Today’s meditation is from my friend, teacher and heart-sister Aditi Devi Ma, renowned spiritual guide, author and meditation teacher. She is a regular contributor to our annual retreat, and writes to us today from the depths of her own year-long retreat. I am truly grateful that she is sharing the fruits of her profound practices with us today!
“The topic of love is most rich and delicious. It is also a tangled topic; there is so much confusion about the nature of love and more confusion about how to love. We want love, we don’t want love. We also only want love in very specific ways from very specific people. Most of us think of love as either something that happens to us by accident or something we get, or receive from others. Most of us are hoping that we have love in our loves and what we usually mean by this is that we hope there are people in our loves who love us the way we want to be loved and that we don’t get hurt along the way. In truth, most of us feel a true lack of genuine love and connection in our lives. The meditations that my dear sister-friend Arwen have been sending out to you for this online retreat are wonderful introductions to the practice of increasing presence, love, and awareness in your daily lives. These meditations and contemplations are filled with information on how to love bigger and how to transform your everyday forms of loving into sacred connection with all existence. Of course, we start first with ourselves.
Then, as we gain confidence in our ability to give and receive love, we can expand the scope and intensity of our loving.
One of the experiences that many of us have with love is actually a lack. Most of us have the experience of a deficiency of love rather than a fullness of love. While we can ask others to love us more and better (which is a precarious gamble with fleeting results), and we can ask the universe to take care of the gaping wound in our hearts (it is never a bad idea to heal the wounds of our hearts), it turns out that the best healing for our wounded hearts (and all of us have wounded hearts) is to slowly and surely heal our hearts of the old wounds and then begin to love bigger. When we love others more fully, become experts in loving actually, then it turns out that along the way our own desires and needs for love also get met. Now, it’s true that these needs won’t get met in the ways that we think we want them to be met, nor in the ways that we expect. This is a new kind of loving we are trying and thus, we can begin to expect that somehow we will be transformed by our experience of loving others.
In truth, most of us are caught in the ways of loving that we first experienced as children. For most of us, the way that we fell in love for the first time, and our heart got broken that first time, has become the pattern of all of our loving since then. In addition, the way we were, or weren’t loved, by our parents and families has created a habit of how we give and receive love. Our wounding and our feelings of abandonment have gotten so tangled up in the direct experience of love, that many of us have actually sworn off love or we have created a multitude of strategies for hiding our hearts from others so we don’t get hurt again.
For this online retreat, I invite you to begin the practice of loving a wee bit bigger than your wounding and your habits.
We are going slowly here, yet in doing so, you making important steps towards a new habit of loving. The invitation is to love bigger than either of the original forms of love habit and wounding. What if you begin to explore the idea that while love might tenderize us, and indeed, we will get our hearts broken along the way, that the heart is strong and love is infinite? There is actually no lack of love. There is only the lack of practice in receiving it everywhere.
In truth, according to the ancient Goddess worshiping lineages of India and Nepal, love is the very fabric of the universe. Love is the energy that creates and sustains existence, creates and sustains us. What if you knew that every breath you took was a love-letter from the universe to you?
The nourishment of air, the basic vital nutrients that we take in through breathing allow us life. The universe has provided us the conditions to be alive. This is a form of Great Love that we can tap into when we just become aware of our breathing, for example. This is a form of Great Love that does not change or perish. It’s remarkable really to consider how profound this is.
Perhaps you might begin a small meditation of watching your breath throughout the day? Maybe tie a small thread on your wrist as a reminder and every time you see that thread, remember that the universe is sending you love and nourishment as you breathe. Take in the love on the inhale and let go of non-love on the exhale. Repeat. Let your belly be a little full as you breath. Let this be a relaxed breathing. As you do this, over even just a couple of days, the your scope of loving will change. As you connect with others, you will begin to see how you share the same source. The universe that loves you also loves others. Everything that breathes is animated by the Love that the universe is offering us. Remembering this, allows us to soften and engage with others with more presence. With more presence, there is the opportunity for more love.
Resting in this love-breathe will also transform how you love others. It will also transform how you are loved. It requires courage to not just offer love but also to receive love. In my spiritual tradition, there is a theme of having courage on the spiritual path. We must be brave and have courage and simultaneously be open and vulnerable enough to love in this way. Breathing into, receiving love through the breath, can be challenging and scary. If you feel scared, that’s a sign that something new is happening. Go slowly and reassure yourself that this is what you’ve been asking for all along: to feel so fully loved that you are not separate from the infinite love of the cosmos.
In truth, we are never separate from the infinite love of the cosmos; it’s just that we have forgotten. This small practice of loving-breathing will help you remember.
Once you are comfortable with feeling the love of the cosmos pouring into you with every breath, you can begin to feel how well resourced you are in the love field. There is no lack of love! From this, you can begin to expand your loving out to others in small ways. The best way to love, in my humble experience, is through presence with others and through kindness. Along with the loving-breath, small random acts of loving presence and kindness will change everything.
With this, you can transform your understanding of love from something you are going to get from others in order to get your needs filled to something that is already here. Then we can begin to practice trusting the divine enough to know that as we open to larger and larger forms of love that all of our needs will actually get met. Through
this simple practice, we become freer and freer to love more and more. We become freer to love without attachments to outcomes. We become free to love others slightly more than we love ourselves. We become free to see how our loving, even in small and simple ways, is the ground for transforming our lives and the lives of others.
I send each of you the blessings of love for your retreat. I’m here breathing with you as is all existence.”