Published: 13 November 2021 | Written by Swami Rama
I don’t understand how you can live without loving people. If you cannot love one person, how can you love the whole universe? And if you cannot love the universe, then what is the use of talking about divinity? The important part of your behavior is how loving you are.
This word “love” is the least understood and most misused of all words in the modern world. People tell their partners they love them, but often they don’t really mean it. If they say, “I love you,” they are lying to the other person. If you love someone you don’t lie to them—that’s not love! But many people know only one kind of language, and that is wounding someone’s heart and mind by suggesting to them in person that they love them, and then when they’re gone, resenting them and criticizing them to others.
Another serious problem is that people think that in order to love one person they have to exclude others. In the name of love, they become possessive, and then they hate or fear others. This insecurity develops, increases, and makes them miserable in their day-to-day life-and eventually it destroys them. That is why they cannot enjoy life; they are insecure and possessive of those they claim to love.
What a human being really needs is to clearly understand life, so that life’s purpose can be fulfilled and attained. And this can be done if you do not scatter your energy and distract yourself. If you gather your energy, light the fire within, and bathe in that fire, then life is good. But if you scatter your energy, then your purpose in life will never be attained. So learn to enjoy life as it is. Every second of life should be enjoyed! The enjoyment of the past is gone, and the enjoyment in the future is only an imagination, so learn to enjoy life here and now. You need to understand how to tread the path of life and how to enjoy this procession of life without harming or hurting anyone.
According to yoga psychology, there are three qualities in human beings: the spiritual, the human, and the animal, or sattva, rajas, and tamas. The quality that establishes balance, tranquility, and equanimity in life is the sattvic quality. When you are sattvic and at peace you are serene and love all; you don’t hate or feel jealousy for anyone. This is why yoga science teaches ahimsa, nonviolence. But if you want to practice non-violence, you must first know that love comes before truth; satya (truth) is developed later on, but first you have to understand ahimsa (love). You cannot practice truth if you do not understand ahimsa. Your goal is to practice love and to learn to speak the truth. The great bibles and scriptures of all the cultures in the world say you should love others and speak the truth. Your parents told you to do this, but their teachings didn’t explain how. You need to have an example. Yoga science teaches that.
In developing love, the field of your practice is where you live—with your family, friends, colleagues, or neighbors. If you want to develop love, then you should do no violence. Whether you are learning to love your husband, wife, children, or friends, the first thing is to do no violence in action, speech, or mind. If you refrain from hurting, injuring, or killing, then you will naturally come to love. By observing this principle of ahimsa, you become loving, and then you can practice truth.
But your ego is a fortress that does not allow you to expand your personality and consciousness. The role of the ego should be to help you to function well in the external world, to coordinate your various activities in life, and to give direction to your mind’s internal states. If you allow the ego to become dominant, then you cannot grow or attain anything of value either spiritually or personally.
There is a way to tell how much love you have for others: sit down quietly and calmly examine your fears. The more fear you have, the less love you have. If you have less fear, then you will have more love. If you have no fear, you are able to give complete love. Your fear will tell you how much love you are capable of. So learn to live in love and not in fear. Always be cheerful, compassionate, and giving. Let Providence work, and trust that you will receive what you need.
This article has been taken from the book – The Art of Joyful Living, pp 135-137, by Swami Rama, published 2014 by the Himalayan Institute India.