The modem is down again, I got enough sleep but not enough rest, I want to write so I’m reading about writing (yes, I know how stupid it is to read about writing instead of just writing).
Patterns persist. It’s their nature. Pay attention, learn what they are in your life, and you’ll have more tools and information for improving your life.
Patterns teach me a lot about myself and the world. I especially enjoy exploring the specific pattern of all beings: the need for love. My preferred spiritual path is Bhakti, the Way of Love. Not just any love. The love that intrigues me the most, the one I believe offers the most personal, professional, and social benefit is unconditional love.
Yes, I know how scary those two words used together “unconditional” and “love” are. I’ve been practicing unconditional love in relationships for forty years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an expert in practice, though I know a lot about the theory. One thing is certain: I’m committed to finding a way to unconditional love in my life, in practical, down-to-earth methods based on Bhakti’s ancient teachings. I’ve been trying to eat this elephant whole for a long time, which has given me great indigestion and little results, but lots of wisdom about the path and our western 21st century psychology.
It finally occurred to me I can only achieve the goal of my practice in small steps. But mini-steps can led to quantum leaps in two ways: by sheer accumulation of the number of steps (okay, almost impossible and impractical), or if your foot lands on grace. I’ve discovered unconditional love is pure grace and therefore mini-steps quickly lead to quantum leaps.
Ultimate Goal: Love of God
To be clear, the goal of practicing unconditional love is to come to the point of loving God. I trust in an intelligent universe, a compassionate creator, and a source of my “beingness” or consciousness. This is my ultimate goal: love of God.
First, Love Thyself
In service of this goal, I hold other truths and goals. Namely, I must love myself unconditionally first and foremost. That may be counterintuitive to loving God at first blush (it was for me for more than twenty years), but the simple fact is love keeps body and soul together. Without love there is abuse and misuse and all sorts of unsavory behaviors. So Love Thyself is a preliminary goal. (Keep in mind, to truly love yourself you’ll need to know more about yourself than psychology or your personality type or what you can uncover with your intellect. That’s where the spiritual teachings of Bhakti from Bhagavad Gita will give us guidance.) I’ve found that I cannot unconditionally love others or God until I can love myself in that unbounded capacity. It’s a work in progress.
Second, Love Others
I’ve also learned loving God doesn’t come easy and loving others seems harder still, but learning to love others is exactly where we would do the most good—for the world and our personal spiritual journey. Practicing unconditional love in all relationships is the second phase toward our ultimate goal of loving God because we get hands-on practice. Loving God can be fairly theoretical and obscure for most of us (until we gain the knack of understanding that God is a person and has a specific psychology). Loving our spouse, or child, or friend, neighbor, fellow grocery shopper, driver on the highway, or colleague in school or at work presents the real challenge. They’re right in front of us!
The Mystery of Life Lies in the Mastery of Emotions
Learning to give unconditional love to ourselves and others trains us in the ultimate giving of unconditional love for God. That’s why I say the mystery of life lies in the mastery of emotions. Unconditional loving presents the greatest challenge in mastering emotions, but the rewards are truly unlimited when we understand that in giving and receiving this love we finally come to the natural core of our being.
Philosophy or religion or spiritual teachings become rhetoric or dogma or ritual if devoid of a practical spiritual core. If you’re like me, you’re probably fed up with tips and pointers and empty promises of personal and spiritual help and development.
I want something practical. Something I can use when I’m cooking or driving or attending a meeting. Practices that make sense to draw on and give me ability to raise my granddaughter and navigate my relationships with my disabled son (homeless) and daughter-in-law (my husband and I were able to get her into a travel trailer as she was headed for the street). (If you want more backstory you’ll have to read the blog more.)
As an entrepreneur for twenty years, I saw the power of running businesses by dealing with employees as family with a heart-based model.
As someone who was affiliated with a religious institution of patriarchal bent, I’m fed up with the disempowerment of women in religious traditions, the rising incidence of pastoral abuse in America, the sexual abuse of our children.
As a concerned citizen I can’t change politics no matter how many news shows I listen to or watch, no matter how superb the reporting is. I can’t change Kim Kardashian wastefully spending millions on a wedding, while fires burn in London where millions of youth are unemployed, a crisis in Somalia mounts as thousands of children die of starvation, conflict and wars mount, and America’s financial crisis continues.
I want to change much, but I can only change myself and share what I’ve learned with others. I especially want to assist women who are natural givers and knowers of unconditional love–the secret ingredient to a truly spiritual, worthy life.
David Suissa got it right on HuffPo in his article, “A Woman’s Spiritual Edge.” Women have more of an edge than most realize and Bhakti points out how this is so. Women are the real spiritual leaders in this world, though traditions and the centuries have tried to tell us otherwise.
From my years of study I’ve found that the most interesting pattern is that the world generally hides these spiritual truths: unconditional love is the surest path to God and our personal happiness; women easily access unconditional love, thus are the wisest spiritual preceptors.
I want to show women the spiritual power we hold and help us own it. Will you join me and explore your own natural power and share it with the world around you? In Little Ways of Being™ we’ll come to see how we can accomplish the impossible with mini-steps.