by Neale Lundgren | 17-02-2015

This article focuses on the application of this ‘yoga of love’ as it interfaces the crucible of daily life—friend to friend, husband to wife, lover to lover—with all of the sorrows and joys that go with such an undertaking.

I’m talking about the possibility of human relationships as a chosen and intentional spiritual path.

For centuries, the path of love has been regarded as one among the three margas or yogic “ways”: The yoga of the mind or jnana yoga, the yoga of self-less action or karma yoga, and the yoga of the heart or bhakti yoga.

The ultimate aim of the bhakti yogi is not mere devotion to a distant being who has realized the Self and left their body. It is selfless and ecstatic union with that being through a life long process of freedom from the world of attachments. It is this world of attachments that produces the endless roller-coaster ride between pain and pleasure.

All well and good. But I’d like to focus on the application of this ‘yoga of love’ as it interfaces the crucible of daily life—friend to friend, husband to wife, lover to lover—with all of the sorrows and joys that go with such an undertaking.

I’m talking about the possibility of human relationships as a chosen and intentional spiritual path.

There are many questions that emerge in my soulful conversations with others about the complex path of love, especially when this affection is not between the soul and its divine mirror, but between two human beings.

When a particular relationship reaches a particular summit of its journey, it can become a formidable unit of force. Perhaps, it takes a very long time for a ‘circle of two’ to mature and ripen. Who knows? But, one thing seems to be a sure bet. A human being does not become a primary unit of force until he or she first gains a strong sense of self. Individuality is a primary goal to be sought, not a beginning to be discarded prematurely for the sake of a larger whole.

Perhaps, many lessons must take place before it can become a genuine individual. Said another way, only a true individual can surrender something of worth to another or something else, even the Divine. All the rest may very well be just another form of ego-attachment or codependency—a relationship based upon need, an attraction of weaknesses.

Sometimes, it will be a soul’s destiny to merge with another individual of like or similar consciousness. If this should happen, what was once a stream of love could become a mighty river—that is, after the two pass many trials.

A potential ‘circle of two’ can be sabotaged from achieving its full expression because one or both lacks the courage to enter upon such a path. The path of higher love—if entered upon— will often destroy a prior form of life to make way for a richer and fuller one.

Not every soul may receive this particular kind of love in a lifetime. If you’re a person who is experiencing loneliness without a partner or lack of fulfillment in a relationship or in a partnership of emptiness, this is not an indicator that you should stoically accept your solitude—or if miserably coupled with another— prematurely exit.

Deep longing and patient endurance are sometimes necessary ingredients that will forge the character of a soul.

Many great loves have found it impossible to withstand the storms and winds conjured by the lower forces of the earth or the stale and turbid oxygen of convention.

If there be such a thing as genuine soul mate love, perhaps it is one not dependent on established forms of marriage. It is not always easy for a married couple today to successfully pass the difficult tests that are given them throughout their lifetime together. However, if a couple has a shared spiritual belief, foundation, and spiritual practice, they tend to have more aptitude for endurance and a taste for the nobility that is shaped by struggle and vision and not torn asunder by the winds of the world.

There are other examples of non-conventional loves of strength, and I call these circles of two because they appear to rise out of nowhere, out of the sea of mediocrity and not supported by institutions of any sort. One of the most notable is the illicit love of Pablo Neruda and Matilde Urrutia.

Although Pablo Neruda is known primarily for his political poetry, his love poems to Matilde Urrutia reveal a dimension of Neruda’s soul that expressed his ability to counter-balance his experiences of strife-on-earth with those of bliss-on-earth. It appears, from all accounts, that the one refuge of peace for both Pablo and Matilde was their unified heart that remained oblivious of the violence and duality around it. Perhaps its muscle and sinews were even strengthened by the tribulations the two lovers endured.

Pablo believed that his and Matilde’s love transcended the tribal laws delineated by the religions and customs of the mainstream world. However, there is good reason why the foundation of a higher love is laid amidst the crucible of the city and town and countryside.

In Pablo’s words:

The fire for light, a rancorous moon for bread, the jasmine smearing around its bruised secrets: then from a terrifying love, soft white hands poured peace into my eyes and sun into my senses.  O love, how quickly you built a sweet firmness where the wounds had been!   You fought off the talons and claws, and now we stand as a single life before the world.

That’s how it was, how it is, how it will be, my wild sweet love, my dearest Matilde, till time signals us with the day’s last flower: Then there will be no you, no me, no light, and yet beyond the earth, beyond its shadowy dark, the splendor of our love will be alive. (Love Sonnet #23 by Pablo Neruda, translated by Stephen Tapscott)

Many who haven’t experienced an enduring love of passion beyond a temporary infatuation might ask: What about me? Why should I be inspired and not envious or even full of judgment and ridicule for this elite couple, this so-called circle of two?

If you have found your life absent of an intense, passionate and enduring love, and yet you secretly long for one, there areinternal pre-conditions that I have observed in mates of soul who have become a tried and true circle of two:

1) Radical openness of mind, heart, and spirit
2) Desire to live outside the boxes of mediocrity and convention
3) Lack of need to meet the expectations of spiritless societies
4) Cultivation of a rich inner life and an individuality not based on egocentric desires.
5) Awareness of the universal laws and knowledge of how these work in the world of illusion. Some important ones are: the law of attraction, the law of appreciation, the law of affirmation, and the law of self-less devotion.

It is important to keep in mind that the key to a life of passion, positivity and peace, is to know that wherever we are—in the world— is right where we need to be.

Each and every one of the circumstances in which we find ourselves has been designed specifically for us with love and care, often beyond our ability to easily comprehend their deepest meaning.

If we look upon our times of solitude with kindness and trust, soon, very soon, others will come, members of our tribe who we feel we’ve seen and known before. Each will bring us gifts and we them. The gifts of ourselves, our souls. What splendid reunions await the soul who never doubts that love is always, always on the way.

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Author: Neale Lundgren

Author: Neale Lundgren

Dr. Neale Lundgren has been a professional musician and composer with major record labels, has experienced a seven year sojourn as a Benedictine monk, and holds a doctorate from Emory University in psychological, philosophical and religious thought. He has shown a life-long scholarly and experiential commitment to exploring the psychological components of creativity, inner transformation and transpersonal experience. Dr. Lundgren has developed an understanding of the universal principles of the perennial traditions and how these apply to daily life and to the roles of intuition, imagination and inspiration in the shaping of the self as a work of art. In 2013, Dr. Lundgren was given an adjunct faculty post at Pacifica Graduate Institute (Santa Barbara, CA).