by Anthony De Mello

God’ s kingdom is love and the great poet Rumi said “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

What does it mean to love?

It means to be sensitive to life, to things, to persons, to feel for everything and everyone to the exclusion of nothing and no one. For exclusion can only be achieved through a hardening of oneself, through closing one’s doors. And the moment there is a hardening, sensitivity dies. It won’t be hard for you to find examples of this kind of sensitivity in your life.

Have you ever stopped to remove a stone or a nail from the road lest someone come to harm? It does not matter that you will never know the person who will benefit from this gesture and you will receive no reward or recognition. You just do it from a feeling of benevolence and kindness.

Or have you felt pained at the wanton destruction in another part of the world, of a forest that you will never see and never benefit from? Have you gone to some trouble to help a stranger find his way though you do not know and will never meet this person again, purely from a good heartedness that you feel within you? In these and so many other moments, love came to the surface in your life signaling that it was there within you waiting to be released.

How can you come to possess this kind of love? You cannot because love is already there within you but you can block its presence. As soon as a conclusion you have made about someone hardens into a belief or conclusion about who they are, your attitude toward them becomes fixed and you are no longer capable of love’s sensitivity. The mere realization that these are beliefs, conclusions, prejudices, not reflections of reality, will cause them to drop.