By Sewa Singh
Love is a very sloppy word in the English language. It has way too many meanings, so it has become full of meanings instead of meaningful.
Perhaps a more specific shape to love might appear if we eliminate what it is not, from the yogic point of view,
- Love is not sexual attraction
- Love is not infatuation
- Love is not a feeling
- Love is not sharing mutual interests
- Love is not mutual support
- Love is not romance
- Love is not mutual convenience
- Love is not something to fall into or out of
- Love is not conditional
All of these may not be love, but they are the natural qualities that Mother Nature has gifted us with to guarantee that humans will continue to walk the Earth. As powerful and amazing as they are, these things have little to do with love as taught by the great saints of the world.
These saints have defined love as “Giving without the thought of receiving anything in return.” This saintly definition of love may seem remote. But there is a way to become liberated from the cyclical infatuation/romance definition of love, if we so desire.
Opening the Heart Chakra
To do this we must first realize that others are not the source of our experience of romantic love; they just act as a stimulus to that experience within us. For example, one person can be madly in love with someone who does not share or return the feelings. The experience of being in love and/or loving another is not dependent on the other person feeling the same way. Within popular culture this is considered tragic or immature love because there is suffering due to unfulfilled expectations.
The cure for the illusion that others are the source of our experience of love is simple and powerful. It is to take command of opening your own heart chakra. People dabble with the phenomenon every day through the Internet. Thousands of people view videos of kittens, puppies and children because it stimulates some opening of their heart chakras. The more conscious and powerful way to open the heart chakra is to do those exercises and meditations that are designed to do that directly.
The Smiling Buddha meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan is a perfect and most effective way to achieve this. One key element in this meditation is to keep the pressure strong and deep between the shoulder blades in the center of the back. Also, Yogiji taught a variation of this meditation where the timing is 15 minutes. He said that the meditation may become painful at about 7 minutes but to keep up to the 15 minute point to experience the bliss of the open heart.
This and other Kundalini Yoga technologies can empower us to have command over the opening of our own heart centers. When this happens, the illusion of our experiences of love being dependant on others is gone.
Perfecting heart-opening technologies like the Smiling Buddha meditation will empower you to take full responsibility for your own happiness and feelings of loving and being loved. This frees us to open the door to the opportunity to develop spiritual love.
The definition of spiritual love is that it is a one-way street. You generate the love within yourself and then give it freely, with no thought of receiving anything in return. Loving and expecting love in return is just business. I give to you and you give something back—a relationship based on mutual expectations—this is business not love. Technically it is the business of the ego. Ego and love don’t exist in the same reality.
A Gift of Love
The most precious gift of love I have ever received in this life, I received from Yogi Bhajan. The gift he shared was that he identified my ego, brought it out in the open, beat it into a fine paste, dried that paste in the sun, burnt the paste to ashes and blew them out to sea.
It is clear that he was not entirely successful, but for every molecule of ego he was able to destroy, that molecule was reborn into something much better.
His love was unconditional because he did not care that my reaction to the painful process could have resulted in me rejecting or blaming him. His actions were intended for my long-term happiness. He demonstrated in real time and real life, that love is truly a one-way street.
I have never really been a good student of this masterful teacher, but of what little ability I do have to love, 100% is from his generosity and selflessness.
It is my prayer that some molecules of love are passed on to whoever is reading this.
Sewa Singh Khalsa has been teaching Kundalini Yoga for over 40 years and has been providing counseling to couples and individuals based on Kundalini and White Tantric Yoga® technology for 35 years. He holds an MFA from the University of Washington and has taught at Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University and the University of Washington.