Love of the Eternal

One week ago I wrote about how we would be riding a crest of high energy and boy was I right! For many, that energy took them all the way through the weekend until Sunday morning, when things started to calm down. The high energy brought lots of introspection and emotions. Relationships were being challenged and ideas started to swirl.

During times such as these, it’s important to remember that how we act, our emotions, how we look, our weight, our health, etc. are all impermanent. These parts of us change by the second. In yoga philosophy all of these physical manifestations are part of prakriti or the natural world. By definition prakriti changes and is impermanent. We must honor and accept the changes, which are inevitable. One of the main obstacles to happiness and awareness is confusing the impermanent with the permanent. Even how we behave, our egos, are impermanent and change constantly. We do not feel the same today as we felt yesterday in most aspects of our manifested being and, as a result, our behavior changes.

Hence the challenge in relationships often comes down to a mistaking of the impermanent aspects of our loved ones with their permanent aspects. True love, the kind that frees the soul, is not the love of the impermanent aspects of a person–it is the love of the permanent. In yoga, this permanent and eternal aspect of each of us is called purusha. Purusha is unchanging and, therefore, cannot consist of our emotions, our appearance, our weight, our behavior, our health, etc. Purusha is that part of us that remains unchanged throughout our lives and throughout our cosmic existence.

Think about your first memory as a child. Then think about what aspect of you is the same as that tiny child. That is a glimpse into purusha. Some aspect of you is the same person as you were when you lacked all of the life experience that brought you here today. Those who believe in reincarnation also would see purusha as our Self (or soul) that passes through different manifestations and lifetimes. Despite our different physical forms, there is an aspect of our being–our Soul–that remains unchanged.

When we look at our loved ones and make demands that they change their behavior or change other aspects of their being we are often confusing the impermanent aspects of them with the permanent. Loving from the heart requires awareness of the permanent and an opening to that deeper connection. So, the challenge for this week is to see the deeper souls of your loved ones and even all people. Love their souls not their impermanent characteristics. Also, pay attention to how others love you and why. Do they love you for your unchanging nature? Do they love your soul? Or, are they only in love with the surface qualities that will inevitably change. If its the latter, you may be stuck in a relationship that is not serving your soul at all.

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