I have been deep in thought, productive, useful thought about the topic of unconditional love; the connections, attachments, binds and all the other interwoven sublines this topic entails.
To help me understand better, if, when and how this can be an aspect of my life I am able to embrace, I’ve applied my own approach to the topic at hand, through my practice of yoga and meditation.
Please excuse the somewhat bullet point structure of my translations to you, this perhaps is quite telling for you, the reader, into how I pull apart, inspect and dissect information, ideas and theories, before subjecting them to the public for further inspection!
The analogy of binding – where a hand meets another hand, or a foot; basically areas within a yoga pose where the physical body connects and we lose the space in between to the density of matter, creating what we refer to, as a bind. They look a lot like those pretzel poses you see which appear painful, however, are in fact very energising.
The analogy of strengthening – this one seems pretty obvious to me, but maybe that’s because I’ve been working so darn hard on it. It involves the physical engagement of a muscle and is applied by drawing on our own inner ability to find strength and empowerment to overcome adversity.
The analogy of releasing – release enables the body to form a deeper connection physically as the bones, muscles, tissue, etc., soften and melt, moving into the space created from a release in breath or mentality. Release within an actual bind, for example, provides 2 different outcomes depending on what kind of release. We have mental detachment with breath release, enabling the yogi practitioner to move more deeply into postures or binds. Or, we may have both of the above including the actual physical detachment and ‘release’ of the body, to experience the sudden rush of fresh blood and fluid into joints and limbs. This could also be explained as a free flow of energy within the physical body.
The analogy of breath – to continue from above, upon inhale, expanding, upon exhale, contracting. Moving constantly, a state of flux; inviting or expelling. Creating space and moving into space. Lengthening to move into depth. Shifting the physical body, shifting the subtle body – shifting energy and directing it to places within which enable us to use this instrument, our human bodies and the monkey mind that goes with it, for the ultimate purpose it was designed. Merging, shifting and connecting energy.
And on connections – to make a connection, physically, we must experience attachment – maybe through a ‘bind’ where the limbs meet or an actual clasp or interlacing of fingers or hands occur. Maybe even where the inhale (the breath, the oxygen) reaches the blood cells which in turn are flushed with fresh, saturated oxygen and expand to make connections again, within the entire body. An agreement of where we meet, externally in the physical body and internally within our subtle energetic field. We also experience feelings and sensations, and these, we can experience mentally, without attachment, although most of us either do not understand this, or have forgotten somewhere along the way that WHAT we FEEL is not WHO we ARE.
Thoughts, too, because of our attachment, can manifest physically when that attachment grows stronger. This is why, meditation is one of the most important tools to learn. Although neglect of the physical, may not give you the most toned, trim or ‘supposedly’ healthy body – neglect of the mind will manifest within the body, as it produces. It may be slow, but eventually, the body will change – manifesting possible dis-ease, ailments, etc. This is not to say that the most toned, trim or healthiest looking body has also a healthy mind – on the contraire, the two must work together to produce a tangible foundation, two pillars of strength, so to speak, with which to work even further with. Here we have started connecting, again, this time through both mind and body.
It is true however, that the mind is far stronger, then the physical body. It will enable, for example, the yogi practitioner to move into seemingly impossible poses providing it is given the blessing to release any attachments to limited beliefs of what is, what could be or what might be- this is why I fell in love with yoga – the first time I realised this, it just blew my mind in the best possible way!
(This is, of course, taking into account accumulated baggage along the way. Some of this baggage, unfortunately, is a weight we must bear physically for the rest of our lives. Only through the experience of the weight it produces, are we to understand how to avoid the same situations. Apply this in any way you see fit, for I do not feel it would serve the article good, to veer off in another distracting, yet valid, discussion point.)
This is also why, it is more important, to work with a regular meditation practice. There are many alternative techniques out there and it may be, that you find this also, through a moving meditation, such as running, swimming, walking, tai-chi or, of course, yoga. Personally, I find through the Yogic asana practice AND in combination with the Vipassana meditation practice, I have accelerated my understanding and comprehension of just how awesome these approaches are, and how they can transform your entire life experience and perspective.
So, I hear you asking, how does this lead to love and the like? Well, you all already know the answer, just as I also did. We just need a little gentle reminding, a glance in the right direction, a suggestion from a friend, or perhaps just an inquisitive and curious mind to open up the doorway of truth.
If we think about binds in the yogic sense and how they aid the physical body, and what must happen in the mental body, to allow all of this to happen, it makes sense the same approach happens every day, in every single human interaction. If you are blessed with a like-minded soul, who has opened or awakened enough to subtle energy, it will move beyond the physical of what we see, hear, feel, smell, taste (sense attachment) to connect through vibrations in our energy fields. This can happen when two people are in the same room or, on opposite sides of the world, and other factors may also occlude or prevent this connection beyond the realm of distance.
The thing is – we are already bound – every single one of us. I am you, as much as you are me. This thing we label ‘energy’ is in fact me, and you, and everyone else.
To understand this and connect with it properly, I needed to relate to my own situation through previous romantic connections. In fact, I’d be lying if I said, that this wasn’t the original baseline motivation behind the desire to understand better, just what exactly is unconditional love and can I really experience it?
Personally, now that I have come to understand and comprehend it through my direct experiences and, using my own yogic interpretations, I care not what situation brought me there, in fact, I am truly grateful and appreciative of the situation and the path to which it has taken me.
I have experienced much unease and uncertainty with one person’s ability to make such a close and intimate physical connection with another yet, to dis-allow the potential or opportunity to connect beyond this. On the one hand, fully accepting another person’s right to their own space, and sincerely, offering a ‘relationship’ without any expectation or demands. Yet, still confused as to why I am allowed entry to one area so intimately and denied entry to another area so vehemently, and why this upsets me.
I would like to point out right here, before I continue, that there is no right or wrong to the situation or scenario I am describing. No bad or good. No angel or devil. It is what it is, or was, and has served a very important purpose for me personally.
We were bound before we even knew of the other, and actually, in that respect, we knew each other before we even existed. On the mundane, superficial level of feelings and emotions, I experienced hurt, sadness and rejection because this person was denying a connection we have already made.
At the very heart of it all – we have never been apart, we have always been together. All of us. Every single one of us, like a binding agreement which ‘connects’ us all.
And in the way with which I have chosen to ‘disconnect’ with this other person, the one that I love, I therefore, experience and feel the same hurt, pain and anger or other, that they too, might feel, because I am separating myself from myself, I am – in this surrealist way I like to visualise things – literally, pulling myself apart. But, yet, so is the other person and anyone else who has ever had even the slightest experience of loss or separation.
Anyone who starts to awaken to this truth, will start to experience every situation so strongly, so sensitively, whether it be a direct human experience of their own, or though that of someone else’s. Therefore, even if the experience results in the mundane emotions and feeling such as pain, sadness or anger just to name a few, we will automatically transform the emotion, given the current state of awareness within, into empathy, compassion, forgiveness and love.
This bind, this contract that connects us – is not in fact real either – because all of us, make one whole. United and complete in Oneness.
As this prayer from the Upanishads (sacred Hindu transcripts) describes:
From the unreal, lead me to the real.
From darkness, lead me to light.
From death, lead me to immortality.
For whatever reason I do not fully understand or comprehend – it is our divine purpose here on earth to connect with one another and assist our friends, our lovers, our families, our ‘enemies’ (this is only a perception, we cannot be enemies if we are in fact one. Here I could go on about the analogy of cells attacking cells within the body causing dis-ease, and so forth; however, for the sake of not losing the audience entirely, I will restrain), towards this realization where all sense of separateness dissolves. And we once again, become whole.
The word yoga means to yoke, which essentially means, to unite. On so, so, so many levels this resonates with me and is why I can comprehend and see the path through the eyes of a yogini. I know I am not perfect and have many human flaws, but this acceptance alone, creates perfection. For me, for you, for all of us. Acceptance and surrender are two HUGE key players in this entire game.
If we, as a complete cycle of everything that is present on this earth – be it man, woman, bird, fish, tree, plant, etc. – cannot realize this collectively – we cannot unite and return home (or continue along the path – as I said earlier, this is so far, only my limited interpretation of our purpose). We will continue to experience suffering.
That is also, why it is referred to as the ‘battle’ – if ever there was a more appropriate time to use it, this would be it.
Unconditional love is what some of us may have without full realisation of the above, but because the realisation is not there, we experience and start to connect more with our other mundane, baseline emotions.
I found myself experiencing self-doubt due to the situation I related earlier, and I am fully aware, that this is not the first time I have exposed myself to such ‘feelings’ and fears. By allowing this ‘ego’ of experiences to alter or change what I essentially know in my heart of hearts, (as this is not the first time I have come to this conclusion, to which I am sure, in this lifetime or another) and what we refer to as intuition. Which is really, a little collection of memories and reminders (thank goodness for those reminders!) which bring us back to a point where we left in the last lifetime or situation, and can hopefully, progress further with.
However, unconditional love WITH the awareness of all I have written above, takes it, for me anyway, to a complete and ultimate level of understanding and comprehension. I feel, that once you put it all together, it is impossible to forget. At least in this lifetime!
And now, as I have said many times in this short life already, the hard work begins.
We, essentially, begin again. Yet, this time we have a deeper understanding which will give us the strength required to share what we know, to connect more, to offer our services to humanity, to teach and to forever remain a student so that we, as individuals may share with one another and remember through this wisdom and understanding, through tools such as yoga and meditation, to unite as one whole and complete energy where we connect to come home, back to the source.
The most mind blowing and eye opening part of this whole experience for me is, that I have known it all to be true in this lifetime too. I have never knitted it together, however; to enable this perspective or approach. In all honesty, I have actually been denying myself the truth, in order to remain asleep and ignorant. Or should I say, my ego, this thing that also tries to convince me, that I am ME and separate to YOU, has been denying me the truth.
This is why we are here too, to remind one another of what we have already forgotten in this lifetime, not just that of the lives already passed. To love all, to accept and surrender to the truth, to let go in order to remember and reconnect, we must feel pain, in order to understand what it is we may also cause, and parallel to this, to feel love, to know love, in order to give love. Unconditionally with love. To remember the truth:
Unconditional love will set you free
I. Love. You.
Live. Love. Give. Yoga.