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8. Love

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Principle: Love

Definition: Personal attachment; that which commands admiration; sympathetic understanding; ardent affection; the earnest effort to promote the welfare of others.


An awakened person maintains a heart filled with loving kindness toward all beings. One does not view anyone as an "enemy." All beings are seen through the eyes of compassion and are treated with kindness. The Dalai Lama is the ultimate modern day example of one who not only embodies love and compassion, but demonstrates how to extend it to those who hate and deem to destroy the Tibetan people and their religious beliefs. He says repeatedly, "My religion is love."
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Making amends or making restitution is an action step. Many think an apology might suffice. Amends, much like Step 5 (confession), is a humbling step through which we must own and be accountable for the effects or consequences of our behaviors on others and make every effort to right the wrong. If we have stolen monies or property, then we must replace what we have taken plus add one-fifth to it (much like we pay interest on debt). The result of having performed this step is freedom from guilt and shame which would otherwise remain alive and buried in our emotional psyche.
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We trust that the Originating Mystery inherent in all matter causes life to self-organize, self-evolve and self-regulate. We humans need to allow this process to evolve.
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Seeing Divinity in everything means having a vision of equality. There are no judgments, no rankings, no categorizing, no labeling, no duality. The sage sees everyone as he sees Self. It becomes easier to "Love your neighbor as your Self." This practice requires that we actually see ourselves in others - in order to find the common ground of our beingness. It also requires that we know and love ourselves, without that, we cannot know or love another. A God-realized person sees nothing but God everywhere because there is only one Universal truth grounded in love.
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Muslims practice showing gratitude for Creation and all that it encompasses. They show their humility for what they have received. Their prayers reflect their gratitude for all they have been given from daily guidance to the creation of the Universe. Believers follow the example of Prophet Solomon who prayed with deep gratitude, saying "Lord, inspire me to thank you for Your favors to me and my parents and to act righteously so as to please You." (27:19)
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Lists imply order. Some people think there is too much order in Judaism. But Jews believe that if we follow a specific way of doing things, an order that has worked for so many for so long, we have a better chance of reaching our goals. We are taught that part of our task is to restore order and goodness to the world. We have a powerful compulsion to mend the world’s imperfections. This step prepares us to begin making the world a better place by correcting the injustice that has come from what we have or haven’t done through our own actions.
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Native American Spirituality

This step helps us start to mend the wreckage of our relationships. We acknowledge that we have hurt people. We prepare the ground to actually make amends in the next step. We understand that we are connected to all things. When we accept this truth we become willing to look at our part in the creation of the harm. Each person who wronged us or we wronged is carefully considered, respected and honored. To honor one is to honor all, and to dishonor one is to dishonor all.
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When there is hurt, "someone must risk returning injury with kindness, or hostility will never turn to goodwill." There must be an offering of kindness, love and authentic forgiveness. The cosmos continuously demonstrates that within chaos we find tranquility and vice-versa. This is characterized in the symbol of the yin and yang. Within the darkness we find a speck of light. As we come to live in the way of the Tao, we learn to let go of anger and resentment in order to create space for love and kindness to flow. Source is always giving, always creating, and new life is always emerging. This is the way of the Universe.
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