The wonderful thing about life is that on every turn it poses a new question and it is in our struggle to find the answers to them that our growth takes place. I shudder at the thought of a life where I wouldn’t struggle with these dilemmas and mysteries. How boring our lives would be. I never want my life to be a straight highway, I like to travel on curving bending roads clinging to the mountains. The views are great but you never know what the next bend will bring. I simply love it and on that note the latest question I am struggling with is precisely that - Love!
First let me clarify that I don’t mean romantic love, which one falls in and out of. I am talking about the more persistent and permanent kind of love, the kind we feel for our parents, kids, country etc. This is a deep seated emotion in humans and we cannot function without it. The absence of love especially in our formative years can lead to psychological problems which persist throughout our lives and prisons across the globe hold evidence of this.
We are reasonably good at loving people. Our love is not dependent upon contrast. Contrast is nature’s way of making us appreciate something by placing it next to something which is its absolute opposite. For example we appreciate light because of darkness, we crave for justice when we see injustice, we focus on abundance when we come across lack in any area of our life etc. But we don’t love our kids because we find our friend’s children disgusting. Our parents don’t tell us to show our love for them by showing hate for all other parents of this world. Then what happens to us when we apply the same love on concepts, ideas or the intangible? Why does our love for our country have to be demonstrated by hating another? Why does love for your religion mean that you hate people of other religions? Why must I protect my ideas and paradigms by exhibiting a repulsion for those who have a completely opposite thought process? In short why is love so dependent on hate? I struggle with this especially when it comes to patriotism. I am a proud Pakistani and one who refuses by choice to live in any other country but why must I hate all Indians to prove my love for my country? Frankly I don’t care about my neighbor, they can do what they want in their house and I will do what I want in mine. Obviously if the people in my next door apartment do anything which violates my privacy, freedom or safety I should and I will retaliate. But unless that happens I will not go on telling everyone how much I hate them. Same rule applies to countries and religions etc.
If we want to change the world then we have to teach our children to love. You and I are not world leaders, nor are we revolutionaries, but in our homes running around and making incessant racket is tomorrow. Its these kids who will in a few years inherit this planet from us, if each parent taught their kids how to love without hating the opposite, in the next couple of decades this would be a different planet altogether. We need to let them know the mirror of hate does not reflect love. Alas no school teaches this and no parent thinks of it. In fact at home when we crib and swear about how much we hate the politicians, our boss, our colleague etc. we are teaching our kids that to love one means to hate the other. By the time the child is 3 years old his/her world map is almost complete, largely drawn by what he/she hears regardless of their language skills. So if you do nothing else the least you can do is shut up about your negativity when your child is within earshot even though that child is simply a drooling, gurgling baby right now.