As part of the A Narrative of Love project, Dr Scherto Gill hosted a series of conversations with thinkers and spiritual teachers on their understanding of love, and how they see the significance of love in our personal and political lives. This series was created in preparation for the 5th Spirit of Humanity Forum, held in June 2021.
You can also listen to the conversations as podcast.
Sister Jayanti Kirpalani, Additional Administrative Head and European Director, Brahma Kumaris.
“Dignity and worth don’t come through money, politics, or any of the external factors, they are part of the experience of the love that human beings can feel. If I am feeling love, if I am feeling full of love for others, I hold my head up high with dignity. I am able to see others with that self-worth that allows me to have respect for myself and respect others and value them.”
Professor John, Lord Alderdice, a Northern Ireland politician and Member of House of Lords of the United Kingdom.
“We need to engage with everyone as human beings, beyond the politics. Then you can actually begin to make changes in the politics that are more humanising.”
“When building peace we need to address disturbed historic relationships between people in communities, then new political structures or institutions can emerge that can help facilitate better communal relationships, not vice versa.”
Lene Rachel Andersen, author, economist, futurist and philosopher.
“If we have an educational system that is so focused on science and technology only for people to get an education so they can go out and be producers and consumers, we end up losing all meaning. Only giving parts of education becomes meaningless data and we get angry, frustrated and anxious young people that don’t know why they are learning what they are learning. I think that is what we are seeing.”
Bob Boisture, President and CEO of the Fetzer Institute.
“I think love is the only thing that can save the world…it is the only human impulse that is possibly strong enough to overcome those things that are pulling us apart.”
“The challenge of opening our hearts and love to each other is fundamentally a spiritual challenge; love is at the heart of reality.”
“Leadership development is all about virtue development, about spiritual formation.”
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder of Navdanya, a movement for biodiversity conservation and farmers rights. Founder and director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy.
“What connects life is love. The microorganism is giving love to the plant, the bee is giving love to the flower. And when you start to see these relationships of life as unconditional giving, nurturing and loving you suddenly realise not only the power of creativity and interactions in nature – but you also realise how trivial the mindset is that wants to cause harm and to disrupt these relationships.”
Dr Joy DeGruy, Internationally renowned researcher and educator. Her research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery.
“I believe all people are one. That's a spiritual practice that I have had throughout my life.”
"I needed to act, I needed every black child to to know that they were intrinsically noble, and that there was nothing that they needed to fix in themselves. I needed everyone to know what I believed. So I had to walk it, I had to do the research, I had to do that deep dive, I had to unpack my own injuries, so that my children would not receive them. “
Theresa Chuang and Chris Zheng, Co-Founders and Directors of Farm Sincera, a project that aspires to bring sustainability to eco-tourism and agriculture development in China.
“The western world displays a lot of love amongst individuals and families, while in Chinese culture love is expressed more subtle and discreet. It is about harmony, love for society and love for all. I The western societies can learn from China and China can learn from western societies.”
"Love is really about taking care of each other, being there for each other."
“By loving the land, we can inculcate a more loving family, building stronger relationships with people.”
Dr. Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace – the largest multi-religious leadership platform with 92 national and 6 regional Inter-religious Councils.
“When people are coming together from different religions an interesting dynamic happens. First, they will spend their time speaking about how unique and different their position is from one another, but as they converse something happens. It is almost as if the spirit of the Divine is felt tangible, because it moves from 'my religion is better than yours' to a space of mercy. The conversation between different faiths has the potential, the capacity, the space to create an incredible mercy, to be able to see one another's love and be merciful towards one another. That actually requires the multi religious discourses and those discourses are turning points.”
Steve Killelea, Founder & Executive Chairman, The Charitable Foundation and the Institute for Economics and Peace.
“You can see spiritual development as a reflection of the increase in the capacity to love.”
“Everything is relative to something else, so in a spiritual sense it seems to be one thing underlying all of it. If we can tap into that, even in just a very minor way, we will actually increase our love and peacefulness.”
“Love is expressed with little acts of kindness. We can improve the tapestry of life with really simple things. When you go into a shop, smile at the person and say, ‘Hey, have a good day’. The best way is really something which happens on the individual level. ”
Thomas Hübl, spiritual teacher, author, and international facilitator. His lifelong work integrates the core insights of the great wisdom traditions and mysticism with the discoveries of science.
“An update of every one of us as a human being is needed to build a new world. To build a new world that can take care of climate change, for example, or to take care of other global challenges, I need to change. My old version cannot build a new world, I need to become a new version of myself, you need to become a new version of yourself, and (then) together we will be able to build a wider future.”