What the World Needs Now – an excerpt from Human Being and Becoming

The following is an excerpt from Human Being and Becoming by Dr. David Benner.

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Given the potency of love for healing, growth, and transformation, what could possibly be more important for the world than humans learning to give and receive love? The love we need to learn to give and receive, however, is not the soft, sentimental kind of love associated with Valentine’s Day but the hard, unflinching kind associated with loving those who will not or cannot return our love.

Love has become a transaction rather than a gift. But the only love that can ever be transformational is love that is given away, not exchanged. The only love that can ever truly make us and others whole is the love we give and receive as a surprise, even to ourselves.

Cover ArtBut notice that I speak of giving and receiving love—not receiving and then giving. Love has not only become a commodity of transaction, but it has also become something we have come to believe we must store up and pass on only after our own supplies are at a high enough level to warrant the risk of depletion. We think that the love we have to give to others is the excess of what we have received and hoarded. But this misses the whole point of love.

Love is like a stream: it is meant to flow. Once you block the flow, it begins to go stagnant. Love that is hoarded is no longer life-enhancing. It quickly becomes toxic. Wounds don’t heal by soaking in love but by passing love on.

Hoarding love always means that at least two people lose. The person who hoards love loses it because it is in the giving of love, not simply the receiving of it, that life is nurtured. And the person who was deprived of love because someone else hoarded and didn’t pass it on to him or her is robbed of the chance to pass love on to others.

The world’s great spiritual teachers have always challenged us to do exactly this. Jesus taught by word and example to love one’s enemies, not just one’s friends. He was clear that love given in exchange—that is, given so it will be given back—is not love at all. Love that is not freely given is not love at all.

©2016 by David G. Benner. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

This Just In: Human Being and Becoming

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Becoming fully human is a lifelong journey. It can also be an incredible adventure. Here internationally respected depth psychologist, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach Dr. David Benner explores the mysteries of human being and becoming.

Drawing on insights from science, philosophy, and forty years of experience integrating psychology and spirituality, he presents concrete steps for living in ways that move us toward wholeness. He also draws on mysticism, the perennial wisdom tradition, interfaith dialogue, and the contemplative Christian tradition, developing a robust spirituality that reveals how we can align ourselves with God’s presence in the world.

 

David G. Benner PhDDavid G. Benner (PhD, York University; postdoctoral studies, Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis) is an internationally known depth psychologist, author, spiritual guide, and personal transformation coach who lives in Toronto, Ontario. He has authored or edited more than thirty books, lectures widely around the world, and has held numerous clinical and academic appointments. Visit his website at www.drdavidgbenner.ca.

 

Praise for Human Being and Becoming:

“David Benner is an adventurer and an explorer of geographical horizons and spiritual landscapes. Thank God he invites us to join him in the adventure, for the journey he describes is truly glorious!”—Ruth Haley Barton, founder and CEO, Transforming Center; author of Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation

“David Benner again offers winsome wisdom. His contribution and legacy will most certainly be taking concepts like being and becoming and not simplifying them, for they would then be less satisfying, but giving us insights and connections to create a beautiful elegance that helps us grasp them….Please read this. Please integrate this. Please pass this around. We will have a richer and more current Christian expression because of it: a Christianity that is truly becoming in a world that continues becoming and unfolding. Both the book and the author are gifts.”—Ron Martoia, author of Transformational Architecture

“From his own adventures in the human journey, David Benner offers this exquisite and engaging mosaic to expand our awareness of being as vital interconnectedness and to compel us toward our destined wholeness through timely practices of receptivity, hospitality, and consent to love-guided living.”—John Kiemele, founder and executive director, Selah Center, Woodway, Washington