Love. Everyone wants it. Everyone needs it. Very few seem to have enough. First of all, what is love?
Wikipedia might tell you something like ‘the emotion of affection and personal attachment.’ Hmm, that seems to be a pretty shallow understanding. Love is more like an ocean, deep and fathomless, beyond simple words. Perhaps, love is like light; that which warms the cold, and illuminates the darkness. If you feel like you’ve been left in the cold and dark, fear not, because you are just imagining it (not that your illusion doesn’t feel real), love is everywhere, in fact, you are even made of it.
For many people, life is an endless quest for love. From birth, we first look to our mother and father, and as we grow, that quest expands to include our family, friends, society, etc. Also as we grow, we may find that our parents are not able to satisfy our needs, and later in maturity we may focus on finding a romantic partner, upon whom we may project our need to be loved.
Unfortunately, this often does not work, as it is very rare, if impossible, for any singular person to fulfill our deepest needs and this quest for love often becomes a lesson in futility, and we bear the scars of many battles for love lost, turning cold and cynical.
Tantra is a whole school of thought, the most literal translation of which may be ‘all them is liberation’. In other words, all there is, is Love/God/Goddess, the only lover who can fulfill all your needs. Where yoga may say ‘steer clear of the earthy,’ tantra says go ahead and use any and all methods to get you back to Source, the infinite Sea of shining Love. Bhoga is the term for this pursuit: enjoyment of Earthly pleasures. Kama is the Sanskrit for erotic love, and in a tantric perspective, you should see your lover as a manifestation of Goddess (or God). Serve them, worship them, and let them do the same to you.
While loving the best of earthly delights as sacred will certainly put you in constant meditation upon the Love manifest in this world, we may return to the focus on our relationship between the individual self and others whom we encounter. Bhakti is a word translated to ‘participation in’ or ‘devotion to.’ It can also mean worship, a word derived from the old English ‘worth-ship’ (the condition of being worthy). When we approach our lives with bhakti, we engage with whomever we meet knowing they are worthy of our participation with (they are God/dess after all!).
Maitri is Sanskrit for friendliness. Metta is used in Buddhism for the same idea. Love yourself, your friends, your family, your co-workers, even your enemies. Adopting an attitude of loving devotion for everyone isn’t just a pipedream; such an attitude actually produces measurable changes in your physiology and just makes life all the better for everyone.
Peace and Love to you all!
Yoga is ubiquitous in the modern age. Everywhere you look there is a Bikram studio or power yoga class and pop stars and grandmas alike get down with downward dog; amazing, considering just a few generations ago, yoga was a closely guarded secret, hidden in the ashrams and temples of India. Beginning in the late Victorian age and fully [...]March 20, 2013
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