There’s a story that when the Universe was first created, and everything was put in its place, the Creator then thought, “Where to put Pure Love? I don’t want to leave it lying around anywhere, it should be in a place where only those who are truly deserving can find it.” Some celestial beings suggested hiding it at the bottom of the ocean, but the Creator said that people will build submarines and find it there. Other celestial beings wanted to hide it in the stars but, again, the creator said that spaceships will be built and people will find it there. Finally, the Creator said, “Let’s hide it deep within every person’s heart; only the sincere seekers will think of looking for it there.” Even though this is a story, it illustrates how we so often search for love in all the wrong places, when all we have to do is look within.
Pure Love vs Love
It’s important to understand that the love we are talking about here is not the superficial emotion that we often refer to as love. Emotional love comes and goes, putting us on a roller-coaster of “he loves me, she loves me not.” The love we are talking about is our essence and doesn’t come and go. It has always been, and always will be with us supporting our journey through life. We can call this Pure Love, a love that:
- Loves for the sake of loving.
- Has no desires or needs.
- Dissolves boundaries and separation.
- Is its own reward.
We just need to open ourselves to find the source of this true love within us and then embrace it fully in our lives.
If Pure Love is our essence and everywhere, why aren’t we living it every day? Why do we often feel lacking in love? Think of your television set. It’s the instrument that traps the non-local TV signal and converts it into the localized program for you to watch. Likewise, your mind and body are the instrument that trap Pure Love and convert it into your life’s experiences. However, if your television isn’t working correctly, you get a distorted version of the program. Similarly, the stress, fatigue, and toxins in your mind and body distort your appreciation of love.
We don’t have to run around searching for love, we just need to purify the instrument and allow love to flow freely in our lives. Then, as the Vedas tell us everything becomes ours, “The ignorant person dreams of material possessions, the intelligent person dreams of enlightenment but the wise person just loves and everything comes to him or her.”
Let Pure Love Be
Love is eternal, infinite, and unbounded, until we try to contain it within the limitations of our personal needs. Think of Pure Love as like a vast, endless ocean, flowing effortlessly in all directions. When we impose our likes and dislikes on it, it’s like freezing parts of the ocean, so ice blocks form. Love then assumes various forms to satisfy our needs. However, when our love becomes unconditional, the warmth of that love melts the ice and we enjoy the fullness of Pure Love.
Once we were utterly, totally, passionately in love, but we let it slip away. We not only forgot to love, we forgot who to love. The Vedas describe four stages of the spiritual seeker’s journey back to Divine Love.
Stage 1: Bhakti
This is the path of love and devotion. This is the start of the journey back to love for the spiritual seeker. It is the softening of the heart so that jealousy, anger, pride, lust, and greed begin to effortlessly fade away. It may include practices such as prayer and chanting, but has no rigid rules.
Bhakti awakens the yearning for a deeper love.
As the great Sufi poet Rumi wrote:
There is a candle in your heart ready to be kindled
There is a void in your soul ready to be filled
You feel it don’t you?
You feel the separation from the Beloved
Invite it to fill you up, embrace the fire.
Remind those who tell you otherwise,
That love comes to you of its own accord
And the yearning for it cannot be learned in any school.
Bhakti is still in the relative world but opens the way for higher states of consciousness
Stage 2: Bhava Samadhi
This is a state of ecstatic consciousness. It is an advanced spiritual state in which the emotions of the mind are channeled into one-pointed concentration and the practitioner experiences devotional ecstasy. The awareness is on the border between the Absolute and the Relative, although there is still awareness of the external world. Some ego is present but there is a maturing of one’s devotion, leading to direct experience and communion with one’s personal form of the Divine. The Great Indian teacher Sri Ramakrishna would often spontaneously slip into this state.
Stage 3: Mahabhava
This is the intense, ecstatic love of the Divine, where the devotee experiences himself or herself as one with the Divine. There is hardly any worldly consciousness.
Stage 4: Prema
This is the rarest and most advanced state of love and devotion. Here the devotee is lost in Pure Love, forgetting (or unconscious) to the world and the physical body.
In the Shankara tradition followed at Chopra, we talk about different states of consciousness, the highest of which are known as Divine and Unity Consciousness. In Divine Consciousness, the heart is fully expanded to the extent that it is said: The whole Universe appears as a grain of sand in the fully expanded heart. We see the Divinity in everyone and everything, and loves becomes unconditional. In Unity Consciousness, the separation dissolves and we return to our essence. We are Pure Love.
Applying the 4 Stages
All this may give us a beautiful vision of future possibilities, but what can we do now on a practical level? In pre-satellite times, sailors navigated their way home using the Pole (or North) star. Make Divine Love your Pole star. Who you are is what you will attract into your life. Use love to guide your thoughts and actions. Talk in the language of love; let your tongue reflect the qualities of your heart. Love brings compassion, which leads to understanding, opening the door for forgiveness and ultimately peace. The world we live in is a reflection of the collective consciousness of us all. We need to raise it to one of love. The Vedas tell us that the gateways to hell are anger, lust, and greed. We need to close them with love, harmony, and compassion, and create the magnificent world we all deserve. Our love should enrich the lives of everyone. A peaceful, loving world is possible if we truly want it.
Transformation Through Meditation
Meditation is the most powerful tool we have to connect directly with Pure Love. It reminds us how to love. Meditation takes us beyond all the stories, doubts, and fears to reconnect with our essence—Pure Love. Every time we go there, we bring a little more back into our lives, and the transformation begins. At the end of your meditation take a few extra minutes. Bring your awareness to your heart center in the middle of your chest. Be aware of, or imagine, the Pure Love of your heart center, then begin breathing it throughout your body. Fill every limb, organ, and cell with Pure Love. Love is the greatest healer—breathe love into any area that may be challenged. Breathe love into your mind; fill every thought and emotion with love. Allow love to dissolve any negativity. Now surround yourself with love—create a halo of love around you. Say silently, “I am Love.” Now radiate love to the world, your friends, your family, everyone. Say silently, “May I awaken love in all hearts.” Then return your awareness to your heart center and rest here. Rest in the arms of love.
Talk with your inner love, ask for its guidance. Know that when you live your life from Pure Love, you will always be safe and secure. As my first Guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said, “Love shall forever shine on our way and the light will guide our steps, whether we go slow or fast. The light of love shall forever be with us on our way. Love shall forever be the anchor of life. We shall be in love and love shall be in us. We shall live in love, shall grow in love and shall find fulfillment in love eternal.”