Saturday, 30 April 2011


theres no escaping what has captured the attention of so much of the western world this weekend so i am not gonna mention it! however it has made me reflect upon that timeless and ridiculously complex notion and state we call 'love'.

what is it? how do we know when we feel it? and are there different types of love? sometimes it seems there should be different words for its flavour, just like the inuits have so many words for snow!

there is a path called bhakti yoga, a practice not so familiar to the throngs of yoga devotees throughout the world, but to some it is their practice. it is the yoga of devotion...usually through chanting, pujas or offering rituals, deity practices... eek i hear you say. devotion? blimey!!

we do not find it easy being with the word devotion. it conjures up images of prostrating monks, or of having to cast away the effects of ones life for another, supposedly realised being, or maybe it makes us think of jesus freaks (no offence to you if you are a jesus devotee and have happened to have stumbled upon these pages!)

swami sivananda defines bhakti yoga as: '..intense devotion and supreme attachment to is pure unselfish divine is love for love's sake..'
for many of us the idea of this kind of way of being seems to require of us a giving up of control, of the power in one's life...almost a blind faith to offer ourselves to something or somebody else.. this can make us twitchy!

yet on the other hand, when we can find a way to offer our self up to something higher, whether we call that god, goddess, divine, jesus, allah, is actually a remembrance that there is a greater force underlying all that we are...that we dont have to do it all ourselves... that there is a larger support for us if only our lil controlling ego could just gently step aside and allow this greater mystery to be felt instead.

for me i constantly struggle with this practice, and yet the times when i have been going through difficult or painful emotions, and decided to offer up how i am feeling with my heart open to something higher, i have immediately felt lighter, held, supported and in a new softer and trusting place.

how does this relate to love at large? well, i am no expert in this field of romantic love (ahem!), but maybe we could learn something about bhakti practice in our relationships...when we keep our hearts open, soften and realise that underneath our diferences, and each others flaws as a human bean, there is this presence of 'god/dess'..can we see and honor that in each other, and more importantly, can we see and honor that in ourselves?...

as john lennon correctly pointed out:
'all we need is love'

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