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Agape, Personal Love, & World Healing
Why the love that will really heal
the world is personal love.

by David Truman

Taking responsibility for love that heals

Loving large (universal love)

Loving small (personal love)

Healing the world one person at a time

The chain of love

Excuse and concern department

In love, commit to being at cause, not at effect

Creating the context in which personal love can thrive

Back to planetary healing

Taking responsibility for love that heals

All of us want to help heal the planet. When it comes to planetary healing, many people say universal love is the most important factor. Granted, "Practice love. Do good works," is good advice. And we do well to radiate love worldwide. But it's time to recognize that, while universal love (agape) is helpful, and even essential, it's not enough.

Follow this logic, and see if you agree . . .

1. Planetary healing depends on humanity healing. Truly, for the planet to be healed, humanity must be healed -- because humanity is the cause of most of the planet's ills.

2. Humanity healing depends on the healing of individual humans. What is humanity, after all? A collection of individuals. So, humanity will be healed only to the extent that the individuals that comprise humanity are healed.

3. The healing of individual humans depends on personal love. To be healed as an individual, one must be loved as an individual. All the messages of universal love in the world, though positive and helpful, can't possibly satisfy the legitimate need of human beings to be recognized as who they individually are -- and loved as such. So while universal love is grand, until and unless there's personal love along with it, universal love falls short in healing power.

Loving large (universal love)

As a recipient of universal love, you can feel the limitations of its power to heal you, as an individual. Imagine, for example, you're sitting in an auditorium, listening to a big-hearted lecturer, and the speaker sincerely says, "I love each and every one of you. You're lovable because you're a child of God. You're lovable because you're a member of the human race. I love each of you who came to this presentation."

You can feel that warm embrace, that love-gift, that transmission of light-energy. Is it uplifting? Yes! Does it heal your heart? Sure! But how much? Maybe ten percent, and for ten minutes.

Those limitations exist because, when you receive love from someone who's loving universally, you can feel the love, but you don't feel that that love received is personal -- for you. No one can be healed, personally, just by being the object of "generic" "universal" love.

Where's the rest of the healing -- the other 90 percent -- going to come from? Outer space, maybe? Heaven, perhaps? These days, positive messages of love rain down from heaven constantly. "We're here for you. If you ever need us, just call." For any human being, it's nice to know that you're part of a demographic earmarked for help. It's like an American Indian learning that "all Native Americans qualify for $5,000 from the government." But how much good do such general entitlements really do you? Do they heal your heart? Not much.

That's the problem with relying on universal love for planetary healing..

Example: The effect of insufficient personal love in work teams

Loving "small" (personal love)

Some people would label personal love "small," and universal love as "large." But labels and judgments aside, the truth remains, the love that heals is the love that the individual recognizes is for him or her -- which is love that recognizes the individual as such, trusts the individual as such, and commits to the individual as such. So, that's the only kind of love that can make the difference this world needs.

Which leads us to one inescapable conclusion:

Our planet can only be healed by personal love. Period.

Healing the world one person at a time

Just as world hunger is solved one child at a time, people are healed individually, one by one. So, just as we will end world hunger one person at a time, we will end love-starvation one person at a time. If we are to heal the humanity, we must love personally, not just universally. We must commit our love, and focus it.

People intuitively recognize the power of one-by-one. Parental commitment draws its power from that principle. Indeed, many parents recognize the world-healing power of personal love when they say that their contribution to saving the world is to raise one or two solid world citizens.

Unfortunately, the biological roulette wheel does not always deliver children who embrace their parent's ideals. Consequently, to save the world, we must love beyond family ties, beyond belonging of any kind, beyond personal preference and convenience. We must invest deeply in what Jesus called "the fertile ground." In this case, the fertile ground is people who are actually open to the fulfillment of relationship. Only those people will accept love deeply enough to truly be healed, and become healers in their own right. Do you see?

The chain of love

But there are so many people in the world! How can we possibly save the world unless we can love people in large batches?

Here's how: Love someone, and heal that one. Then that one will love and heal someone else. The chain continues to infinity, because surely, anyone who is truly fulfilled in love, by love, can and will love/heal others.

As aspiring world healers, our job is to get that domino effect going. By loving personally, by committing genuine love to actual individuals, we begin to build a network of love that will extend far beyond ourselves.

Excuse and concern department

The immediate challenge of one-by-one love-healing is to find lovers willing to love personally. If you ask people if they are willing to love personally, almost everyone will raise their hand, but most of those hands will be trembling. People may prefer to love impersonally, and give universal love, because it's safer, and easier.

Without a doubt, many pitfalls and challenges lurk in personal love. Many of us fear love-commitment. And we are gun-shy about trust. If so, it behooves us to go through the Excuse and Concern Department, and get past our own objections to loving personally. Here are some of them:

1. "Universal love is higher love, better love"

Universal love is often considered to be "higher, better love." That's because often we associate personal love with attachment, and with ego. But remember: as long as we are referring to egotistical personal "love," we're not talking about love at all. When personal love is true (rather than egotistical), it's every bit as "high" and "good" as universal love -- maybe even better.

So the real concern is this: If personal love is consistently ruined whenever ego gets involved, what should we do about that? We can either run away from the problem, or fix it. Better to fix the problem, rather than running away from it (or rather, with it). After all, the only effective way to heal any person is with personal love. Given that, if we run away from personal love, we can't heal humanity in the only way it can be healed.

2. "Wanting to give or receive personal love is inherently selfish"

Do you really think that personal love is necessarily, irremediably selfish -- and therefore unloving? That would mean it's impossible to love personally. Puleeese!

Along that same line, some people believe that if anyone wants to be loved as an individual, that desire must come from ego. Wait a minute! God created us as unique individuals; that was no accident of ego. Uniqueness and individuality stand beyond ego.

It is entirely legitimate for an individual to desire the love he or she deserves. Real human needs are not sinful. Let's free interpersonal love from guilt and shame, and vindicate individuals in their desire to be loved as who they are. That vindication allows for the healing personal love provides.

3. "Loving personally is too hard"

People are often intimated by the challenge/responsibility to love personally. Unquestionably, personal love requires more of the lover than universal love requires: more ego-transcendence, more commitment, more forbearance, more understanding. And it requires strong relating skills, more engagement, deeper engagement. All of that.

Compared to the sacrifices and investments required for personal love, universal love is a bargain. But hey, what can I say? Pearls of Great Price are never cheap. And as always, you get what you pay for. What takes more, gives more.

And furthermore, everything costs -- including living without personal love. Which costs more? The wise man says, living without personal love costs most.

So let's admit the simple fact that whatever it costs us, personal love is well worth the price -- for all concerned, givers and receivers alike. Personal love is as crucial and valuable as it is challenging. And again, no matter what it costs, personal love is the only kind of love that will heal others -- and heal you. Now how much would you pay?

Resolve to become effective in personal love, whatever the cost. Fortunately, the exact cost of effectiveness in love is universally known: transcending egotism. Knowing that, do that.

4. "Personal love is my downfall, my Achilles heel"

Many people may admit personal love is a great thing, but count themselves out, saying, "The problem is not love; it's me. I ruin love." It's a fact: in the context of personal love, many people turn egotistical more or less helplessly. Their testimony is, "When I get attached to someone, I start acting in freakish, destructive ways. I become obsessed, craving, crazy, demanding, defensive, offensive, etc. -- and I ruin things."

True, the "I-ruin-love syndrome" can bring relationships to grief. And having suffered that problem repeatedly, many people have lost faith in personal love -- or at least in their ability to handle it constructively. People often conclude, "I tried to love. I tried to commit. It didn't work. I can't handle it. I've given up, more or less."

Then something like universal love becomes the default position. But again, universal love goes only so far to help people. Now how will the humanity be healed? And how are we, as would-be lovers and planet saviors, to achieve functionality in love?

Take responsibility for personal love. Responsibility is the answer -- the only answer. So, while it's wise to admit, humbly, that our old reactive patterns don't work, we'd be naive to think that taking a permanent vacation from personal love, or even a long vacation from it, could solve the problem. In the long run, avoidance can't and won't solve any problem. And the longer the run becomes, the more entrenched the problem gets.

So if you feel that personal love is your downfall, whatever you do, never accept that sad state of affairs as inescapable. Becoming egotistical in personal love is a pattern to overcome, not to surrender to. The cost of personal love avoidance, to everyone, is far too great.

The conclusion is inescapable: if we have a problem with personal love, we'd better fix it.

More on how to heal our Achilles heel in personal love

This song is an affirmation that, with willingness,
you can break through old limitations, and succeed in love.

5. "How can I heal if I am not healed myself?"

As would-be world/humanity healers, we know we can't effectively heal others except to the extent that we, ourselves, are healed. So, how do we ourselves get healed? Not just by loving ourselves. That's only part of it. And certainly not just by receiving universal love from people we hardly know -- or by hearing lofty truths spoken to humanity "in general." Like everyone else, we get healed only by receiving the personal love upon which our well-being depends.

But the next question is: how do we get someone else to love us enough to heal us? Most people will truthfully say, "I don't know anybody like that." Or, "All the good ones are taken." Or, "I'm waiting for Mr./Ms. Right, or my soul mate, to come along; then I'll be loved."

More about waiting for birds of a feather

So many people waste their lives waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right to be delivered to their door. And then, so many others waste the opportunities that come. Countless pairs of soul mates have found each other, and failed miserably to get along! So the truth of the matter is, finding the right person doesn't guarantee a personal love relationship that's truly healing.

The question remains: how do you get someone else to love you well enough and long enough to actually heal you? The true answer, the only answer, is this: by loving them. Because only by loving them deeply and truly can you . . .

1. Bring out their trust and love.

2. Be/become the loving person that can trust/accept/receive love.

What you've really got to do, rather than waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, is bring out the Mr. and Ms. Right in people you actually find. That takes love commitment over time. Remember the birds-of-a-feather theory? We attract to ourselves what we're willing to be. There's truth in that. But this is really powerful: we can bring almost anything out of someone, depending on our approach. We can, for example, bring out the Divine nature in our love-partners, or suppress it. It all depends on how truly, deeply, and consistently we love them.

In love, commit to being at cause, not at effect

When it comes to personal love, don't give up on yourself or on others. Instead, take responsibility to cause success in love. Commit. Be Loyal. Trust. Love.

Love-commitment is a cause, not an effect. It's deluded to think that when we find love, then we will commit. True and viable love results from commitment, not from good fortune or fate. What creates real functionality in love is being willing to commit to loving someone, and living that commitment. Commitment comes first.

On the receiving end of love, we all hope and pray that others will be patient and loving enough with us to bring out our true potential. That is only reasonable, since we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the people who have made the most positive difference in our lives are those that have committed to us despite our faults. Those people saw us through the good times and bad. They were loyal, dedicated, devoted to us. We know from experience, then, how important that kind of commitment is.

So, while we wait for soul mates, the Universe waits for us to develop the necessary will and commitment required to make any love relationship fruitful. Love begets love. It's up to us to help bring out the best in the people we love. We can find our Divine beloved if we commit to someone, and love them as the one they truly are, even before it's entirely obvious that they are a Divine being. That requires a great deal of love, and love over time. But that's commitment -- and it works.

Creating the context in which personal love can thrive

We must find people who are open to being personally loved, of course. We can't force love on anyone. But when we find someone who's open to love, it's our responsibility to love them.

Taking responsibility for healing people with personal love is about accepting the qualities of love -- and taking them on as matters of personal responsibility. Trust; loyalty; ego-transcendence: those are the qualities of true love. By embracing those qualities in ourselves, and sharing those qualities with others, we create the context in which love can thrive. That's how we can generate, out of our hearts, the healing context of love. In that context, our beloveds can thrive, grow, blossom, and bear fruit.

Back to planetary healing

So, where were we? Oh yes -- we wanted to heal the planet. Now we know how it happens: it's that love chain thing. The people we've loved truly and personally, having been fulfilled by our love, will go forth and create their own gardens of love. That's exactly how we can heal all of humanity, and heal the planet. There is no other way.

by David Truman

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