The Teacher and Unconditional Love

The reason I teach you about the breath is to train you to hold your mind in a singular space while you are excavating some depth of contact within yourself. I talk about chakras and channels because while you are trying to make a deeper contact with yourself, what you will discover is that there are particular places in you where your experience is stronger. Then, in time, you might discover that there is a very complex and sophisticated set of energetic systems that have become you. Paying attention to that energetic system, what you will come to understand is that the only constant in life is change. That change is expressed as flow, and the flow in you is a part of a bigger flow around you. That flow is part of an even bigger flow that exists on a cosmic scale.

Swami Chetanananda at darshan

Swami Chetanananda at darshan

The universe is in us, we are in the universe, and the essence of it all is love. I don’t mean the kind of love that they’re singing about on the rock and roll radio--although that’s not excluded. The love I’m talking about is bigger than that, much bigger than that.

Here is where the teacher comes in. Where else are you going to find someone who has dedicated their life to excavatinmg themself from the mountain of tension that their parents imparted to them, to become a deeply loving person on a scale that is difficult for our mind to imagine? It’s not very common.

If you find such a person, you have the possibility of connecting in a dynamic system that will begin to bring out the best in you. I think about that wonderful song by Joni Mitchell that goes something like, “All I really, really want our love to do….is to bring out the best in me and in you too.”  It might sound ordinary, but in fact when you have genuinely loving people in your life who are trying to be the best that they can, that also creates the context, the environment, the understanding that allows you to bring out the best in yourself. In America, where everything that’s happening increasingly becomes all about money and not about caring, it’s a rare thing. So, what do you do with a teacher?

I think the simplest thing is to hold in your awareness that the teacher is really not a thing but a process. People aren’t things: people are processes. Your body will not be tomorrow what it was yesterday. It is a process. Hold the awareness of the process of the teacher in your heart and mind, and allow that connection to remind you and to energize you at times to bring out the best in you, too.

I’m not much for giving do’s and don’ts to people. There are a couple of reasons. The first is that nobody’s ever paid attention to me when I tried. So I thought it was a reasonable thing to give up, because the truth is I struggled with the do’s and don’ts myself, and I have come to understand that do’s and don’ts are really only suggestions. Most of us have a deep need to put ourselves in shit up to our eyebrows from time to time, and that’s okay. You either will survive it or you won’t, and in either case it’s fine.

The second reason I don’t pay attention to do’s and don’ts is that because in this experience of growing, we’re going to awaken places in ourselves that we’ve never experienced, we’re going to have experiences that there is no model for, and we’re going to go places we never even imagined existed. In that process, we will definitely make mistakes, and mistakes are fine. Mistakes are easily overcome if we can return to that best place in ourselves and open our hearts again, and if somebody was offended we say, “I’m sorry.” It’s that easy.

The extraordinary love that is available from within us is amazingly resilient. It is at times and at its boundaries delicate and fragile, and requires some care, but it is astonishingly resilient. It is completely alive. So, if you have a teacher, hold that teacher in your heart and mind and feel that presence and that process and flow in it.

That’s a complicated way of saying love me and I’ll love you back. But I said it in a complicated way because if I just say it simply people will think this is something that isn’t profound. It’s difficult to appreciate the profundity of the opportunity to hold a real connection in unconditional love. Having a teacher is about love, it’s not about anything else. If you can find that love in yourself and grow it, what you will discover is that it is an energy, it is a force, it is a power that is truly extraordinary and will bless you with numerous unimaginable possibilities.