What’s Love got to do with it?

4 min readFeb 13
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When you have a messed up knee, do you say, “I have a bad knee”? Do you think, or say, “I have a bad back”? Your knee and back may be causing you pain because they are in need of repair, but they are not bad. It’s a lot easier to heal a sore or damaged body part if you extend love to it. After all, love is a manifestation of life energy, the force that animates you and your knee to begin with.

Reiki is a healing art, a laying of hands, that focuses Reiki energy, which I believe is love, to allow your body to heal. Energy practices like qigong also move love through your body to release blockages and allow healing. I suppose you could hate a broken arm and it still may heal, especially if you begrudgingly love it enough to put it in a splint and you want it to heal. But love is the critical ingredient — it forms us and all of life.

It’s a mistake to say, “Bad dog!” to a dog that you want to behave better. It’s even more counter-productive to call a child bad, since you want that child to deeply believe that they are good and can do good. I would like to extend this reasoning to other people. Like a “bad” knee, you may have a “bad” neighbor who creates pain in the world through their rhetoric and actions. Certainly what they are doing is harmful. If you want to diminish that harm then you want that person to get better. Hating them doesn’t have any possibility of helping them to improve; only love has that power.

It’s a real challenge to extend love to somebody who, at least in some aspects of their personality, are behaving abhorrently. At some point we tend to draw the line. We can love the cliché crazy uncle if they are only slightly annoying and are also loving and wonderful in other facets of their life. Maybe you can avoid feeling hatred toward somebody who’s doing something wonderful for you, say your surgeon who saves your life, even though they have ill-informed political ideas. But at some point, if you’re like most of us, you’ll say that person is irredeemable; they are scum. They are not a person. They don’t deserve to live.

That’s a bit like saying that your “bad” knee should be cut off and thrown away. That’s certainly one approach. The approach of violence, both spiritual and physical, is acceptable to most people under some circumstances. But there are other approaches that are…


Essays, stories & poetry about OCD, culture and society, by Eric