Book Extract / Radical Love

by Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar is a peace-pilgrim, life-long activist, and former Jain monk, who has been inspiring global change for over 50 years. In his 20s, he undertook a pilgrimage for peace, walking for two years without money from India to America for the cause of nuclear disarmament. Now in his 80s, Satish has devoted his life to campaigning for ecological regeneration, social justice, and spiritual fulfillment. He will contribute to our “Love is Freedom” Earth Retreat in June.

Radical Love

Radical Love distills Satish Kumar’s lifetime of experience as a lover, parent, activist, and educator into simple lessons on transforming our time of ecological crisis, conflict, and scarcity into one in which we experience harmony with nature, safety, and abundance. His approach is founded on simplicity (including the Jain principle of aparigraha), generosity, and continuous learning. 

Love is the suspension of doubt. To love, I need to believe in myself and believe wholeheartedly in the people I love.

Criticism – an Obstacle to Love

“Love is not bondage. Love is bonding and belonging. Love is not a merger of two souls… In the arduous, unpredictable, and marvelous journey of life, love is a promise of companionship. Criticism is a consequence of doubt, doubt in the ability of the other to do the right thing. Allow the light of love to enter our souls and dispel the darkness of doubt. The god of love resides in the temple of trust…

We have been educated to cultivate a critical mind in all circumstances. We have been conditioned to think that doubt is always a good thing… But when it comes to love, friendship, and relationships, then criticism needs to be replaced with appreciation. Trust needs to be enshrined in our hearts in place of doubt. Relationships and love grow in the ground of the heart, and the heart is nourished by the nectar of trust.

Doubt deprives us of deep and lasting relationships. Doubt holds us back from making long-term commitments. It is not just in loving relationships that we need to let go of doubt. Even in our working lives, we have to make a commitment to something we love, and pursue our paths in spite of ups and downs, difficulties and obstacles, risks and uncertainties. We must not criticize our own hopes and dreams.”

Towards a Holistic Environmental Movement

“…It is not possible to have healthy people on a sick planet. Similarly, without social justice there can be no ecological justice, because if large numbers of people are oppressed and struggling for survival, they will not have the capacity, energy, or opportunity to be mindful of planetary well-being. And without spiritual values, such as love of people and love of our planet, underpinning and informing our worldview, ecological sustainability and social solidarity will remain superficial, only ever skin deep…

…Our actions need to be rooted in a deep recognition of the unity and dignity of life, and in a profound conviction that all life is sacred. By embracing a sense of the sacred we cultivate compassion and love for all life. We cultivate frugality, simplicity, moderation, and restraint. We become the embodiment of change while demanding external systems to change. Personal transformation and political transformation become a mutually supportive process, like walking on two legs.

Transformation is a lifelong journey and not a destination.

…Environmentalists put quality of life above quantity of production and consumption. They focus on the growth of the well-being of people and the planet rather than on economic growth. Within the view of Deep Ecology, economies and politics should serve the interest of Mother Earth as much as the interest of human beings. The rights of Mother Earth are as fundamental as human rights. There is no contradiction between the two.”

If you have enjoyed these excerpt from Satish Kumar’s book, Radical Love you may purchase it from Parallax Press or your local book vendor.

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