Love yourself and love others.
What higher precept does any ethical person need to guide them?
LOVE… utterly simple, yet all-encompassing… a universe unto itself with infinite expressions… from simple acts of kindness to supreme acts of self-sacrifice… and everything between and beyond.
LOVE… a self-evident enthusiasm that requires no sanction… unmoved by promises of reward or threats of punishment.
LOVE… a super-rational optimism… timeless and universal… uniting us all in mutual affection, mutual compassion, and shared purpose.
LOVE… the only hope of escape from the stifling grips of tribalism, religious zeal, obedience to authority, and conformity with the herd.
LOVE… a master force that transcends and includes every virtue… honesty, gratitude, humility, empathy, responsibility, kindness, generosity, compassion, creativity, patience, perseverance, forgiveness, justice, integrity, courage, and devotion.
LOVE… the cure for self-doubt, loneliness, boredom, regret, resentment, anxiety, shame, disillusionment, and resignation… but that is not why you do it.
LOVE… the humility to do things that are “beneath” me and audacity to dare things that are “above” me.
LOVE… the righteous anger to confront evil… and to challenge so many false gods that breed life-denying ignorance, division, and strife.
LOVE… the generosity to give the very things… compassion, forgiveness, understanding, honesty… that the world is denying and rejecting.
LOVE… the “super-human” capacity to give even though I am tired, lonely, sick, angry, hurt, or afraid.
LOVE… the heroic wisdom to do things that are “not my job”… to fix things I did not break… to correct mistakes I did not make… to heal wounds I did not inflict.
LOVE… available to everyone… even when happiness is not.
LOVE… a perfectly natural ethic of self-actualization and service to others… so easy to understand, so very hard to do.
LOVE… at once both a privilege and a risk… not for the weak and timid… not for those without the capacity to grieve.
LOVE… forever anguished by the tragic realization that I cannot, given my limited time and means, love everybody I want to love… or everyone who needs to be loved.
And so, LOVE may not conquer all, but it is still the only prayer that matters… the only unassailable answer to the difficult question of our mysterious and tenuous existence… the answer to every existential doubt, every suffering, and every evil in this deeply-wounded world.
LOVE… where better to invest my freedom, faith, and profound ignorance no matter what?