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Love Your Ego!

RobotLike many on the spiritual path, for a time I was afraid to love my ego. It seemed like the goal was to push it away, even to “kill” the ego. It seemed that ego was the enemy. But then I also began to realize that this type of relationship with the ego was one of resistance, and I was committed to releasing resistance in all areas of my life. I realized it was strange that I should have resistance to something that was, after all, part of me. I realized this resistance to ego was causing me to be at war with myself.  So I began instead to send unconditional love to my ego. Once I was able to do that it was like I could see ego with more clarity than ever before, which makes sense since love is a kind of light, so the ‘darkness’ of the ego was no longer present in the light of that love. What was present was the pure distilled nature of ego, which is not evil, it is made of love just as everything in the universe is. The purpose of the ego, the reason for its original creation was simply to be a mechanism for spirit to experience separateness, the delicious separateness which allows two people to become lovers, which allows two people to become friends, which allows the human to stand in awe of the night sky. Without ego we are simply a unified flow of energy, which is what we truly are anyway, ego only allows the perception of separateness after all, since true separateness is not possible. The ego is simply a tool for creating the experience or illusion of separateness so that spirit can see itself from another perspective. It is no more or less than that. There is no sense in hating that or pushing it away. It simply is. Furthermore, this separate perspective that the ego creates allows us to learn, explore and create. When I looked around I saw that none of what I was looking at would be here without ego, it is a tool for creation itself.

I saw that when ego was first created, we were able to experience the illusion of separateness through ego, yet we had full memory and full consciousness of what we actually were – a divine flow of energy choosing a temporary form – we never lost sight of that and so it was the true Eden. We were able to play in the divine flow of creation while enjoying the beauty of it all from various distinct points of view. Resistance is something that was completely foreign to us. It was all love, and the ego was part of that, we loved the ego equally to everything else, but we were not attached to ego either, and could move into and out of form with relative ease, almost like putting on a new costume. The ego was more like a beautiful painting in a museum, that you would look at and appreciate, then move on to the next one, equally beautiful and totally unique, without feeling any pain of ‘leaving’ the first painting, just easily appreciating and loving each one that came into your experience. The “fall from grace” was a process of losing our divine memory, our link to the consciousness of our true nature. When we lost this consciousness, the ego then went from being a tool for creation to being perceived as the whole nature of our being, and the illusion of separateness then became complete. The ego was still not evil, but its purpose was to create separateness, and without a link to the wholeness of our true nature as a flow of divine energy, we became lost in the ego state.

I think of it like this – you know all those movies and books about robots taking over the world? In the beginning, the robots are always good. They are good because the serve a purpose, they are built in order to serve humanity in some way and they do it well. When they take over however, everything goes wrong, things are no longer good because the robots can’t really handle the responsibility. Without their connection to the “programmer” they run crazy, but it is more because they don’t know any better, they have no link to any greater consciousness – they are robots after all, just designed to run a program, not designed to be connected or understand the subtleties of love. So it is like that with the ego – when it was a tool to assist us all was well, when it took over however it did not do such a good job because it was never designed for that purpose. Its programming, its original purpose, was separateness, and separateness was never meant to be the force that runs the universe. The ego’s “programmer” is the soul, which is the extension of divine source. So here we are now. Our purpose now is to recover our divine memory, while still in ego. Ego is not something we can give up completely in this physical dimension, it is not designed that way. Therefore as long as we are in this physical dimension we must make peace with ego, we must reconnect to our source, and from our source we turn the infinite love back onto the ego. When we do that it sheds its darkness and we see its grace and its purpose. All things in the universe respond to love, so the ego is no different.

Love and Light,

Rhea Jamil

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What is Love?

Fire-heart Ah, love. It is a simple little word that encompasses so much that it becomes nearly impossible to pin it down with a definition. I love ice cream. I also love my cat. I love my daughter. I love orchids. I love to dance. I love my husband. I love God. (Note these are not in any particular order). Each of these feelings I just described using the same word, has very different qualities. I can tell you that the feeling I have for ice cream is very different from the feeling I have for my husband, and yet I use the same word to describe it. This is in part a fallacy of our language. Some languages have different words for love which distinguish romantic love from platonic love, from God-like unconditional love. But even these distinctions do not capture the full diversity of feeling that is expressed by what we call Love.

Love can be defined in many ways, but in the end the definitions themselves are hollow, because love is something intuitive. It is not something that the left brain can fully quantify or clearly define. It simply is. You know it when you feel it. However, if I were to attempt to define love, I would express love as any reflection of the unity behind the duality. It is a deep longing for connectedness, fueled by the soul-level recognition of oneness. It is a desire to merge from separateness back to wholeness, equally matched by the desire to remain separate in order to share the space which allows the delicious experience of loving another. Any feeling that reminds us of the connection to divine essence from which we all emerged and to where we all return, we then call ‘love.’ This can express itself in many ways, and thus we have many different varieties of love, and many different qualities to the feelings which are associated with love. Even my simple love of an orchid flower is a reflection of the unity behind the duality. Every small act of love draws one closer to their source and to oneness, for no type of love is greater or lesser, all love is from the same source. When love is expanded even to the point that one learns even to love the enemy, then love becomes truly limitless, an ocean of unity within duality. There is a Sufi saying that love is the glue which holds the universe together. That is very accurate, as without love, in our state of separateness all would drift apart, there would be nothing to hold it together. Love creates the glue, it is the divine connection which holds all things together so that even when we are in the illusion of separateness, we know through the experience of love that we are still one, connected, united being.

Namaste,

Rhea Jamil

Non-Judgment and Self Love

nonjudgementThe Dali Lama has said “love is the absence of judgment.” Indeed, judgment can be seen as the opposite of love. Many of us have become conditioned to the idea that love comes with prerequisites; that someone else must behave in a certain manner to be deserving of our love. If we are honest with ourselves we can all admit that we find it hard to love some people, often including ourselves. The reason it is hard is because we are in judgment. Judgment is also a state of being unaware of our connection to divine source, and being in non-judgment helps us remember that source connection.

The traits we deem as ‘lovable’ vs. ‘unlovable’ are defined by our egos, and also by those extensions of our individual egos which include things like the larger society, culture, or religious dogma. These larger collective egos are very good at judging other societies, cultures or religions, even to the point of waging war with them. These collective egos, however, are reflections of the dominate individual ego. If the individual ego disappears in favor of love and non-judgment, then the behavior of society, culture and religion will begin to change as well. World peace begins with us, as individuals, choosing love instead of judgment.

Ego is the domain of the mind, and when we are in judgment, love gets caught up in the mind. In the mind love must be justified, which is what the mind is good at doing. If we can’t justify it, then we reject it as not being worthy of love. Those who fall outside of this matrix of worthiness then become the enemy, the ones we judge, and this can include ourselves. We become our own worst enemies. Often the reason we are so hard on others, the reason we find fault with others and judge them so quickly, is because we don’t love ourselves fully. The others are reflections of us, they will reflect back to us what we often don’t want to face in ourselves. When you move out of your head and into your heart, and you let go of judgment altogether, you find that love has no conditions and no boundaries. This is where you find your connection to source and to all things, this is the place of unconditional love. Unconditional love is love without judgment, love without the pre-requisite of “worthiness.”

The most important person to love unconditionally is yourself. Self love is not selfishness. Selfishness is a focus on lack, a belief that there is not enough to go around and so you must take from others to be complete; but then of course you never are complete because in selfish mode you continue to believe in lack, and thus lack will keep showing up – no matter what you take from others, it will never be enough to fill the void. This is why selfishness is a very unhappy state of being. Self love, on the other hand, is really the opposite of the state of selfishness. Self love is the state of being fulfilled in yourself. You no longer need to find fulfillment in the outer world when you truly love yourself unconditionally. Your relationships then deepen because others are “off the hook” from having to complete you, and they sense that. It makes them feel more at ease with you. Others feel free to be loving and to express themselves around you. In other words, show yourself the love that you wish you were getting from others, and you will attract others who reflect that love back to you.

Namaste,
Rhea Jamil

Forgiveness Exercizes

MeditationForgiveness looks reality in the face. Part of the resistance that many have to forgiveness is the idea that it is like pulling the wool over your eyes, that it means having to pretend that everything is OK. That is not forgiveness, that is denial. Burying your true feelings does not help you move on. Part of forgiveness is acknowledging your hurt, your anger, your pain. Acknowledge those feelings and allow them to pass through you, but don’t hold on to them either. Those feelings are like a forest fire, they move through and burn as long as there is fuel to feed them. But once the fuel is gone, so goes the fire, then new life comes up from the ashes and the forest is renewed. The purpose of the fire is to create the way for renewal, so you must allow it to move through you, but as long as you keep feeding the flames, as long as you keep giving fuel to the anger and hurt, it will continue to burn, and you rob yourself of the possibility of renewal. How do you stop feeding the fire? Forgiveness.

In many cases it may take some time to get to a place of forgiveness, and if you are not ready to forgive right now that is also OK, don’t beat yourself up about it, just allow it to be. You don’t have to forgive today if you’re not ready, but if you want to begin the path toward forgiveness I offer a series of simple exercizes to get you there.  Begin by practicing regular meditation if you are not doing so already. Meditation will help you tap into the still place within, which is where you find your essential self, the self which is aligned with unconditional love. Unconditional love and forgiveness are of the same energy.  The series of videos below provides some guidance on basic meditation and discusses how meditation can improve relationships, reduce stress and help you find inner peace.  

The second step is to begin sending unconditional love to random people, for no reason. You can do this while in meditation or while you’re out and about. Send it to people you pass on the street, send it to the clerk at the supermarket. Send this love from your highest self to theirs, remember that they are not just the personality that you are interacting with, they are an eternal soul like you, and you are connected; send love to that eternal soul which is connected to yours. No need to tell them, just send it from the heart, and feel the warmth and beauty of that energy, notice how you instantly feel better, and perhaps the other person responds to you differently as well.  You will see that by sending this love to others, you become the beneficiary of that energy. You will feel lighter and more present. 

When you have this down, the third step is to send unconditional love to the person who cut you off in traffic, or the person who gave you a dirty look at work. After doing this enough you will begin to see how easy it is to make the choice to simply send love and to forgive, without conditions. You will see how this releases you from the knee-jerk negative reactions that we typcially fall victim to in these situations, and instead allows you to remain in the ‘flow’ of your day without being thrown off-track by negativity.

Finally, when you are ready, sit in meditation and begin sending this same energy to any person or people who deeply wronged you in the past, send it to the people you most need to forgive in order to move on, and this may include yourself. Just choose to do it, without thinking about it. Thinking about it will draw you back into the story, and as discussed in my previous post letting go of the story is a crucial part of forgiveness. [If you find that thoughts about the story keep coming up as you do this, try the exercises I recommend in ‘Thought Seeds’ to rid yourself of those thoughts and continue sending the unconditional love and forgiveness.] After a time you will begin to feel a release, you will begin to feel as if there is space around the hurt, around the story, that it no longer seems to affect you the way it used to. Finish the meditation be surrounding yourself with a bubble of pure gold light. Intend that this bubble will be a barrier that will only allow love and high energies to come through, and will keep out any negativity. You may only need to do this once or you may need to do it a number of times until you feel released from the story, until you feel the fire subside and new growth beginning.

Humanity is in deep need of forgiveness. Forgiveness is how we heal the world and stop the cycles of suffering. When you hear crazy and horrible things on the evening news, such as the events this week in Boston, remember that forgiveness is your highest calling, it is the energy which will heal the world.  Allow yourself to feel the pain and anger, but also be brave enough to forgive, and wise enough to know that forgiveness is the only way to finally be free.

I also recommend the book “Radical Forgiveness” by Collin Tipping, for those who want to explore forgiveness more deeply. Tipping offers some wonderful and profound exercises in forgiveness and offers new perspective on the negative things which happen in our lives.

Namaste,
Rhea Jamil

Keys to Forgiveness

rainbowForgiveness is letting go of the story you have become attached to. Most of us are attached to our stories, even the negative ones. We think we need those stories to define who we are and to justify our actions and our thinking. We cling to the negative story because it allows us to feel like we have a reason and a meaning for what we have become. The story may have caused you to become someone who is angry, or hurt, or afraid. You might also feel like the story has given you strength and character as well, but know that those positive traits will always stay with you, even when you let the story go – you have those traits because you’ve always had them and perhaps the story allowed you to discover that – but letting go of the story through forgiveness and unconditional love will allow you to be truly free of the anger, hurt or fear that has been created as a result of the story. It is not even about letting someone else off the hook for what they’ve done, it is about letting yourself off the hook from needing to be satisfied with some resolution to something which can never be resolved. Not long ago I read an article about a woman who had forgiven the man who killed her daughter. To explain why she would forgive such a thing she said “[He] owed us a debt he could never repay. And releasing him from that debt would release us from expecting that anything in this world could satisfy us.”1

Forgiveness is releasing yourself from the poison of hate and anger, releasing yourself from being defined by your story, and freeing yourself from the power which the story or person has had in your life. In this way forgiveness is more about you and what you need to be whole, and less about the other person or people who you are forgiving. People who create suffering are suffering deeply themselves, and they tend to perpetuate cycles of suffering through their unconscious actions which are driven from this dark place of suffering. Your choice is to continue to be part of that cycle or to end it. The only way to end it is through forgiveness.

Forgiveness and unconditional love are essentially the same thing, they are the same energy and vibration. Unconditional love is what allows forgiveness to flow, and likewise forgiveness allows unconditional love. It all stems from the recognition that you and the other person are one, and that anything they have done to you has been done in darkness, in unconsciousness and unawareness of the oneness between you. Your soul is made of the stuff of unconditional love. It is what you are. When you tap into this remembering of who you actually are, it becomes easy to forgive, it becomes as natural to you as breathing, because you are simply being exactly what you are. Then forgiveness is as simple as making a choice, just as you choose chocolate or vanilla ice cream. This is not to down-play the significance of this choice, but to show that when you are in your essential self, it is that easy. You choose to forgive – you don’t try to forgive, you don’t work at it – you just choose it. The choice of forgiveness is a release. It is a recognition that you and the person who has wronged you are connected, but that the story you have created with that person is not in alignment with your essential self or your growth and must be left behind in order to move forward on your path. You are not allowing the negative energies which were created between you and the mirror of you in the other person to rule your life and influence your thinking. In my next post I will offer some specific exercises to open the doorway to this kind of forgiveness.

Love and Light,
Rhea Jamil

1 New York Times Magazine, Jan 6, 2013 “Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/magazine/can-forgiveness-play-a-role-in-criminal-justice.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Love and Karma

Heart-earth

The cycles of Karma have been perpetuated by love. How so? The origin and destiny of all things is love, the cosmic consciousness which connects all things is love, there is no getting away from that. We are all connected through karma, and Karma originates out of love as well. Think of it this way: could you go to heaven if your beloved is in hell? No, you never could. You might go, but your heart would remain with your suffering beloved and would never be at peace, and therefore you would never be fully in heaven, since heaven is eternal peace. In Buddhism, The Bodhisattva is one who achieves enlightenment, an end of their suffering, but stays in the karmic cycle out of their commitment to love, to be with those still suffering and show others the way. In a sense, we are all a kind of Bodhisattva, choosing to return to the darkness out of love. We are all one, so if you cannot go to heaven, neither can I. We will ascend or perish as one.

I believe what may have happened is this: in the beginning, we were one with source.  At some point, we decided to see what it was like to experience separateness. When we separated from source (which was done via the creation of an illusion that we were not of source), we became lost in unconsciousness. Since the Source sees us as beloved sees the lover, the source sent more and more parts of itself to bring back the lost ones back. This is like the shepherd analogy in the Bible, who will always look for his lost sheep. The source chose to not allow the lost sheep to wander forever in darkness, but has done everything it can to bring all beings back to itself, back to the light from which they originated. We, as humans, are all part of this divine project. We are the beings who have made this choice to go into the darkness and bring it back to the light. And in so doing, we have learned great lessons about what we are. We have learned by virtue of facing the energies which are not of source, namely fear, and in response we have expanded the energies which are of source, namely love. This love is not just love of what is good and beautiful and right. This is love that is unconditional, it does not require perfection, this is love that cannot be conquered by fear or darkness. This is the human love that stands strong in the face of suffering and has the power to transmute the dark illusionary forces into light. Our martyrdom has expanded the universe, which is built on love, since it has pushed the very boundaries of what love is capable of.

Your purpose, therefore, is to be the light in the dark place. The light is consciousness, the dark is unconsciousness. You brought the light here with you, it is you. Therefore your purpose is to be yourself. You release yourself from the cycles Karma by being the light that you already are, and then you become a beacon for others to release themselves. I believe Karma is much more forgiving than most people think, because the universe itself is without judgment, it is only here on this earthly unconscious plain that we judge. We are not here being punished for past misdeeds, rather we are here to learn how to shed the light in the darkness, and we have been willing to come here as many times as it takes for the light to fully penetrate the dark. In that process we have often gotten lost in the dark, but that is OK, it is all part of the process. In order to transcend the darkness of unconsciousness, one must fully experience it.  After all, you cannot transcend anything that you do not fully experience.

Namaste,

Rhea Jamil

How to Love Your Enemy

Love-cat-squirrelTo love the enemy is not just to love the outer enemy but the inner one.  It is to shed light and love on those parts of you that you would rather keep hidden in the dark.  As long as they are in the dark, they will be your enemy as you are theirs, bring them to the light of love and consciousness and they cease to be your enemy and visa versa.  Once this work is complete – it becomes very easy to love the enemy in the outer world as well, for you see that person as one who still lives in shadow, much like the parts of yourself that once did.  You have seen the power of love to remove the shadow and you can spread the light of love to your outer enemy with ease and grace.  All love starts with self love.   If you want to be a beacon of love to the world, begin by loving yourself, all of yourself, even your darkness.  Once you love your darkness, it ceases to be darkness.  It instead becomes part of your wholeness.  When you are undivided within yourself, you will begin to create an undivided world, a world without enemies.

Love and Light,

Rhea Jamil