• Try any one of these once each day in a simple way: Demonstrate your love for specific people in some concrete way. Find a community program that helps you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for those in physical need. Offer a feeling response to the emotional needs of people in your life: compassion for the afflicted, comfort for the grieving, forgiveness of injury.

The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5) is the Christian recipe for the dismantling of the arrogant, self-centered ego. It proposes non-violent techniques as ways of showing love. Read it as if it were meant to be taken literally and then imagine what your life would be like if you did so. Take one example of a current conflict with someone and apply Jesus' recommendations. Notice how you feel about yourself. What happens to you when you no longer care about winning, being right, or retaliating? How have you thereby found a sector of your inner Self that was perhaps unexplored before? Is the Sermon on the Mount perhaps a portrait of us at our best—what we would look like if we were not afraid of love?

• The Greek word for sin is hamartia, which literally means missing the target. Our human target is love, wisdom, and healing. Sin is a deliberate choice against those three powers. It is any act that overrides our Spiritual instinct for wholeness and thus makes us miss out on the target of our destiny. Inherent in sin is an alienation from others. This loss of communion is the penalty built into sin. Write an inventory of the ways you have hurt people or cheated them or betrayed them. Write the same kind of inventory for yourself: how have you hurt or betrayed or abandoned yourself in choices you have made or in habits you have maintained? Look for compassion for yourself, not blame, and compassion for others, not disregard. Make amends to yourself and others by admitting your wrongs, asking pardon, making specific amends for the losses and pain you have caused and resolving to change your life so that you do not continue in the old way. The sight of you showing contrition, amendment,and resolution may disarm the other and free that person to forgive you, i.e., let go of blaming or hating you.

• How have I been an afflicting force in others' lives?

I may have been offensive in words, both said or neglected to be said, or in actions, both done and left undone. Some of these transgressions are known only to me and some are felt by and known to others. Look back over your life and list your important choices, decisions, and milestones. What indirect ripple effects of pain have any of these had on others? What deliberate choices have I made that have been abusive, led to hurt, or caused a loss? What agreements have I broken? How have I acted in spite of fear and thereby grown more courageous? How have I acted (or failed to act) because of fear and thereby lost access to my courage? How have I acted with an arrogant or entitled ego?

Apply this same model to yourself. How have you hurt yourself or let others hurt you? What is the best chance love can have to work in your life from now on? Use each of the points in the above model now in reverse: How have I been an assisting force in others' lives?

David Richo in Unexpected Miracles: The Gift of Synchronicity and How to Open It