For me the most influential teaching of bell hooks is "BOTH/AND". She was my first teacher of non-dual philosophy in praxis when I heard her speak live 20 years ago. It blew my mind wide open with a big resonant YES. Most things in life are simply not either/or. To reduce them that way is to enforce the illusion of separation. It's not that we turn away from the reality of pain in order to love. It's rather can we expand our capacity to hold the complexity - the both/ and - and thereby see, feel and love bigger? That truth has stayed with me every day of every year since.
The other central teaching is about Love....
“When angels speak of love they tell us it is only by loving that we enter an earthly paradise. They tell us paradise is our home and love our true destiny.”
― bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
There are so many quotes I could pull from this visionary book, but I chose this one today and surprised myself. It's not the usual bell hooks quote, and is drawn from the controversial - and also my favorite - All About Love. The book is my favorite because it changed my life in very dramatic ways, and forever. It pried open my heart and emboldened me to believe in "love's promise revealed."
I wanted to share this because I needed it today, and because it reveals part of the heart of the message that the enlightened hooks tried over and over to tell us, just as MLK and Maya Angelou did. If we want love in this world, we have to BE IT. We didn't come here just to suffer, we came here to re-member how to live in earthly paradise. And if we want a r-evolution in the way things are going here, it will have to come from a profound depth of love. Anything else remains in the dimness of self-loathing (mirrored in the loathing of the other for whatever reasons); the mark of colonialism. And always, we have a choice in the matter.
Love is as radical as it gets.
I'm here for paradise, for love's promise revealed.
For being honest about what hurts and being devoted to the beauty: both/and
What are you here for?