A Little Book on Love
by Jacob Needleman
Delta Press, 163 pps.
It seems fitting to us that, it being February, we should look at the topic of love. Years ago, when I was an apprentice consultant, the big and wise man who was my
mentor said to me, “you know, this work is all about love.” I have never forgotten his words. He was right, and this book by Needleman not only supports that conviction, but
explains why love is the only way to bring ourselves and our world into greater harmony.
Needleman explores love based on the belief that love is
the work we do with our significant partner that supports our search for unity within. And while the book focuses mostly on this partnership, Needleman’s questions and
observations lend themselves to the work of coaches. Two concepts key to coaching - mindfulness and self knowledge -are key to love and compassion.
Needlman takes on, in his philosophical, spiritual, yet
practical way, all of the issues that we struggle with around love: passion, trust, communication, money, sex, power, work, and beauty. He expands our relationship to
the idea of love in ways that help us to see that as humans, we are the instruments in bringing about more compassion and love in our relationships and with
everyone whose lives we touch. As coaches, our ability to find compassion within allows compassion to express itself outwardly, which begets more compassion.
One beautiful concept in the book is that what Needleman
calls “intermediate love,” which is all about supporting our lover in their search for wholeness. If we view love as a search, love takes on a depth that is simultaneously
mysterious, comforting, spiritual, and compassionate. For as soon as we recognize the struggle, Needleman writes, we cannot help but love.
And so it is with coaching. This book will open the eyes of
any coach who reads it. As coaches, our compassion is fundamental to helping our clients feel more whole. We are helping our clients develop their inner strength and
harmony. We see their struggles and their joys, and we feel their experience. In numerous ways, we are partners in their search. As my wise colleague said, “you know, this work is all about love.”