Loving for No Reason

One of my favorite quotes of Mani Finger’s is “Be not the lover, or the loved. Be loving.” What does it mean to “be” loving, or to embody the essence of love? How can we truly love others if we do not know how to love ourselves?

This is such a difficult concept because the ego wants us to get something in return for giving, especially if what we are offering is a piece of ourselves. But love as a force is limitless, so there is never less of us when we give it. Does the ocean seem less vast when it loses a drop? Why would we lose the magnitude of who we are by being kind and compassionate for no particular reason? In fact, it’s through the practice of sharing and giving love that love flows back to us.

The best way to know unconditional love is through our children or our pets. Here is an example: Recently, my daughter managed to pull apart a piece of our chandelier because she thought it was beautiful. The glass crystals sparkled like diamonds and, according to her, she needed a piece of it! Somehow she managed to climb up onto the dining room table, disassemble a glittering thread from the unit, and show Alan and me how proud she was of her accomplishment. Needless to say, this angered her father, who scolded her on why it was dangerous to climb up onto the table and take apart the furniture in the house! Satya welled up with tears and proceeded to cry for how much she needed and wanted the thread in her hand.

When someone hurts us, we harbor anger and resentment towards that person. How could she do that to me? What was that person thinking? The ego and judging mind goes on and on and the “loving” part of us steps quickly and quietly to the side. Perhaps if Satya were only a few years older, her pouting would last a little bit longer. However in this instance, she managed to stop crying and, when I told her it was time for bed, her little feet began running into the bedroom. When I told her to say goodnight to her father, she stopped midway and said, “Wait! I forgot to give Daddy a hug!”

There were no words spoken between the chandelier altercation and that moment when Satya decided to give her Daddy a hug. She didn’t think about it, or rationalize it, or count in her mind how many hugs she had given up to that point and what she had received in exchange for them. She simply connected to her “loving” self and responded from that place. And, of course, she got the largest embrace filled with shakti and love from her father. It all came right back to her.

Practice to Connect to the Loving Self: Sat Yam with Anahata Bedhana

  1. Sit or lie down comfortably and bring your awareness to the center of your chest.
  2. Visualize a glow of light right at the center of your chest.
  3. As you breathe in naturally, feel the light expand from the center of your chest outward; as you breathe out naturally, feel the light move back to a point in the center of the chest.
  4. Silently add the sound “sat” on the inhale and “yam” on the exhale. Sat is the sound for purification and yam is the sound for emotional intelligence—the seed sound of the heart.
  5. Repeat this several times until you feel the breath get a little quieter.
  6. When the breath gets even stiller, allow the light to begin to expand into each cell of your body, eventually expanding into an aura of light around you that you bathe in.
  7. As you bathe in this radiance, continue to connect to the glowing light at the center of the chest. This is the jiva, or the individual self, which relates to an unbound field of intelligence—the loving self.

Find out about upcoming programs with Sarah Platt-Finger at Kripalu.

This article was originally published on Sarah's blog.

Sarah Platt-Finger, cofounder of ISHTA Yoga and the private yoga teacher of Deepak Chopra, is a featured teacher on Yoga U Online and Jiyo.

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