At church in Sunday school, when I was a young girl, our assignment was to memorize a verse from the Bible and recite it when we came to class. Because of my fear that I could not memorize a long verse I would arrive many Sundays with the simple verse, “God is love.” Although, the teacher would look at me with much disappointment expecting more from me, I felt satisfied with the simple words rolling off my lips. Those three words gave me a deep sense of comfort for some unknown reason.
As I aged and despite my long walk on Buddha's path, I found myself still reciting “God is love” as some sort of inner mantra. Finally, when I opened up to the entire verse I began to see the true reason this verse stayed with me throughout my life journey. The whole verse is, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).” Love is an act and it is simultaneously a description of the nature of God. When we love, we know God and we know love. And because I prefer to see God as a spirit within me, when I love, whether it is returned or not, I am still love. God is love, so we are love. God is love was the mantra I needed as a child in difficult times.
We come fully equipped. Love is our nature. What do I mean by nature? All beings, all things are nature. All things come into existence and they cease to be in existence at some point—that is the nature of things and beings. We are born and we die. If you spend time in nature, you notice that the spring flowers disappear by summer. The green leaves change from red to yellow to brown in the winter season. It is transformation and magic at it’s finest. Our true nature is to be love and loving from birth until death. It just so happens that such love is detoured by obstructions on the road of life. We end up falling into ditches.
Hate is a distortion of our loving nature. In other words, love is still there but it is distorted. You have to care in order to hate someone or something. Something in your mind, in your much-needed heart is convincing you that the person, people, or thing you hate is taking away your sense of joy and love. Something in your mind says that, “If I am afraid of that person or group of people, it is alright to hate them.” When you say, “I don't love that person,” you are saying, “I could love that person better if they were more like me—look like me, talk like me, listen to me.” On the other hand there can be an assumption a person does not love you so you hate them sensing at some point you will be rejected. These are distortions of love, a twisting of our true nature into a form to match what we think in our minds. We confuse love with the physical desire to touch and be touched. So, often we cannot imagine being touched by certain people or to touch particular kinds of people. Hate comes easy in such a limited understanding of love.