Monday, February 2, 2009

Traveling the Path, on the Way

"You are the secret of God's heart."

The most valuable thing you can offer is your possible or potential spirit. This is what you have always available to offer, what you need to live your own love story. Like the seed watered, your love is without beginning and without end. Watering the seeds of your love, is a practice that makes you grow-- but it is only a practice, not an end. For, if your focus becomes the notion of "growing," then the end becomes just that--a pursuit and the way is obscured by what you pursue.

As Deepak Chopra relates in his book, The Path to Love,
"...[it] is something that you consiously choose to follow, and everyone who has fallen in love has taken that first step." Pope John Paul II in his first public gathering, exhorted the crowd with the Bible verse, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you always."

Deepak continues, "In India, the spiritual path is called Sadhana, and as I've mentioned though a tiny majority of people give up normal life to wander the world as seekers of enlightenment, these monks, Sadhus, everyone, from those in the most ancient civilization of Vedic India until today, considers their life to be a Sadhana, a path to the Self. Although the Self seems separate from us, it is actually intertwined in everything a person thinks, feels, or does...
As long as the Self has yet to be found, sadhana exists. The "goal" is to change your awareness from separation to unity."

And while the inner work takes place, it must have something exterior to sustain it.
"In India, a person's nature leads him to the style of path appropriate to reaching fulfillment. Some people are naturally intellectual, and therefore are suited to the path of knowledge or Gyana. Some are more devotional and are suited to the path of worship, Bhakti. Some are more outwardly motivated and are suited to the path of action, or Karma. The three are not mutually exclusive; rather they may form a wholly integrated path.

"Ideally there are periods of study, worship and reflection, and service in a person's day." It is possible to be so taken by a particular practice that ones' whole existence centers upon that practice. Perhaps it is reading the Scriptures, contemplation or scholarly debate, living the life of Gyana; perhaps spending time meditating, chanting and participating in Temple rituals as the life of a Bhakti. Or you may focus yourself doing social work, teaching, serving, applying yourself to mental and physical purification doing God's bidding in daily life, the work of Karma.

"A path is just a way to open yourself to spirit, to God, to love. These are aims we may cherish, but our culture has given us no established way to reach them. Indeed, never in history has a seeker been confronted with such a disorganized and chaotic spiritual scene."

Today what we are left with is the desire to love and be loved, a force and a power in the world too great to be extinguished; thus the path to love is not simply a pretty metaphor, it is a reality. In India, the most ancient version of this is bhakti or devotion, from Vedic India in which all love is in the search for God. The Sufis of Islam, and the great teacher and poet, Rumi, testify to this.

Christ initiated another version of the Way in his teaching "Love you neighbor as yourself." He did not simply say like, rather he passionately intoned the word love as his great commandment. The Christian idea of the Way is about the relationship between a parent for his beloved child. God is seen as the great mother/father. In the Hebrew scriptures, there is the great love of God for his creation in the Song of Solomon.

However "since the advent of Freud, psychologists have assured us that falling in love is illusory; the sense of ecstacy that is part of falling in love isn't realistic. We must learn to accept the temporary nature of romance and disregard the "projected fantasy" that we might be as immortal and invulnerable as lovers often feel." Chopra among others insists, the sense of uniqueness, blessing and delight felt by lovers has its own reality, but it must be found within, the world wishes no such part. The mystery that is love, joins us to a reality that we yearn for, and despite the "differences of a Sufi master, a yogi, a Christian saint, and a Chinese martial artist, all perceive spirit as clearly as seeing the earth and sky."

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