Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cosmic Love

They say you can’t really love someone else until you learn to love yourself.

Self Love
We read self-help books, we go to therapy, we dance, and we learn to accept our self. One fine day, we can tolerate a little alone time, giggle at our neuroses, and wonder, “Hey, maybe I can love myself now!” We give a nickel to a bum on the street. Surprised with our own generosity, we think, “Hey, maybe I can love the world too!” At a safe distance, we love him generously, and we feel even better about ourselves. Loving other, we feel accomplished, as if we are finishing the long road to self-love. And then along comes a lover. We love beautifully, perfectly, and then, all of a sudden, our lover gets too close. Our fantasy crumbles. Lover painfully shows us the last frontier of things not yet loved, the dumping ground for orphaned parts of self.

The lover is close enough to identify with, and this intense identification begets love. But the lover is also far enough away to safely project all the remaining skeletons in our closet. Sometimes, we treat the lover like the bum, a recipient of our idealizations, safely loved at a distance. But when this same lover comes close, identification can make the darkness unbearable. We reject in the lover what we can’t bear to see in ourselves. Lover becomes the victim of our most desperate fears. Taking on our deepest unresolved work, lover becomes our favorite whipping boy. Our neuroses flee safely outwards, cast into dialogue, cemented into nagging or complaints. Projecting inner dissension outwards, we avoid the fire inside.

Learning to Heal
We are presented with an incredible opportunity to learn. But in this tender space of inflamed self, learning is painful. Instead, we are tempted to “take space” or break up or cheat. We might even feel empowered by proclaiming indifference or playing hard to get. We say to ourselves, “I didn’t like you that much anyway” or out loud, “I don’t think it’s going to work out.” We create the familiar samsaric yo-yo of human relationship, pathologizing our “fear of intimacy” so we can feign helplessness.

Real power does not come from indifference or distance. It comes from a faith that everything will be alright. A courage to continually surrender and enter the crucible of learning. A belief that if we fall on our face, the earth mother will pick us up again. A belief that the universe supports us.

When we enter love, we enter a solemn healing relationship, not bound in space and time. We remain psychically bound, our memories and bodies holding the other, even if we decide never to see each other again. As lovers, we invoke demons, and inspire angels. We stir up trauma, we catalyze learning, we provoke healing. We cannot help but hold our lover’s karma, flowing through our hands like wisps of hair in the throes of passion. But how do we square the boundless nature of love with advice to “establish healthy boundaries”?

Psychologists coach us to figure out “what’s mine” and “what’s yours” and thereby avoid dealing with “the other person’s shit”. We are asked to “own” something or ask our love to “own up” to something. We learn to have discussions about “having our needs met”. Clearly this advice is a useful intermediate step towards contact, safety, and integrity. Instead of getting lost in another person’s psyche, we focus energy on our own familiar problems. Through repetition, we start to see ourselves better, we see others better, and in seeing there is acceptance. But as we get bigger, more capacious, we must expect more of ourselves. We must recognize the larger web of interconnectedness we inhabit. I believe that the spiritual call to love is quite different than the psychological one.

Into the Dark
We are called to hold on to the darkest things we see in our love. In this acute darkness, we find the discarded parts of self we separated from and projected onto bums. We find the disgusting parts of the world we could not accept. Holding on to the dark doesn’t mean we disqualify our needs, or hold on to a physical relationship at all costs. It doesn’t even mean that we try to ‘help’ our lover, as that can be counterproductive or even misguided. It means that we cease to differentiate, categorize, label, and assign. Our inner psychologist complains, “But this is NOT me!” But on a closer look, maybe it is us. An orphaned desire, a repressed shadow, or a part of humankind that desperately needs our compassion. Keeping our hearts stubbornly open, we recognize that we are all traveling together and our destiny is shared. We reach the finish line together. We hold onto the dark in ourselves, our lovers, our world, so that we can play ourselves awake.

New Love
In cosmic love, we say to our lover, for the first time ever, “I believe in you.” Our belief is strong, because we are suddenly holding everything in our relationship, without conditions. Fiercely holding our lover’s delicate present and wildest potential, we are forced to release expectations, knowing they derive not from our lover, but our own life experience. We thereby recognize disappointment of expectation as our own. 

Disappointment is a signal for us to take care of ourselves, to mourn with great intensity, with the single-minded goal of returning cleansed. We aim to say again to our lover, without hesitation, “I believe in you.”

In cosmic love, we speak dangerous words like these, “There is nothing I need from you, nothing in particular I desire, except your everything. I affirm that there is a love beyond expectation, a love beyond possession. I will wait lifetimes, if need be, for your flower to bloom. Until then, our love mingles in the earth and the stars.”

New Self
In cosmic love, we find in the fearless space of no expectation an unflinching love of ourselves, our lovers, and our world. We dissolve the distance once inserted between these kinds of love, finding that there is only one kind of love, one kind of lover, indeed, one kind of Self. We “respond to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were our own … attaining the highest state of spiritual union” (6:32 Bhagavad Gita). Each love, each lover, gives us a chance to knit our Self together, to beat a path back towards a universal human compassion. Once united, we can never again be torn apart.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BeYond Fear

I kissed fear for a month
In anticipation of a single moment
It shook me, hummed in my veins
Heated my chest, prickled my arms
Constricted my lungs
Billowed into sadness
Clouded my thoughts
Brutalized my sleep
Punctuated every silence

I researched it deeply
But my mind would not quiet
I felt it deeply
But my heart would not quiet
I loved desperately
But I wondered
Who loved more,
Love or fear?

It mercilessly shattered
Moments of presence
Moments of fun
With that sneaky sensation
Of leaving your wallet
Leaving the stove on
Something’s not quite right

I hadn't spoken to fear
For some years
But back then
The dark had given way to aliens
Aliens to death, but finally

So this latest visit
Again uninvited
Was yet familiar
A feature of so many
Sleepless nights past

This time I was fortunate
To have tasted infinity
To have faith in nothing
To know our connectedness
My brain grooved peace

So with fear making itself at home
I wavered
Between prickly fears
And transcendent peace
Between intrusive thoughts
And thoughtlessness
And existing in inspired moment

I was confident
To be supported
By the boundless
So I could intrude
On fear's intrusiveness
I could safely feel 
In heart and body
The doubtful quavering

It's silver crucible
Exposed my dependences
Fractured myths of independence
Broke my heart open every day
While yet providing opportunities
I mourned my loyalties
I mourned my statuses
I destroyed myself many times over
I resigned, I emptied myself
Day after day, I thought
Maybe if I bail enough of this holy boat
There will be nothing left to scare?

But wily fear continued
To color my world
Haunt my postures
Skew my perceptions
Plague my psyche
Bend me

And maybe it was this oscillation
Between tight and infinite
This polar codependency
Alive or dead
Push or pull
Embodied or dissociated
That allowed fear to camp
Gratelessly in the living room

And so I reached out
With every intrusive thought
I crossed my legs
I reached out from my seat
While honoring the dark cloud surrounding
I sent search lights to the infinity beyond it
I held two imaginative cords
One to light, One to dark
My body conductor conducted

And I said to the darkness
Play here!
I give you
The largest playground possible
My body was not big enough
For your colonization
So I give you the universe
You can join with all of your brethren
In all of our bodies
Play a game larger
Than you knew you ever could

And fear thusly invited
With such a wide berth
Retreated from thought and emotion
Begging for attention no longer
Retreated to unbearable sensation
Somehow bearable, thus surrounded
Fear, tempted into a larger space
Expressed itself more basically
More essentially, more universally
In the presence of
The earth mother
The irrelevating emptiness

My body was the vessel
At once I became cosmic
The universal fear
Grounded by the cosmos
My mourning transcendent
My healing transpersonal
My existence now
For all beings everywhere

Cosmic lover crashed
Also uninvited
And said to fear
There is nothing at all I require
From you
I will wait lifetimes
I will give universes
For your flower to bloom

Somewhere, sometime
Has already happened
And so I am confident

It is happening.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Divine Meeting

When I meet God
There will be no words
Out of time
Out of mind
So I ask with all my being

Can you give me a sense of you
Such that I will never forget?
An audience at your feet
A taste of samadhi
For my enjoyment
For your enrichment
For me to serve a lifetime
In the cosmic cause

I ask God, with all of my being
What is my purpose?
How best can I combine
That which I am
Centrally, utterly, essentially
With this poetic world
Can I surrender to an inspired life?

I ask God, with all of my being
Show me a fearlessness
I can enjoy and share
With countless other beings
To bring destinies as ships into harbor
To allow play, again, in the dark places
To bring us together again.

I ask God, with all of my being
Who are you?
Timeless, inexpressible, watching over us
Can I glimpse your essence?
Can I know you?
For just a moment
Can I know you with my entire heart and soul?
Can I revel in your overflowing beauty,
Can I dance in your cold emptiness,
And share them, gleefully, with the poetic race?

I listen to you
And accept however you respond.
That my wordless communion
May be answered with flashes of lightning
Smiles, gazes, and dances
With the voices of prophets
With the silence of the void.

While I might be afraid
to shed the bonds of this world
And surrender into your magic
I come to our appointment anyway
In faith that you will show me the way
Beyond fear and attachment
Beyond identity and disappointment
Into the world of pure inspiration
Of divine purpose
And I submit to it
With as much will as I have
I surrender myself
Totally and completely
To a life worth living

Give me the strength
To open my mind, my life
To see reality, to see what is
To be unafraid to live in the big spaces
To sow a new life without habit
Of constant discovery
Unencumbered illumination

I come
Shedding ambition
One after the other
Scared of losing
Excited to gain
To live fully
Steady my hand
Steady my mind
As I gain your audience
Grant me
To open my eyes
To see you
To see

Kona Vialy Usianan

While yearning, seeking, longing
Let me come to you
With a spirit of indifference
Knowing that I am already complete
Already blessed
Already whole
That you accept me how I am
I have no lack
No homework to do
Image by luminari_2009
And my appointment is
Like an unveiling of a building
I could only see a part of myself
I could only see a part of you
I could only see apart
And now
I’m ready to see it all


I ask
May I feel connected to all beings?
To all times?
To all non-beings?
To the pulse that animates us all
To the resonant character of the universe
To bring into my heart
Trillions of beings, trillions of spaces
To bring into my heart
Timelessness, spacelessness

And I love
And am loved
As a husband, as a wife
As a son, as a daughter
As a friend, as a lover
As a brother, as a sister
As a philosopher
As a sinner, as a saint
I come to you