What Is Love?
Due to widespread recognition of St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th in many cultures around the world, February is often considered to be a month that is all about Love....View Now
by Shanti Harkness
Audio Version of This Blog Post
As I sat to write this blog post, the only topic that came to mind was to write about attachment. Kedarji and his long Lineage of Siddha Gurus, all tell us the same thing: attachment always brings suffering.
Particularly at this time of year with the various holidays, celebrations, gatherings, and parties, our lives are, sometimes, filled with an endless stream of attachments and expectations. Will I be able to find the perfect gifts for loved ones? I hope my partner got me that gift I’ve been hinting at for months. Did I make enough food for everyone? Is grandma going to spike the eggnog again this year? Are the cousins going to stir up trouble? I hope the in-laws don’t start another fight. Will this person like their gift? How much work is going to be back at the office waiting for me? Will my Christmas bonus arrive in time?
Attachment to Grief
In some cases, the holidays can be a time of grief, sadness, and loss. Two years ago in December, two of my sisters died within three weeks of each other. I had no relationship with the one, but the other was like a best friend to me. We spoke or messaged each other almost every single day, sharing stories or funny memes or videos we thought the other would enjoy. Her death hit me the hardest.
I cried fiercely for several days, trying to inwardly remind myself that “God alone exists.” This is a foundational understanding of our Siddha Science that we embrace here. God alone exists. There are no others. Each “other” that we see is merely that same One God, taking on the role and wearing the costume of that person, in this grand Play of the Divine. So, It was not my sister that died– it was that One Supreme Being, playing the role of my sister, and now, was going to take on another character and play a different role. As the Siddhas tell us, God dwells in everything and everyone, everywhere.
Embracing the Truth
I’ll be honest. The first week or so after my sister’s death, I didn’t want to embrace this understanding, this Truth. I wanted to grieve and feel the pain and sadness, so I allowed myself to. For the time being, I was attached to my pain, attached to the notion of my sister dying, and attached to the notion of the pain her five children were left to face.
After about a week, I decided that was enough crying, and began to fully embrace this understanding again, that God alone exists. In an instant, all my feelings of sadness, grief and loss were replaced with peace and love.
Over the last two years, I have watched family members struggle with their grief over the loss of my sisters. Understandably, my mother has struggled the most. When I saw her last month, she broke down and cried at how much regret she had, and how much she wished she could have done things differently. She also shared how much fear she had about moving on. These feelings and understandings are not uncommon for people to face after a loss.
The Cause of Suffering
As Kedarji tells us, we suffer because we think we are separate from God. In fact, our entire spiritual path is focused on resolving this identity crisis. Resolving this crisis by knowing and experiencing that we are God allows us to be in the world without being of the world; to lead our lives in the realization that God alone exists. This is true Yoga– the transformation of human consciousness into Divine Consciousness.
So, I listened as my mother poured out the tears of her grieving heart. Attachment brings suffering. I began to feel sad for her because I now know that suffering is a choice. With the right understandings, the highest understandings imparted by Kedarji and the many sages of our Lineage, we don’t need to suffer, but we choose to, by the mantras that we reach for and the understandings we hold on to.
I know that suffering is a choice because prior to meeting Kedarji and embarking on this incredible spiritual path, I suffered tremendously, including severe suicidal depression for most of my life. When I began to take these understandings over my own, such as: God alone exists, there are no others, that the One Supreme Lord pervades everything and everyone, everywhere, my entire experience and outlook immediately shifted, and I tapped into this inner strength that I never knew was possible.
The Power of The Arc
I transformed from being the victim of life’s circumstances and situations, to being responsible for them. Our practice of The Arc has been extremely important in that shift for me as well. The Arc states that:
Not wanting to get entangled in emotions I wasn’t actually feeling as my mother continued pouring out her heart, I inwardly began repeating my mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, affirming my Oneness with God. This allowed me to maintain an inner state of peace and tranquility while sharing space with my mother as she let out her grief and attachments. Practicing The Arc allowed me to maintain my emotional resilience, the third of Kedarji’s 4 Pillars of Joy in Daily Living (along with The Spiritual Power, improved mental state, and vibrant health).
Embracing the Fact That God Alone Exists
Attachment brings suffering because we believe we are separate from God. I consistently remind myself that God alone exists. God exists in each form, in each mantra, in each breath. I didn’t lose a sister, God just dropped playing in one form and took on another. As long as I reach for and embrace these understandings, then there is no feeling of grief, loss, or suffering for me. Sure, I’ll still miss interacting with that form, but I know that God alone exists here, so there is no loss. I can interact with that same God in any other form as well.
My holiday wish is that I can be the example for my mother (and others). While she has no interest in knowing or learning about my spiritual path, there’s no denying the inner strength and fortitude that I have gained from it. Perhaps one day she will see this inner strength I have gained, and inquire about it. Until then, all I can do is continue with my spiritual practices and seek to experience more Joy, Peace and Love in each moment.
Shanti Harkness volunteers as the Secretary of The Bhakta School of Transformation. She sits on our Board of Directors and also volunteers as a certified staff teacher and program leader for Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga. She works in the marketing field.