Human relationship as the highest spiritual path?
Pattabhi Jois used to say that family was the 7th series.
Ram Dass speaks of human relationships being the highest form of connection to Source.
Modern Buddhist psychologists preach true intimacy in relationships as a path to nirvana from their soapboxes.
The Dalai Lama suggests that a single night of compassionate healing love from mother to sick child is worth more than a decade of monastic life in spiritual growth.
We hear it all the time — that human love is our greatest teacher.
But my question persists: what is love?
These high teachings are just that — high, advanced, situational. Pattabhi Jois taught one of the most formidable yoga posture practices in modern times, drilling discipline, strength, power, versatility, resiliency and dignity into his students. Not so much a touchy-feely lovey-dovey notion that we are all made of love. He required that each and every one of his students came to figure out the embodiment of our truth over time, not just by saying a bunch of words.
Ram Dass went through decades of bumps and bruises in his spiritual practice in order to have an inkling of the universal truth of love. Buddhist psychologists insist in meditation and that the building of a healthy individual ego and self-love must be in place before any healthy loving relationships with others is possible. And the Dalai Lama himself sits in meditation for 5 hours a fay before he speaks to anyone outside of himself.
Ok. Then what is love and where does it come from?
Krishna Das says “Love is what we are. We don’t get it from somebody, we can’t give it to anybody. We can’t fall in it or fall out of it. Love is our true being.”
Sanskrit has 96 different words for love and all of its different aspects. No wonder Hindis understand spirituality inherently better as a culture than we do. We only have one word for something that is loaded with power and authority in hosting our uniquenesses as humans.
So if the most advanced understanding of love requires some training in order to fully embody, then there must be a developmental process that we must go through in order to be able to share this concept with another person.
Any spiritual process that includes healing the body-mind connection back to its source and repairing the wounds that the world has placed upon it would certainly offer a blossoming into love for oneself. And for some, maybe this only takes a few years, or for others a few lifetimes…but eventually coming to a place of truly feeling whole within one’s skin brings any of us to that peaceful easy feeling where it doesn’t matter what’s going on around us; everything is A-OK.
But imagine when you are in that place — we’ve all been in that place a time or two even if we aren’t trying — that place of ease and peace where everything is just fine, no matter what, because you are clear and calm in your own skin. When we’re there, we don’t need anything. We don’t want anything. It’s truly all good.
So if you are full of love within yourself what need do you have for the 7th series? What need is there for sharing in this love with others? It would only seem appropriate to share this peaceful easy feeling with others who are in the same mindset, right? HA! That would be the easy way, for sure, but love is not about the other person or people.
Love is about you. Feeling whole in love within yourself no matter who or what is around you.
So finding love within yourself is just the beginning. It’s the precursor to relating to others.
And every advanced course has some prerequisites.
All of a sudden love isn’t so romantic anymore. Shoot.
Of course human relationships are the highest form of connection to source. Because if love can continue to wholly proliferate through you no matter who or what you are faced with, then you have learned the highest level of compassion that is available: compassion and love for your enemy, not just the apple of your eye. And that lesson has been taught by every spiritual master that ever walked the Earth.
Love your enemy as you love your child. Bring authentic kindness to the politician you cannot stand, the same as you would bring to your best friend. Smile and send love to someone who is wishing death upon you right this moment. No wonder it’s the 7th series. No wonder it is the highest path to God. No wonder why it takes so much training and practice and devotion to find this capacity within us.
Believing in the fact that we are made of love is much easier than blossoming the love that is inherent within us. It takes practice, faith, devotion, discipline, a few hundred (million) bumps and bruises, and a boatload of humility in knowing that not knowing is the goal that we seek. That not knowing the answers to all of life’s little problems is where we find ease.
Bringing awareness, over and over again, to that which is within, clarifying these messages and developing a higher sense of existence every day. In love.