This morning, I read this selection from 100 Graces, Mealtime Blessings, selected by Marcia and Jack Kelly:
"In India, when we meet and part we often say 'Nameste,' which means I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the place in you of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you where, if you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us." This blessing is from Grist for the Mill by Ram Dass.
I think of Jesus' response to a scribe who asked him which commandment is the first of all. Jesus answered, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
I had always heard the second commandment interpreted as a command to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. As I matured, that commandment felt like a curse because one who hates himself will hate his neighbor, and sometimes I was that neighbor who was hated.
More recently, Jesus' second commandment was reinterpreted for me. I am to love my neighbor as a part of myself. When I allow the egoic distinction of separateness to dissolve, I am able to love another in an organic way. I share so much more with others than I normally imagine.
I will ponder the relationship between Jesus' first and second commandment. How could loving my neighbor as a part of myself free me to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Jesus is telling me to be united in my affection toward God and my neighbor, to be one, as God is one. Nameste.