These are the words of Saint Teresa of Avila, the Spanish mystic and Carmelite nun who lived in the 1500’s. They are words of perennial wisdom and deserve attention in any era.
When I was growing up, there was not a lot of talk about love and what it was, what it meant. It was never clearly defined or expressed. Our family was quite stoic and of Northern European heritage; the adults were more the silent type. While I may have felt a commonality with much that was around me, it would never have occurred to me that I loved all of this.
What about you? Did you grow up with people expressing feelings of love all around you? If you did, I think that is a fortunate thing.
The great Sufi poet/saint, Rumi, wrote that
Reason is powerless in the expression of love.
It seemed to me, in those days, that reason was the only way I could get answers and figure out something so confusing as love. I looked to books and minds greater than my own to define love. When I read that Erich Fromm, the German social psychologist (in his book the Art of Loving) said that love between people, if it was to be successful, required these elements: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge (which I can still recite by memory), I thought that was it! I failed to consider that the answer to my question was readily available in spiritual literature and in so many places outside of the scientific, rational, material world. I wasted a lot of time, (if time is a notion to be considered), spinning my wheels and suffering in the process.
Rumi also wrote this:
If love is in your heart, you will find your way home.
It is no wonder, then, that when I naively walked into Rumi’s resting place, his shrine in Konya, Turkey, that I got a blast of energy so profound it brought me to tears. I did not have a clue who he was and what was happening, but I knew they were tears of joy, happiness and love. I needed to be dissolved in love, if only temporarily to know what this kind of love was like. It was a turning point, as were many of the new mystical experiences that were unfolding around me. unbeknownst to me, I was transitioning into a bhakti yogi after all those years in study, as a jnana yogi. But, in truth, while yoga opened this door for me, it could have arisen from many other sources — from Christianity or Judaism or Islam or a myriad of other forms — I was ready to be bathed in love.
Now I am steeped in this love. It is, at the core of my being, the only thing that matters and is authentic. I have been blessed with many teachers along the way. They arose from unexpected places, like the signs and messages and manifestations my mother sent to me AFTER she departed the world. Recently, only weeks ago, another teacher just happened to arrive in my life.
My husband and I attended a Fourth of July garden luncheon at the home of dear friends. When we arrived, our hostess told me there was someone there I should meet, that we were both “spiritual.” As my new acquaintance and I sat at a table in the shade, surrounded by flowering gardens, she told me instantly that her belief was in Divine Light and Love. I don’t know about you, but this is not a frequent topic of conversation at most country garden parties. I felt as if I had met an old friend, a kindred spirit. We understood one another in seconds. What grace, I thought. I felt intense gratitude. It was love at first sight — this expression of universal Love.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote this:
Every man is divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool.
You never know how or when there will a moment of “enlightenment,” when a spark of Love will be ignited that will alter your perception of everything in your life. It could be someone you meet, a phrase you read in a book, a quote on Facebook, a sign from someone departed, a scene in a movie, a sunset, a porpoise swimming next to your boat. It could be anything! But your senses must be open for it. Here are some ideas:
- When you meet someone, in any circumstance, try imagining that you are looking at a soul rather than just another person. See them through eyes of Love.
- Take a few moments, or as long as you can, to experience everything around as infused with love. Make that the words you are reading now, the chair where you are sitting, the device you are using to read this, the clothes you are wearing — everything. Then do this practice several times a day.
- Soften your present, past and future with feelings of love and acceptance. Set aside your “normal” mind based reactions. You can go back to them whenever you want.
- Now see yourself sitting in a pool of Divine Light, surrounded by Love. Say to yourself: I LOVE MYSELF COMPLETELY NOW, then spread that love out to the space around you. This, by the way, is not very different from circumstances described by those who have near death experiences. They feel complete and total unconditional love. You can do this while in this life. You don’t have to nearly die to know it.
I hope you will give serious attention to this subject of love. If I can be of help or you have thoughts you would like to share, I am here for you. Just ask.
You see, I know who you are. You may be in disguise, but I know that you are the essence of Divine Love.
With love and namaste, Deanne
For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com