I thought tonight I might talk on the subject of love. Love is one word I don't often use, mainly because it's so misunderstood. I also believe that only through growth do we understand what love is. Defining it, we just add some more words to the usual words, and it doesn't really convey the meaning. But love is an absolutely necessary ingredient on the path. If we ever-expect to get full realization, we must increase our love until it is complete.

  Now the love I talk about, of course, has nothing to do with sex. Sex is a body gratification. However, most of us confuse it and tie it in with love. When you see what sex is and what love is, you'll see that they are two different things. They can be tied together and also they don It have to be. The love that we talk about is the love of Jesus Christ. It's the love complete, which expressed in the extreme is: "Love thy enemy." I think the best definition of the word is: "Love is a feelingness of givingness with no expectation of receiving for the giving." Its a very free giving. And it's an attitude that is constant. Love doesn't vary, not the type of love we're talking about. The amount we have we apply to everyone. We love our family as such as we love strangers. This might sound odd, but this is the truth. To the degree we're capable of loving strangers; to that degree we're capable of loving our family.

  The concept of possession is just the opposite of the meaning of love. In love, there is never a holding onto, a fencing in, or anything like that. Love has a sense of freeing the ones we love. When we are giving in our attitude, we want the other one to have what the other one wants. I guess the best example of this type of love is the love of a mother for a child. A mother will sacrifice and give everything to the child, without considering herself.

  There are other definitions for love. I think acceptance is a good word. When we love people, we accept them as they are. If we love this world, we accept the world the way it is. We don't try to change it. We let it be. We grant the world its beingness the same way we should grant every other person his or her beingness. Let them be the way they want to be; never try to change them. Trying to change them is injecting our own ego. We want them to be the way we would like them to be.

  Identity is another definition. Love is a feeling of oneness with, of identity with, the other one or all other ones. When there is a full love, you feel yourself as the other person, and you treat the other person just like you treat your own self. There is complete identity.

  A constant state of gratitude accompanies a state of complete love. We are thankful for everything. We even thank God for the bad as well as for the good. To understand this requires reaching the state of high love. Only then does thanking God for the bad have any meaning to us. The practical aspect of this is that the more we practice being in a state of gratitude, the more loving we become. Try this and learn the truth of it.

  Love is not only a feeling, love is a tremendous power. This is so little understood in the world. We have an example of this type of love being expressed today by Martin Luther King. No matter how much he's attacked, he will give out nothing but love to his attacker. He teaches non-violence. And the greatest demonstration of this type of love was Mahatma Gandhis winning a war against Britain. He did this without any arms and through his teaching: "The British are our brothers. We love the British. Non-resistance to the British and to the British soldiers, only love for them." Gandhi well understood this and was able to win over enough followers in India to make this effective. The power behind love, without question, is far more powerful than the hydrogen bomb, that is, once you know what love is. Love is the most powerful force in the universe when expressed as love really is, not as we have been taught to think of it.

  It is said that God is love, and I add: "One with God makes a majority." One individual, with nothing but love, can stand up against the entire world because this love is that powerful. Love is nothing but the Self that we speak of. Love is God. When we are only love we are God. To quote the Bible, "God is love. God is all powerful." So there's some authority for what I'm saying besides my saying it. Love will give not only all the power in the universe, but also all the joy and all the knowledge.

  Now, how do we make this practical? The best way of increasing our capacity to love is through wisdom, understanding. Also, we can do things in our every day life that will increase our love. The first place to practice love is at home, with the family. We should try to love our family more and more and more. I think everyone knows the wonderful experience of love, of loving one person. Can you imagine what it's like if you loved three billion people? It would be three billion times more enjoyable! Home is the first place to keep trying to increase our love for the ones around us, by granting them their beingness. That's the most difficult thing, I believe, to do in a family, especially if the other one is a child. But every child is a whole, complete, infinite individual, and a child of God.

  Next, after loving the ones in our home, we should try to love our neighbors, then our larger group, our state, our country. Then we should try to love all people all over the world.
  Q: The Russians?

  Lester: Even Russians.
  Q: The Chinese too?

  Lester: I heard Oral Roberts say something on that some Sundays ago. He said, people ask What would the attitude of Jesus be toward the communists if He came back today? And he answered, He wouldnt be the way people expect. He wouldn't have anything against anyone. He would not hate the communists. He would talk against doing wrong doing evil, but He would never say anything against any human being.

  I believe that if we understood the power of love, and that if the majority of Americans loved the Russians, Russia would be won over by the Americans without any arms.

  After we learn to love all the people in this world, there are many more people outside of this world. I think loving all the people in this world would allow us to meet with our brothers and sisters of other worlds, because in this universe there are many, many mansions; many, many places of abode. And because of our inability to love on this planet, we have cut them off.

  So, to come back to the point of being practical: The more we develop love, the more we come in touch with the harmony of the universe, and then our life becomes more beautiful, more bountiful and more delightful. It starts a cycle going where you spin upwards. Love begets love! Love falls in love with love!

  There is another thing. If we want to be loved, the way to get it is to love. It is not only the very best method, but it is, I think, the only method. To receive love we must love because what we give out must come back. Looking for love without loving does not bring love to us, does not satisfy us. This is a basic error in many, many peoples thinking. They go through life wanting to be loved, never feeling that they are even when they are really getting the love. The feeling has to be in us. If I love you, I feel wonderful. If you love me, you feel wonderful. It's the one who loves who feels great. So wanting to be loved is getting into a direction that can never be satisfied. The happy one is the one loving, the one giving. Blessed is the giver because he's so much happier.

  Love should be felt equally for all. When we say we love one person more than another, if we would trace it through by going inwardly, we would find that the one we love more is a person whom we think we need, who has something that we would like to have, and therefore, we say we love that person more. This is propitiation in the guise of love.

  Actually, love cannot be chopped up. If you want to test your own state of love, look at your enemies. This is the real test. Or, if you dont want to go that far, look at strangers. Examine your attitude toward strangers. It should be one of: they are me; they are my family; every mother is my mother; every father is my father; every child is my child. This is the attitude we achieve through understanding. This is the real sense of the word love.
  Q: Lester:, it seems to me you're talking about love as giving, giving of yourself and so forth and yet the conflict that I have occasionally is that it seems that as you give of yourself, people tend to take more and more. And eventually, if you don't put a stop to it, they bleed you dry emotionally, mentally, financially, and they use you as a crutch.

  Lester: That's impossible. If we feel the real love, if we have the correct attitude of love, that doesn't happen. What you're saying I often hear. What is needed is for us to know what real love is. The givingness is an attitude. We can always maintain an attitude of love. Most people who give are not giving lovingly. They're giving because of the recognition they think they will get for giving: "Look at me; I'm doing good" or "I may get my name in the paper," or something like that. You see, that kind of love will get us into trouble. People will drain us on that because we're looking for something in return. We're looking to put ourselves up in the process and therefore, they'll pull us down.
  Q: Don't you think its easier to love somebody five thousand miles away than somebody next door to you?

  Lester: The easiest thing in the universe to do is to love everyone. This is what I think. This is what I've discovered. Once we learn what love is, it is the easiest thing to do. It takes tremendous effort not to love everyone and you see the effort being expended every day. But when we love, we're at one with them; we're at peace, and everything falls into line beautifully.

  The main thing is to know love in the sense that I'm defining it, then those things don't happen. But when we love in the sense that humanity understands the word, then you're right. But I don't call that love.
  Q: What do you call it? Or do you have a name for it?

  Lester: Selfishness, actually. We are doing things really to help ourselves.

  And yet in the real love, in the spiritual love, there's no self-abnegation. We don't have to hurt ourselves when we love everyone, and we don't. When we love, there's a feeling of mutuality. That which is mutual is correct. If you love, you'll hold to that law, and therefore people won't take advantage of you. If you are loving, you're applying the most powerful force in the universe. But it's the love of a Jesus Christ I'm talking about, not the every day selfish love.

  Practically speaking, if people are trying to hurt you, and you just feel love for them, if they continue, you will see them hurt themselves. If they continue further, they hurt themselves more. They won't be able to oppose you any more. But we have to practice this love that I'm speaking of, not the love as we have known it.
  Q: It's a basic attitude. It's nothing you physically or even mentally do?

  Lester: It's a constant attitude that evolves in us when we develop it. However, we should try practicing the love, as said before. First, on our family. Grant everyone in the family their own beingness, if you can. If you can't, keep trying, keep trying until you can. Then apply it to friends, then strangers, then everyone. By doing this, you will develop it, although it isn't something you can just like that.
  Q: In a way, all of us have it, but it's just layered over by many attitudes?

  Lester: Yes, it's smothered by wrong attitudes. Now this love I talk about is our basic nature. It's a natural thing. That is why it's so easy. The opposite takes effort. We move away from our natural Self and smother it with wrong attitudes.
  Q: Isn't love almost like a selfishness, because when you love somebody, it's such a wonderful feeling for you?

  Lester: Well, this is a matter of semantics. The way you put it yes, but not in the general sense.
  Q: I know when I love somebody, I feel so good. It's such a wonderful feeling.

  Lester: It's true after you discover what love is. It's the greatest thing in the universe. It's the thing that everyone wants, only because it's his basic nature in the first place. Every human being is basically an extremely loving individual.
  Q: To understand this thing of joy, is it the same type of thing as when your mind becomes stilled in one avenue of thought, of acceptance of the other person, and therefore the mind is stilled?

  Lester: Yes. The more we love, the less we have to think. If I'm not loving you, I have to be on guard. I have to protect myself. If I'm not loving the world, I'm always protecting myself from the world which causes more and more thoughts. It puts me extremely on the defensive, and subconsciously it builds up year in and year out, and then I'm a mass of thoughts protecting myself from the world. Now if I love the world, the world can't hurt me. My thoughts get quiet; the mind gets peaceful, and the infinite Self is right there. And thats the experience of this tremendous joy.
  Q: In other words, it's not the object that brings this out. It's the quieting of the mind that actually lets the beingness come through a little more, and that really is the love experience, isnt it?

  Lester: Yes.
  Q: The light shines through!

  Lester: Yes. What you mean is that we take our infinite Beingness, our infinite joy, and we cover it over with thoughts. We take the natural state which is unlimited, and we cover it up with thoughts of limitation. The thoughts smother this infinite Self that we are. It smothers the capacity to enjoy just being. And so all we need to do is to quiet the thoughts, or rid ourselves of all thoughts, and what's left over is the infinite, glorious Being that we are, which is our natural state. Isn't that odd? That is our natural state. That's the way we were, that's the way we're going to be. We are actually that now but we don't see it. This infinite glorious Being that we are, being absolutely perfect, can never change. It's always there. We just don't look at it. We look away from it. We look far away from it. What we should do is turn, our mind inward, and begin looking at It, and the more we look at It the more we see It.

  Everything seems to point to the same direction, does it not? That happens as we get more understanding of what life and the universe are. Everything fits together more and more, and gets simpler and simpler, until there's just one absolute Simple called God. God is simple; everything else is complex. The greater the complexity, the further we are from God. God is One and only One; One without a second.
  Q: If someone else has a desire and there's a feeling that if I went along with him that I might lose something, then that isn't love. But if my love is complete in the sense of whatever they wish I wish, then I wouldn't be afraid?

  Lester: Yes. There's a word for it today, togetherness. It's a very good word. Doesn't that fit what you're saying, togetherness?
  Q: The thought occurred to me that when I know my beingness, I can't get hurt, so how can anybody else hurt me?

  Lester: That's true. It's impossible to be hurt when we love fully. We only feel wonderful when we love, in fact, we feel the greatest!
  Q: If you feel a sense of togetherness with one more than another then you begin to separate?

  Lester: Yes, it is not full love. Its partial love, and the more partial it is, the less good it feels. When we love fully, we love every being. We have nothing but a tremendously wonderful, warm attitude of: everything is fine; every person is just right. We see only perfection, and that's the way we see the world. When we hate, we see the same world in just the opposite way.
  Q: When you speak of giving, are you speaking of giving things or spiritual understanding?

  Lester: Love is an attitude of givingness. When things are given with this attitude, it is love. If I give you something because I want you to like me, that is not love; that is trying to bolster my ego.

  The greatest givingness is giving understanding, giving wisdom. If I give a meal to a man in poverty, four hours later he needs another meal again. However, if I give him the principle of how to produce a meal, he will never go hungry again.

  Let me end with a quote: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful. It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."