thought. See, for example, Krishnamurti's book THINK ON THESE THINGS (orig. 1964; reissued Harper Perennial Library, 1989).