A Divine Valentine’s Day to All

When your chest is free of your limiting ego,

Then you will see the ageless Beloved.

You can not see yourself without a mirror;

Look at the Beloved, He is the brightest mirror.
-Rumi
I love Rumi. Who doesn’t? I especially love the above excerpt from Thief of Sleep. For what is the purpose of  any love – romantic, brotherly, divine, or otherwise – if not to put up a mirror to our face and show us the True Self? When we see our true and divine nature and embrace it, we begin to radiate love to all beings.
I wish you all a divine Valentine’s Day, filled with love for yourself, your family, your friends, and perfect strangers alike. Namaste.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.” – Hafiz

That Hafiz … Sure said a lot of smart things.

I appreciate how he says love wants to do us a favor. Trouble is we do not always let it. If we would just allow love to work it’s magic we could indeed have a nonsense-free existence. (nonsense-free on our own end – you can’t control other people’s nonsense and it’s spray) But, alas, letting go and letting love is not the easiest thing to do. So, instead, we cling to our nonsense and many times allow it to define us.

During my yoga teacher training, while discussing the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, we embarked on a discussion about change and transformation – the very stuff of Yoga and Life – and my Teacher made a point that has stuck with me ever since. If we want more of something in our life, we have to make room for it. We can make room for more of what we want by ridding ourselves of the opposite. If we want more love, we’ve got to let go of hate. More joy? Let go of sorrows. Peace? Make room for peace by giving up fighting.

Our Yoga practice is instrumental in this process of letting go. Through asana we create space, through meditation we learn to let go, and then the more of whatever we want can settle in.

So if we want less nonsense in our lives? Complaining about the bullshit (which we love to do) doesn’t make it go away. Make space for love by releasing hate. Let love hold you upside down and shake out all the nonsense. Then enjoy the opposite of nonsense: clarity.

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” ( Yes, I am quoting from Friday Night Lights. Yoga lessons can be gleaned even from television shows about high school football)

Twitter got me thinking …

Since I am up at all hours these days, I spend more time than usual reading through my Twitter feed on my iPhone while the little one feeds. The other night/day (who knows?) I read the following tweet from Deepak Chopra: Real change is accompanied by a new insight. Insight is an impulse of love dissolving some old imprint. This got me thinking about the relationship between change and love and the nature of the two.

Love cannot be avoided, though we spend a great deal of our lives alternately chasing after and retreating from it. We all want love, but the experience of it can be a bit scary since all love – romantic love, familial love, neighborly love, self-love – requires us to be vulnerable. In our Yoga practice, we experience love. We learn to love our whole selves – body, energy, mind, intellect, and spirit – and we learn to radiate this love out to others. This love tends to result in change, which also cannot be avoided. As we grow in love, the way we experience the world changes and this shift in perspective often leads to changes in behavior. Many times, these changes are changes that we seek. For most of us, that is why we were drawn to Yoga or a spiritual practice in the first place. It is the realizations that we have as we grow in love that help us to make necessary changes.

So, we make true and lasting change when we have an insight. And these insights result from love ridding us of some old idea or habit that we need to alter. But the word that Deepak used that really got me thinking was “impulse”. Insight is an impulse of love. An impulse is something that is involuntary, sudden, perhaps instinctual. To say that love can have an impulse introduces the idea of love, not as only an emotion felt by us and emoted from us, but rather an energy with its own agenda. And this love-energy, whether we realize it or not, is the motivating force for real change within us, because that is what it is impulsively motivated to do. Love “wants” us to evolve to our highest Self.

This means that beyond giving and receiving love, we need to let love. We need to allow it to flow through us and around us and beyond us. That saying “Let go and let God” could perhaps also be “Let go and let Love”.  If the nature of the world around us is to change, and Love is the source of change, then Love is also the nature of the Universe. I love the idea of the world around us, everything we encounter, conspiring to make us the most complete and truest version of our Self.  For, if everything is everything, then we too are Love.