Love: The Magical Ingredient

“Love is the magical ingredient. If you have love you have everything.” Phillip Schmucker, a long time friend of mine, made this quote when he appeared in the film New Frontiers in Healing. The film was shown on PBS in Detroit a few years ago. Phillip has crippling cerebral palsy and has struggled his whole life with mental and emotional difficulties caused by his illness. During his lifetime Phil has overcome many barriers. Prejudice towards people with disabilities was common when Phil was growing up in the 1940s. People told him he would never be able to hold down a job. A teacher once told him he would never be able to read or write.

Phil never gave up. He has held many jobs and actually published the story of his own life. His book, "I Forgive" is well written and the stories of his tribulations and accomplishments are extremely moving.

Finding love while living with such extreme disability can be very challenging. Yet, I believe Phil has spoken an important truth. Love is truly magical. All of us know of stories where people’s lives have been completely turned around by love. Often it doesn’t have to be a big display of love. It can be just small things – simple kindness, a thoughtful word, or even something as simple as a smile.

Herein lies the amazing power of love, specifically the Divine love. We never know how love is going to be used. We may think that we have nothing to offer. We may believe that we don’t have what it takes to change the world. Yet, the real truth is that every act of love is powerful and we have no idea how to judge its importance.

Love can actually be a very powerful tool for our lives. If we can learn how to harness the power of love it can easily change who we are as people. In the past I have written about using a practice called remembrance. Remembrance is an ancient technique for bringing more love into our hearts. Remembrance means that we remember love. We do this by repeating over and over words that reflect love. Since God is love. We specifically use a word that means God. This can be the word God, Allah, Jehovah, Elohim, Ehlah (Aramaic for God) or others. For people who have a mental block about using words for God, they can just try the word love. The idea is to sit in a quiet place and set aside some time to remember love. Quietly, you repeat the word for God over and over. You don’t have to try to feel anything, but often with practice you will feel warmth, a soft feeling inside the chest in the heart region. The more you do remembrance, the more love begins to penetrate the heart. Remembrance of love in this way can completely change a person’s mental state and sometimes their physical condition. You’ll need to spend 15-30 minutes a day doing the practice of remembrance to begin to see results.

An example of the results of practicing remembrance can be found in a patient who I’ll call Jim. Jim came to see me a few years ago. Jim suffered with horribly debilitating anxiety and fear. He had struggled through a rough childhood with not much love and compassion expressed to him. He was in his early 40s when he began practicing remembrance. In just two years his life became completely turned around. The anxiety that had forced him to quit his job and spend most of his time alone was fairly well gone. He was much happier and calmer. His life also began to work. He returned to school and even got married.

Practicing remembrance is a simple meditation practice that can be learned by anyone. It isn’t new, but is a time honored, ancient technique that crosses many religious backgrounds. Paul in the New Testament talks about praying unceasingly. The Muslim Qur’an says, “to remember God while standing, sitting and lying.”

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. Traditionally, it has been a day set aside for love. Although the holiday has become more commercialized to sell cards and candy, it is still a special time. Couples in particular seem to be moved closer together on this special day. It’s often a time to remember the people we love.

As a Valentine’s Day wish I would like to encourage people to set aside time for bringing more love into their lives. Make a special effort to show kindness and compassion on this day. Take the time to smile more. And if you are really energetic, begin the practice of remembrance. Get up early. Find a comfortable place to be silent and repeat a word for God that you find soothing, over and over for about 15 minutes.

Even in what can be difficult times we can recall what Phil Schmucker said about love. It is the magical ingredient. Truly love can make a difference in your life.

About the Author

Kirk Laman, DO FACC. is a board certified cardiologist practicing in Jackson, Michigan. For questions about upcoming lectures, tapes, books visit his website at


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