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....View Now
What Is Love?
by Kambra McConnel
Audio Version of This Blog Post
Sat Chit Ananda Guru Ki Jay
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.
Here in the United States, the entire month of February has become very commercialized with images of hearts everywhere you look, along with promotions and enticements to indulge in candy, flowers, gifts, romantic getaway packages, and so on.
Yet it is only by Kedarji’s Grace and leadership – and the true privilege of engaging in the daily spiritual practices instructed in our Nityananda Shaktipat Yoga approach – that I can say, with my whole heart, how very grateful I am to learn and directly experience what True Love and True Happiness are…and what they are not.
And with this True Love and True Happiness, I now delight in learning how to live in a state of Grace, through which I experience more moments of Love and Joy every day, regardless of whether it is St. Valentine’s Day, or the “Month of Love,” or not.
For many years, before crossing paths with Kedarji, I held the understanding that St. Valentine’s Day should be steeped in exuberant emotion, proclamations of love, or grand gestures such as going out for a great dinner with others, receiving flowers, cards, or chocolates…or ideally, enjoying all of these things at once.
In some years I enjoyed these things, and in other years, I did not. On one year in particular, when I did not have a “Valentine,” my heart literally ached with deep sadness when I felt that I had no one to celebrate with.
Eventually, as the years went by, I worked on letting go of those mundane “requirements” and instead, I began to enjoy spending time on my own for the St. Valentine’s Day holiday—taking myself out to dinner, taking myself shopping, taking myself to a movie, and so on. And then, I took great pride in this sense of independence that I had worked very hard to establish.
However, today, thanks to the blessings and Grace of Kedarji’s spiritual leadership, I understand that regardless of how “happy” I thought I was…in fact, I was still always looking for “something” else to make me happy, whether it was a meal, fashionable clothing, entertainment, fun with friends, or similar activities or interactions. Because I did not understand the very important difference that Kedarji speaks about – the difference between happiness and satisfaction.
As Kedarji utters, “Satisfaction is based on the desire to possess people places and things on some level, the desire to possess outcomes. So if an outcome meets or exceeds your expectations, you call that happiness. But that is really just satisfaction—you are temporarily satisfied because the outcome has met or exceeded your expectations. Outcomes are ephemeral. They are all transient. And outcomes are always changing. For happiness to be happiness, it cannot be dependent on anything or anyone outside yourself. That is what makes it happiness – that it cannot be altered! So when you are truly happy for no reason, that is because you are experiencing happiness right where it is, within your own being. And that is why we call it a spiritual principle. Satisfaction is not a spiritual principle. Happiness is a spiritual principle. And you can be happy regardless of outcomes. But you’ll never be satisfied regardless of outcomes. That is the difference.”
Gratefully, Kedarji’s spiritual leadership in our approach offers proved methods and instruction for how to directly experience True Happiness and True Love, based on the practices of a centuries-long unbroken Lineage of Sages of steady wisdom.
Chief among these methods and instruction is the importance of having an Improved Mental State – which is the Second of Kedarji’s 4 Pillars of Joy in Daily Living (along with The Spiritual Power, Emotional Resilience, and Vibrant Health).
To experience an Improved Mental State, one of my favorite daily spiritual practices is to sit for meditation and engage in japa – inwardly and silently repeating a mantra that Kedarji has given me – and timing my japa to inhalation and exhalation of my breath.
Sometimes when I sit for meditation, at the beginning, I experience a poor Mental State – the energy of my mind is racing and I feel like my thoughts will never stop, which then gives rise to emotions like frustration, agitation and anxiety. And sometimes, my Mental State feels so restless that it seems futile to even try to continue sitting for meditation.
However, when I re-double my effort at sitting for meditation, focusing on my mantra and inwardly repeating it, my Mental State always improves.
My Mental State may improve enough that I can witness my restless mind in a detached manner, without judgment, like when I watch clouds float across the sky. Or my Mental State may improve to a point where the energy of my mind quiets and becomes silent, and I fall into a state of deep rest and complete peace, without any concept of time or space or even awareness of the form of my body.
Regardless, I can emerge from meditation feeling happy inside, for no good reason. I experience True Happiness – a feeling of peace, content and True Love that only comes from an Improved Mental State in which I no longer feel attached to my thoughts or emotions.
As Kedarji utters, “When you are happy, you are content. As you become awash in Supreme Love, you become more and more content. That contentment gives rise to more and more Happiness.”
And Kedarji goes on to say, “Your inner state is your fate. Once you begin to experience Love right where it is, as the Supreme Principle that it is—Love without conditions—you become profoundly Happy. Because it is not dependent upon anyone or anything outside yourself, that Happiness allows you to Love unconditionally, to extend kindness, compassion and Love to anyone, as a result.”
Gratefully, by putting forth self effort to quiet my restless mind and passively observe my thoughts, I recently experienced a heightened spiritual witnessing awareness of how the sense of “independence” I felt years ago on St. Valentines’ Day (before crossing paths with Kedarji) was not due to a state of happiness—instead, it was due to a state of satisfaction.
I had merely been substituting wants and needs; I had still engaged in looking for something outside of myself to be “happy,” when in fact, I was only ever temporarily satisfied, because there always came a point where I felt I had to look for something new.
And then, I would ride the emotional roller coaster: I felt “up” when I was satisfied, and “down” when I was not satisfied, and then I believed that I had to look outwardly for something else to take me “up” again. It was a never-ending cycle that would never end in peace, content, happiness or love.
In comparison (after crossing paths with Kedarji), recently, I came across a cartoon that featured a woman sitting by herself at a table in the middle of a fancy restaurant, surrounded by many couples dining at other tables around her. In the cartoon, a waiter has approached the woman to say, “We’re going to relocate you to the bar. Your contentment is unnerving the couples.”
When I saw this cartoon, I laughed out loud. On the surface, the cartoon reminded me of all of those St. Valentine’s Days years ago, when I was in the habit of treating myself to a nice dinner – before I crossed paths with Kedarji.
And then, I felt a heightened spiritual witnessing awareness that helped me reach for and hold higher, more useful understandings.
Because upon contemplation, the cartoon further reminded me of what it means to be truly content… to truly be Happy… to truly experience Love, … no matter what situations, circumstances, comments or interactions might appear to arise around me. It reminded me of how important it is to have an Improved Mental State – to quiet the mind and only “feast inwardly” on repetition of the mantra and the Joy that exudes from the Bliss of that inner state.
As Kedarji utters, “Love is the highest of all spiritual principles. And as you begin to immerse yourself in that Love without conditions, your happiness increases, your connection with others becomes simple and yet more profound, because you are able to extend Love. Because your Happiness is not dependent upon outcomes – it is dependent upon Love as a Supreme Principle that exists inside you already; it’s not something that you have to look for. You are Love. We are all Love. That principle is eternal. It is unending, it cannot be diminished—it is True Love, which is unconditional.”
And in our approach, THAT is what True Love and True Happiness are all about – every day, and all year long.
What Grace! Om Guru Om.
Kambra McConnel is the Treasurer 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.