"And what drives people to seek power over others? Why would anyone want to spend this short, precious life pursuing the chimera of empire building or world domination? What's the thrill in that? Power over others is a way of trying to prove that I am somebody, to force others to look up to me: 'I'll get you to respect me one way or another, even if it means torturing or killing you.' If I can show you I'm really somebody — the chief honcho, the dictator, the world conqueror, the filthy-rich magnate — then you will have to look up to me, and then maybe I can feel good about myself. But if I felt held in love, there would be no reason to try to set myself above you.

"Behind all the evils of the world is the pain of a wounded, disconnected heart. We behave badly because we hurt inside. And we hurt because our basic nature is wide open and tender to begin with. Thus all the ugliness in the world can be traced back to turning away from our raw and beautiful heart.

"When we recognize this — that the sins of the world are but symptoms of the universal wound — we can understand the words of the French spiritual teacher Arnaud Desjardins when he writes: 'There are no bad people (including Stalin and Hitler, who were responsible for the deaths of millions) — only badly loved people.' Here the root of all evil is laid bare: There are no bad people, only badly loved people. If Stalin, Hitler, or Osama bin Laden experienced themselves as loved and lovable, what motivation would they have to kill? Feeling love circulating through you makes you want to celebrate and nurture life, not destroy it.

"Of course, dictators like Stalin or Hitler don't realize what is driving them, because they have buried the pain of their wounding underneath many layers of grievance, hardening, and self-aggrandizement. No doubt it would take many years of psychotherapy to unpack the ways that they are bruised, badly loved souls in need of tender, loving care. 'If Stalin had been truly loved,' as Desjardins points out, 'he would not have killed twenty million people.' "