Satsang on line – March 25, 2020

How to be with yourself and be happy

In this webinar, we will address the question of how to be with ourselves and be happy no matter the outside interpersonal conditions and collective conditions (social distancing, be in isolation or working with groups, living with families and community, in intimate relationship, being alone or in search of close relationships). We will discuss strategies how to transform our negative emotional patterns into selfless love through the practice of Yoga applied in daily life. We will also discuss the Yogic way of how to uplift and spiritualize our relationships.

Why we need to practice Yoga of Relationships?

In all our relationships, we aspire to be loved and to love all the time and 100% but we fail to feel the 100% all the time. We suffer from needs unmet, separation, losses, anxiety, disappointments, inner and outer conflicts, difficulty in communications, lack of empathy and compassion, resentments and anger, attraction– repulsion, emotional swings and also suffer from the paradox of wanting to lose oneself in love and yet wanting to be in control. The problem is between Self and Others and how to find ourselves through relationships?

What is Love?

Swami Sivananda said that “Love is the goal of life.  Love is the law of life.  God is Love and Love is God. To love is to fulfill the law.  We live so that we may learn to love in the eternal”.

My teacher, Swami Vishnudevananda said about love:  “Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Arabs, white and black–we can live together. Educated people, uneducated people, contractors and businessmen, ordinary Swamis and Yogis–we can all live together, eat together, and speak together. We can live our life in a very universal way. This is love, universal love.”

Peace of mind leads to Love.

Happiness comes from love.  However true happiness is not temporary and emotional and is not the satisfaction of desire but the fulfillment of our soul longing to be united with the Supreme. We need to have peace of mind and have Self Knowledge in order to experience love. By finding Peace within ourselves, we find Love. Yoga is the science to find peace.

Love is oneness, union, unity, yoga.

All humanitarians in all countries talk about our shared humanity. In time of crisis, we united in our efforts and prayers. In these times, we looked at the World Health Organization statistics and we cringed, no matter from which country we are from, infected or not. ( to-date 413,467 people infected from Corona virus, spread in 197 countries, with a death toll of 18,433 ). Someone said” The virus reminds us that we are all connected, that something that affects one person has an effect on another, that our false borders can not stop the virus that doesn’t need a passport”. This is the situation demonstrated by Swami Vishnudevananda in his boundary breaking peace missions, long ago. We are one, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation and financial situation.

Our human condition is separation. We suffer from separation in all different levels, in our interpersonal relationships and globally, between nation and nation. And we all long for union. We need each other and yet we constantly have conflicts with each other either in our families or in our trade laws and national identities and borders.  

Yoga teaches us that we are far more than our ego and we are happier when we can get out of our egoism. We all know that great feeling when we are one with somebody or a group, when we can let go of our individuality and feel oneness and not separateness. Separateness leads to a feeling of isolation, of not being supported or loved. Our suffering is based on the mistake to think that this separate personality is the one to be loved but we forget that to get love we have to offer love, and to love is to cease to be a separate personality.

Our personal stories of love and split and our collective history of war and peace represent the ever-present drama of our Karmic lessons unfolding, experienced as an individual or as a group. Karmic lessons mean learning from our mistakes and slowly coming closer to the Truth of who we are. Nothing is by accident.  People we encounter or circumstances that we find ourselves in are only opportunities for us to serve and to love. We receive the same lesson, either from the point of view of the individual or from the point of view of a nation. We all evolve and come closer to the Truth of who we are. Vedanta philosophy teaches unity of consciousness, how to realize that we are like waves of the ocean but the waves are not different from one another and the waves and the ocean are one. Yoga philosophy helps to free us from the suffering coming from this apparent duality and this split we feel between Self and Others.

Selfless love is to be learned

Our relationships are opportunities to learn selfless love.  Selfless love means to see the Self in others and see divinity in others as well as in one’s self.  It means not seeing the differences, but seeing the essence, the commonness that is One, realizing Unity in Diversity. It is our belief in our separateness and individuality that makes us function in a selfish manner. We believe in a separate life and our idea of freedom in doing actions only out of our own will. We believe that our perception of who we are based on our personality is real and we believe that the characteristics of our ego is our real value.

Unconditionnal love is selfless.

To achieve peace and unity, to heal ourselves and our humanity, we all need to learn that level of Love that is selfless and unconditional.  We need to cease to identify with our ego-self which can only leads us to conditional love, egoistic, selfish relationships. We need to learn to transform our emotions to pure love. Emotions come from our lower mind and our subconscious mind which carries impressions of habitual limited love of the past.  Yoga teaches us to purify the lower mind and to activate our higher mind. Yoga methods teach how to transform our emotions into devotion or pure love

Emotion is not love

Love is at the root of every emotion. If we have a lot of emotions, we find that it is difficult to express and at the same time to repress. People of emotional nature, would need to do more Bhakti Yoga to transform emotions. Transformation of emotions is not what commonly being taught. We are taught either to express or to repress. Both lead to emotional problems. Yoga says that we need to develop our higher mind, our self aware mind in order to guide our lower emotions and to pay attention to justification using our intelligence to justify our basic desires and emotions.

Emotions are a form of love but distorted.  Conditioned love and egoistic love lead to negative emotions instead of bliss.

Let’s recognize our common negative emotions experienced in relationships. Let us bear witness to the spiritual darkness and the egoism and abuse seen time and time again, in families, couples, races, cultural, religious groups and nations. 

Negative emotions need to be converted to positive emotions and from there to pure love. Let’s go to the root of the negative emotions and learn ways how to be free from the sufferings come from them. Apply this to your personal situation as well as to your relationship with a group or a nation.

Anger comes from unfulfilled expectation or desire.

Antidote:

  • Let go of expectation
  • Be grateful of what you have
  • Surrender and accept our differences
  • Let go of control
  • Practice patience towards self and others.
  • Mitigate, calm down, slow down our desire
  • Remember the Self that is fulfilled and content.

Fear:

Fear come from attachment and can be paralyzing in our forgetfulness of Self.  
Forms of fear: Fear of death, fear of being alone, fear of public criticism, fear of loosing, fear of pass trauma and pain, fear of separation….

Antidote:

  • Courage to face our fears and be free of them.
  • Faith in oneself and in the universal intelligence and the universal love and protection
  • Detachment (opposite of attachment) and remaining in oneself.
  • Self-Enquiry to remove habitual false identification and past wrong impressions
  • Self-confidence based on inner strength not on ego
  • Self-reliance – be able to count on oneself and live self sufficiently with oneself

Attachment

True love is not attached but detached. Attachment comes with fears and anxieties. Attachment comes with identification with some external traits of oneself which we recognized in our friends and loved ones. Attachment makes us falsely feel stronger in our relationships. People can be attached with each other and nations can have alliances with each other. Attachment separates and fails to see unity. From attachment, comes our defensive mechanism and stress. Individually we are stressed and as nations, we are stressed. We defend our way of life, we defend our borders, we defend our space, our opinions. Attachment leads to suffering under the disguise of binding relationships.

True love is warm, free, liberating, selfless, and yet detached.  Detachment does not mean rejecting or not loving, or not being strong, not knowing oneself.  
It means learning to see the higher Truth about the Reality which encompasses Oneself and Others. We do not have to loose for someone to be happy. No-one has to loose for us to be successful. Individually, we need to open to this True Self and collectively we need to see Oneness. The reality of the pandemic teaches us our unavoidable interdependence.

Hatred

comes from love turning in the wrong direction.It isthe opposite of love. Again the same logic applies, we hate what we think that is not ourselves and we limit ourselves to certain idea we have about ourselves. Yoga philosophy acknowledges the root causes of our afflictions, the fact that our minds swing from love to hate, from attractions to repulsions, all due to our lack of higher understanding. We tend to blame externally for our miseries and project our blames and hatred to someone or to a country different than ours. We tend to not look inwards, to realize the necessity to grow out of our limitations and intolerances.
Antidote: 

  • Practice compassion
  • See the self in others
  • Do Selfless service
  • Practice Love in action
  • Cease the blaming and the victim attitude.
  • Share responsibility for caring about our environment, either our home or planet.


This will open the knots of the heart based on egoism and prejudices that corrupt love into hatred.

Desires and passions as obstacles to love and unity.  

To find peace and love in our relationships and in the world, we need to control our desires and passions ingrained as our instinctive habits. In the current situation in the world, we witness groups of people pleading to others to observe social distancing and not to go out to parties, games, entertainments in order to save lives and help the health workers. What a perfect illustration of interdependence. We all have to control our desires and passions and we are forced to be calm, to go inwards and to find higher form of enjoyment within ourselves.

Antidote to desires

  • Devotion to the Divine seen in others.
  • Be aware of our passions stemming from reproductive instincts. Keep pure motives.
  • Identify less with the body and with the separate self. See yourself be part of a larger body.
  • Transform outward lustful instincts into selfless love for humanity and respect of all, men and women.
  • The virus doesn’t spare young or old, for young people, more restless and passionate, they need to practice Yoga daily to sublimate sexual energy and restlessness.  
  • Eat calm food to control desires, animal flesh will reinforce this passionate tendency
  • Lead a harmless life, respectful of all creatures.

Greed

Greed comes from our desire for safety and fulfillment twisted into insatiable illusory desire for material objects. Remove greed to find safety and fullness inside. Greed destroys compassion, generosity, charity, altruism and make us commit crimes against humanity. 

Antidote: 

  • Charity and giving
  • Contentment
  • Practice of gratitude
  • Renunciation
  • There is plenty for everyone’s needs but never enough for anyone’s greed.

Envy

Envy comes from lack of acceptance of our karma and what comes to us by God’s will. A person can envy the other and compete with the other, becoming unhappy when the other is happy. Such competition exists also in the level of a group or nation.

Antidote:

  • Acceptance, turning inward, not comparing.
  • Reminding yourself that everything is due to our own karma. All is perfect
  • Forbearance and humility and learn our own unique lessons
  • Remember that God’s love is abundant for all.

Jealousy

Jealousy comes from sense of entitlement, possession and exclusiveness in love relationship.  Jealousy is experienced when the beloved changes loyalty.

Antidote:

  • Evolve your relationship into a more inclusive relationship
  • Generosity, giving
  • Forgiveness
  • Remember passion and attachment is not love.

Healing emotions 

How to heal emotional wounds and free ourselves from negative mental patterns and suffering coming from past habits of conditional and selfish love?

Self Love

To heal from emotional scars and patterns we need to learn Self-love and Love of God.  Self-love brings acceptance and makes the mind turn inwards to find Happiness but not outwards towards somebody or an external condition.  Self-love or turning inwards to find one’s Self will make you stronger to be able to realize the love within that has always been there.

Self-love is not egoistic.  It is the lack of self-love and awareness that creates the patterns of need and dependency leading away from peace and love.  Self- love brings about self-respect and self- discipline.

Love of the Supreme seen in all

Devotion to the Supreme or to Humanity as Divine manifestation helps us to relax, to self-surrender, to become humble, to break through our egoistic limitations, our emotional patterns and our identifications.  It helps us to surrender the ego, to accept and heal our emotions. The current global crisis is a perfect opportunity for people and nations to become humble and to behave not individualistically but humanistic ally, globally.

Love is personal and starts from within

In ourfast paced, materialistic life, we need to learn to develop love and fulfillment. We need to practice love in all our affairs daily, in all our interactions. We can start with Love of our chosen ideal, our chosen Beloved, in the cave of our own heart. It brings back the presence of love in our heart which is blocked by our identifications with our separate self. Love of our chosen ideal is a most intimate sacred feeling and not a display or social conformity. Love of that chosen ideal transcends religious conventions and rituals.  It comes from within and cannot be imposed from the outside. It is our own inner aspiration and longing for union. Attachment to external form or religious symbols is just a help and not a goal in itself. Through practicing unconditional love towards our ideal form, we learn to self-surrender and to transcend the external forms and come closer to God or pure love itself.

Our chosen ideal of love is the quality we seek in ourselves:  

Our chosen ideal of love can have the quality we seek: purity, eternity, knowledge, true inner power, beauty, perfection, bliss, righteousness. One can choose the chosen ideal according to our own temperament or according to which aspect of the divine you feel the closest with. We all have the desire for Perfection.

Healing through respect and love of the Divine Mother in Nature

We can recognize the Divine manifestation in all names and forms, underlying life. We can see Humanity as Her form. We can see her everywhere as the energy of intelligence, of knowledge, creativity, wisdom. She is also the energy sustaining life and health, energy of peace, love, harmony, virtue, righteousness, beauty, prosperity, and wealth. In another form she is the core of your inner strength and fearlessness and will protect you from harm. This is the time to together pray for her grace.

Her forms are countless. Therefore, respect others ways to truth. Names are many but God is One.  Paths are many but truth is One.

Yoga of relationships is to be practiced daily with all

Learn to see God in our daily interactions and relationships and cultivate selfless love, thus growing in closeness to what we long for and growing in oneness to our ideal of pure love.

There is no other

All relationships are truly relationships with your own Self. There is no separation in reality. We are all learning love through being aware of mental habits. Ourmind reproduces impressions of past relationships and we carry with us patterns learned in childhood and past lives. These conditionings can be very deep and our relationship karma difficult to resolve.

Yogic teachings on karma say that we choose our father /mother and life circumstances to learn our relationship lessons. We are learning to see the One Self beyond our egos interacting with each other.

Discipline of mind and heart

We are all perfect inside but our minds need to be molded in order for us to be able to reflect the perfection and the love that is within us.

Self Enquiry and Self Love

We need to do self-inquiry to become free from past impressions and correct the pattern of reproducing past relationships. We need to find our core relationship with love itself beyond names and forms. Turn within and find ourselves and start with Self Love. At the same time, cultivate Divine love in relationships to free us and achieve lasting happiness.


Nine traditional ways to cultivate selfless love in daily life. Apply the the nine traditional ways to sublimate emotions into devotion and overcome egoism according to the teachings of Bhakti Yoga.

  1. Listen to inspiring Divine stories – Develop the capacity to listen to others without judgment.  Be honest in what you say about yourself.
  2. Sing God’s glory – Learn to praise others and look for their positive qualities and one’s own positive qualities.
  3. Remembrance of His name and presence in prayers – Learn to hold people you love in your heart in a prayerful mood, feel the sacredness of relationships by being detached and forgiving.  Be grateful for all people whom you interact with in your life.
  4. Service with humility –  Learn to actively serve    everyone as God whether you like them or not.
  5.  Worship – Learn to see God in your relationships, offer your time and presence and beautiful gifts as if they are being offered to God.
  6.  Prostrations – Learn to give the utmost respect to people you encounter or people surrounding you no matter who they are.
  7. Cultivate the feeling of being a servant of God –  Learn to develop an attitude of self-sacrifice.
  8. Cultivate feelings of friendship of God – Learn to open your heart equally to all, without ulterior motives and discriminating who is higher
    or lower than you.
  9. Complete self-surrender – Learn to accept all things happening to you with equanimity and overcome your own expectations or judgment about anything done by yourself or others.

Conclusion:

May we endeavor to maintain our remembrance of our true purpose, which is to return to a place of no suffering through strength, wisdom, through trust and faith, in other words, a place of fulfillment without desires, of love without selfishness.

Through Selfless Service and Selfless Love may we liberate ourselves from desires and greed, and find our True Self. May we live in the spirit of Karma Yoga, doing our duty and yet learning the basic duty of finding Love of Self and Love of Others as One.

May we improve in all our relationships, taking this opportunity of turning inwards and rethinking our values and priorities. In our network of relationships, may we become all great father, mother, daughter, son, teacher, student, husband, wife, friend, lover, beloved, care taker, neighbor, boss, consumer, statesman, leaders, servants of humanity and of the planet!

All is at all times perfect

  • May the whole world attain Peace and Harmony!
  • Asato Ma Satgamaya Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya – Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya
  • Om Purnam Adam, Purnam Idam Purnat, Purnamudachyate
  • Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnameva Vashishyate

Swami SitaramanandaAcharya ISYVC

26/03/2020

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