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Learning to Love

Peggy La Cerra’s “Why Relationships Are So Difficult” ends with a challenge: “Perhaps it’s time for a new approach to the problem [of human selfishness and self-centeredness] — an approach based on a fearless assessment of ourselves and our nature within a broader and more comprehensive energetic network.” I agree.Here is my fearless assessment of humanity: we suck. After reading Peggy La Cerra’s essay, I can now blame this fact on nature rather than nurture, but we still suck. Having admitted that we suck, we must then ask a second question: “How then shall we live?”Before answering that question, let’s define what it means to suck. We might, for example, point to the seven things God detests, as listed in the book of Proverbs (6:16): pride, dishonesty, murder, scheming, mischief, bearing false witness, and sowing discord. Or we might examine the seven deadly sins, as defined by Dante: lust, gluttony, greed, discouragement, wrath, envy, and pride. All these pretty much peg us for what we are. But let me suggest a simpler understanding of human “suckiness,” based on the one unforgivable sin of Islam: sh …

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality.

He has this to say about religion: “To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence.”

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