Q: You say there is love in every action because love is the nature or essence of everything. Can this lead to a denial of or even justification for cruel and horrible actions?
A: You’re right that seeing love in everything can drift into a denial of or justification of unkind or even cruel and horrible actions. However, it is equally a kind of denial to ignore the love that is present in every action. That denial is even more likely to be used to justify further cruelty, shame, violence, and destruction. When we deny that there is love at the core of another person, then it seems justified to punish him or her with further violence and shame.
The antidote is to see the whole truth about a situation: We can see that the essence of all action is a kind of love or caring, and we can also see that this love or caring can become narrow and incompletely experienced and expressed, and sometimes even tragically and horrifically narrow and therefore dangerous and destructive. If we are able to see the love in every action, our own response is more likely to be loving and compassionate. We recognize that hurt, pain, and fear are what are contracting the essence and love so horribly. So instead of inflicting more shame and hurt to punish someone and thereby perpetuate the cycle of shame and violence, we address the shame and hurt in order to possibly heal it and release everyone involved from their suffering.
Just to be clear, this response to the whole truth about the situation includes doing whatever is possible to prevent someone from doing harm in the first place and to protect ourselves and others when necessary. Often this can be accomplished without further violence or shame when we are clear about what the problem really is, and so our actions are in direct response to the hurt, fear, and pain that are fueling the violence instead of being only an expression of our own fear and hurt.
Our mind seeks a world where everything is black or white. But with more experience and maturity, we come to see that the world is the way it is and not the way our mind wants it to be. This real world is incredibly complex and subtle and, at the same time, has an underlying simplicity or oneness of love. Seeing the whole truth and responding to that instead of to our limited ideas and beliefs about good and evil is a tremendous challenge.
Evil is the result of experiencing very little love, which is what happens when we are lost in pain and fear. Realizing this can inspire the experience and expression of more love and compassion, while denying the presence of love in even heinous acts only perpetuates the cycle of violence and hatred. Denying the presence of love in everything is as incomplete a perspective as denying the violence and cruelty in the first place.
So what will you choose? Will you choose to respond to shame, hurt, violence, and hatred with more shame, hurt, violence, and hatred? Or will you make the radical choice to see the whole truth about the hurtful or cruel act and so respond to it with love, compassion, and understanding as well as protective strength, discrimination, and integrity?