Luis Rojas has spent his life on a journey through both pain and success to an understanding of the power of love. Now in his new book The Answer Is Love: A Simple Conversation About Discovering Your True Self, he shares what he has learned during his fifty-plus years on this planet.
Luis takes readers on a rollercoaster-ride of the ups and downs he has experienced, from being a childhood bedwetter and enduring childhood abuse, to finding love, becoming a successful criminal lawyer and prosecuting attorney, and then losing it all and starting over. This last experience led him to a heightened understanding of love and to insights he labels “Messages from the Universe” that he shares throughout the book.
One of my favorite passages in The Answer Is Love is when Luis describes himself as a hummingbird that flies around all sides of a situation and above it to fully understand it. In the process, he gets to the depths of a situation. This ability helped him greatly in his career to bring about true justice. As he once told a judge who asked why the DA’s office had agreed to a plea deal and lighter sentence for a defendant, “Your Honor, justice is supposed to be just, and sometimes showing love and compassion during a criminal proceeding is the right thing to do.”
At the heart of this book are questions about why suffering happens and its purpose in our lives. Of course, Luis reveals that the answer to those questions is that suffering teaches us love. For Luis, love is the most important thing on earth, and he is especially aware of what can happen when love is absent from someone’s life. He has seen love at work, and he can tell you it is real and changes lives. In fact, he calls it “the most powerful force on Earth.”
Too often, we focus on all the bad in the world, but Luis knows that focus is off-kilter. He states, “I see the news about violence and hate. It makes me sad, but I can tap into Love, knowing there are millions upon millions of acts of kindness across the world every day.” Luis is one of those who commits acts of kindness. These acts need not be big grand gestures; they can be simple moments of pausing and reacting with kindness. A perfect example is how he experienced guilt and shame as a child because he was a bedwetter. He was made to feel something was wrong with him for being unable to control his bladder. As a parent, one night he let his daughter sleep with him. When she wet the bed, she felt fear and shame over his potential reaction, but Luis used love to eradicate any feelings of guilt. His decision to tell her that bedwetting wasn’t a big deal ended a cycle of hereditary pain in the family. Such a small act of kindness was healing for both him and his daughter.
Luis points out that when love is absent from a situation, it is often because we are busy living in the past, bringing up old hurts or grudges, or we are living in the future, focusing on our fear of what is to come. He states, “We vacillate so quickly from the past (what did I do that made me so late) to the future (what is going to happen) that we never stop for a second to live in the now. Love exists in the present and opens the door for positive connections to the Universe and your neighbor.” In other words, when we pause to live in the present, we can find ways to be kind and let love enter in.
Another favorite passage of mine has to do with a young man Luis let off lightly after he was caught selling drugs. Luis did not want to ruin the young man’s life but hoped instead the young man would change his ways. He states: “I know some may say, ‘It’s wrong that you gave him a pass’ or ‘You should have thrown the book at him.’
“The introspective question is: What book would you have thrown at him? The Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, the Toro, the Lotus Sutra, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, or the Code of Hammurabi? In actuality, none of those books put forth the philosophical concept of destroying a young man’s future for having two pounds of marijuana in his trunk. To the contrary, these books speak deeply on the importance of respecting the dignity of life, being compassionate, and ‘doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.'”
I love how Luis twists the “book” definition here to broaden our perspective of the situation and remind us that all the world’s religions preach kindness. Later, Luis states, “As a former prosecutor who sent many people away, I can tell you prison is not a solution. Prison is and will always be an additional problem. Prison serves only one purpose: to instill fear, guilt, and shame onto criminals and onto those who are imprisoned. It makes you hate yourself, and with time, makes you hate others. Prison typically does this by eliminating Love from the lives of prisoners.”
Luis is on a mission to reinvigorate all of us with his message of Love and to remind us to act from a place of Love. He realizes now that writing this book is his mission. He states, “all the pain from the crashes in my life made me sober up and get back to my real mission, which is to help others. Throughout, I remembered I was a good person who was here to help others. In the end, I thanked the Universe for my shortcomings, as they were what encouraged me to write this book.”
I hope you will join Luis on this mission by taking to heart the words he shares in The Answer Is Love. It has provided me with a profound reminder of what life is truly about and made me pause and reassess situations before I reacted with fear, worry, or anger. We can all pause to find love in any situation, and when we do, lives can change.