The love that I longed for and, I think, all of us really long for, is knowing that we are loved – a knowingness about our being that unites us to all of humanity, to all of the universe; that despite ourselves, we are loved. And when you realize that, and you embrace that, you begin to look at everyone else, and you can see very clearly who in your vision knows they’re loved, and who does not. And that makes all the difference. And I began to give thanks and praise for that love.
You know how so often people say they go on this journey – and I said it, too, that I’m looking for God. But God has already found us, really. We have to look in the spot where we’re least likely to look. And that is within ourselves. And when we find that love, that presence, deep within our own personal being – and it’s not something you can earn or something that you can work towards, it’s just a realization of being human, of being alive, of being conscious. And that love is overwhelming. And that is the basic foundation of joy.
And then we see it in others, and we seek to ignite that love in others. You can’t do it, you can’t force someone to realize they’re loved, but you can show them. And most of the effort we make is just by living our lives, by being compassionate and loving and respectful and being a vassal of service for others. That’s what feeds that love. It’s like giving back.
But that embrace, I sometimes – it is so overwhelming at times, this reality of loving because one is loved – that it just brings you up short…
--Martin Sheen, interviewed on On Being
Image source: Still from Martin Sheen’s film, The Way