When people ask me to name the most powerful medicine I know, many are surprised when I respond, “Love.” In my two-and-a-half decades as a healer, I have observed that love is the greatest of all medicines and is the true essence of all healing.
My work brings me into close relationship with people facing life-threatening illness. It’s not uncommon that upon diagnosis of a serious illness, such as cancer, that people are often struck, as for the first time, with a deep understanding of the preciousness of life. It’s as though the thought of life being taken away is what sparks renewed life. Suddenly, our goals in life change—often radically—and we reevaluate who we are and where we are going. With great clarity, we become certain about who and what is important in our lives, and we know how we want to live out the rest of our days.
Rather than mechanically functioning in society striving for security and survival, the diagnosis of a life threatening illness enables us to begin to fully live. Sadly, although many people live 80 or 90 years or more, they have never truly lived, and they leave this life with deep regrets. How, then, shall we live? How do we live today so that at the end of our lives—whether one day or decades from now—we can say that we have wholly lived this precious life?
I believe that the answer can be distilled to the simple precept of love—love for God, for ourselves, and for all beings. Despite all that we have gained in the realm of modern life—including advances in medical technology—we have lost our connection to what is most important. We wander aimlessly, seeking the objective while forfeiting the subjective. Money, greed, power, and prestige are the objective, while our spiritual life and the pursuit of the divine love that is God is our subjective path. It is only spirit that is eternal, and spirit, which resides in each of us, must be born and grow in divine love. This is our true nature. We must find true love and give love. We find this love within ourselves where God dwells, within each other by giving love, and within nature. We cannot own love, or buy it, or possess it, for true love is free and is always giving of itself.
True love requires unconditionally giving. Some people feel after they have given that their energy is depleted. This means that you have not truly, unconditionally given. In the words of St. Francis, “For it is in giving that we receive.” If you have honestly given, you will feel energized and restored. In the same way that fresh water flows in to replace water that you draw from a well, unconditional giving allows the flow of love to replenish the giver as well as the receiver.
As eternal spirit dwelling within the physical body, we are called by God to live. We are called to a life of joy and freedom, where our daily walk reflects the growth of our spirit. This spiritual growth is an active relationship with God that is reflected in how we help one another. Helping others is a selfless action, but in reality, our involvement with others and their problems often causes our own problems to dissipate.
When we love selflessly, we are fulfilling our true nature and are filled with joy. We cannot live life with the goal of merely surviving. We must live life being alive in spirit, pursuing a journey of loving. When we live with the goal of loving unconditionally, we are creating a life that is whole and healed.