It Makes Good Sense to Love Your Neighbour

OSWALD PEREIRA analyses the practical aspects of loving your neighbour

Why should I love my neighbour like I love myself?  The answer is simple: Because it’s the most sensible thing to do. Loving your neighbour is the first and best choice among the three choices you have. The first choice is love. The second is hate and the third is indifference.

Let’s examine each choice, beginning with the third choice. Perhaps, you don’t want to love your neighbour, because he is bad; but yet you wouldn’t want to hate him because you are a good person and you avoid negative emotions. So you are indifferent to your neighbour.

But indifference or apathy is a cold emotion. Apathy is as negative as hatred. The line between hatred and apathy is very fine. If you meet your neighbour on the street and you ignore him, it’s hardly a good and decent thing to do.

The second choice — hatred — will harm you as much as it hurts your neighbour…which leaves you with the first and the best choice — to love your neigbhour.

Honestly, loving an irksome neighbour is not as hard as it seems. It simply means respecting the person and thinking of his needs and desires as much as you would your own. You won’t be able to love yourself until you first love your neighbour.

Whether we like it or not, a major part of our life will always centre on that of our neighbours. Ask yourself some questions and you’ll see from the answers how important your neighbour is for your own peace and happiness.

And you can’t just stop at loving your immediate neighbour. You’ve got to love your neighbour’s neighbour too and your neighbour’s neighbour’s neighbour and…the circle of love gets wider subsuming differences of community, state, nation, continents — encompassing the whole universe and beyond.

Your heart is so big and so full of love, that its capacity to love is infinite; it’s Divine. Inversely, your heart’s capacity to hate is limited. Try applying the Golden Rule of infinite love to hate and you’ll find yourself shattered. That’s because you don’t have a limitless capacity to hate like you have to love. For, love gives you joy and power and victory and hate brings in sorrow and powerlessness and defeat.

Different religions propound love of your neighbour as an important part of their teaching. But you don’t have to be a religious person to love your neighbour…because love of your neighbour is a superb human emotion, not necessarily tied to any creed or religion.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest teaching. And the second greatest teaching is: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All other teachings hinge on these two teachings.

This is how Christianity explains the Golden Rule of ‘Love Thy Neighbour.’

World religions have strikingly like-minded beliefs on the Golden Rule: Hindus believe that one should never do to others what would pain oneself; Islam says not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. The Sikh faith asks you to treat others as you would like to be treated.

That nature is only good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self is a precept of the Zoroastrian faith. Buddhists say, hurt not others with that which pains yourself. And Confucius said: “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”

(Excerpted from the book How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life, edited by Oswald Pereira and published by Vitasta Publishing Private Limited.)

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