Falling in Love
FALLING IN LOVE AS A SPIRITUAL METHOD
I. ECSTATIC, ENRAPTURED AND DEVOTED.
The millennia-old efforts of wise men and women to make the path for us, humans, back to our divine source easier, have created a multitude of religions, spiritual-philosophical systems and methods. Along with all their differences, one commonality can nevertheless be seen within the majority of paths: the law of love and all the virtues associated with it, such as mercy, sympathy, forgiveness, goodness, etc. Love is the beginning and the end of all spiritual development: at the beginning of the path a person is a Bhakta and at the end of the path a person is a Maha-Bhakta, the Hindu Vaishnavas say. From a compassion encompassing highest insight and wisdom, the Buddhist Bodhisattva determines his or her actions. Love your neighbours as yourself, the Christians say. So also does the path of Komaja, the spiritual training and community that tantric master Aba Aziz Makaja founded in 1978, begin with the development of love. However, the method Makaja offers to permanently open and strengthen one’s Heart Chakra is exceptional and original…
Self-forgotten and blissful, enraptured and devoted, full of energy and ecstatic – both those who are head over heels in love and those who are enlightened use such adjectives to describe their states of consciousness.
Science chooses a rather sober vocabulary to describe being in love, though essentially it says nothing different. According to neurobiologists and hormone specialists, the following (here simplified) is what happens to those in love: this parts of the brain, which are responsible for sadness and depression, are deactivated; the brain’s pleasure centres, on the other hand, operate at full steam; the hypothalamus releases concentrated dopamine and endorphins. These endogenous drugs stimulate euphoria and loss of appetite, increase energy level, and reduce the need for sleep. Furthermore, they allay pain and fear as well as produce a deep feeling of wellbeing. Dopamine heightens sexual arousal, while a by-product makes the brain more receptive to new stimulation. Phenylethylamine puts one in a romantic mood. In the ovaries and testicles, the production of testosterone is stimulated, heightening interest in sex over the long-term. Adrenaline, the hormone of arousal, is more intensely expelled into the blood and mobilizes all the body’s reserves of strength, strengthens the brain’s reaction speed and makes it more receptive to new experiences. Production of the stress hormone Cortisol, however, is lowered, the muscles in the arterial walls relax, allowing the vessels to be better supplied with blood. In order to saturate the increased levels of oxygen in the blood, heart rate and breathing accelerate.
PEOPLE IN LOVE AND SPIRITUALISTS
The American anthropologist Helen Fisher suspects that the flood of norepinephrin released when one is in love strengthens the nerve connections between the brain and emotions, “A small side-path in the brain suddenly becomes a main road.” Particularly positive experiences etch themselves as follows into one’s long-term memory: the smallest impulse, for example, a reminiscence on the beloved, suffices to steer one’s thoughts back to that newly created main road. Other, previously often followed trains of thought, on the other hand, lie unused and averse towards being pursued.
In this way, those in love, in their intensely infatuated phases, remind us of “professional Spiritualists.” They can be characterized by nearly perfect mental discipline; they protect, lavish care and attention on the sweet feeling in their breasts, their bliss and ecstasy. Lower realms can no longer bother them. Bosses can no longer annoy them, by-gone luck in love can no longer sadden them, stress no longer disquiet. They are so happy that they “could embrace the whole world”, which is something they actually do energetically with their radiant auras. “The secret of being in love is very similar to the rapture of young children, holy and wise people. They are related states. That exactly is the divine creative power through us human beings,” writes Makaja in his foundational work, Komaja – the Spiritual Art of Loving and Living.
WE ARE DIVINE
Makaja recommends to people, regardless to which religion or creed they subscribe, that they don’t prioritize striving to believe in Christ, Krishna, Allah, etc. first, rather that they seek out those values they have experienced as the highest within themselves, whether those be love and compassion or intelligence and wisdom. It is in our highest values that the divine manifests itself. “One shouldn’t be hypocritical to oneself and others and say, ‘Yes, I believe in God, in the Holy Mary, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare.’ And one doesn’t have the slightest idea where Krishna is, whether some Krishna even exists, if it’s called Krishna or Jesus Christ or Allah or something similar. At long last, if you look deeply enough into your heart – you can’t do it, Human! It is abstract. So, start from the most divine, the highest, most loving, most beautiful, and most blissful that you know. Take that as your path. Start honestly from where you currently are. Not from you ‘50,000 years in the future’, rather from that, which you already carry within yourself as your experience, as what you’ve digested from life, from this great, divine life!”
It is through loving other human beings that a person reaches God and attains love for God – that is a person’s potential! We are divine, we are blissful, we are beings of Paradise. And at those times when we are most strongly in love, we experience this trace of the Divine within ourselves. If we can have such experiences once or a few times, then it should be possible to lengthen this states and make them more intense.
A PRESENTIMENT OF TRANSCENDENCE
As a girl, and later a teenager, I was in love often and with many people. Even today, I try to utilize this virtue as a method. Especially imprinted within me is the period when I was eighteen and in love with my at-that-time-boyfriend. The changes in consciousness I experienced were so far-reaching that they affected my entire life. My happy infatuation and fulfilled love opened my heart and ear for all those closest to me: the troubled relationship with my father again became an affectionate relationship, full of understanding. All those friendships, which through my inattention lay broken, I was able to revive again. I learned easily, had enviable concentration and achieved highest marks on my high school graduating exams.
Frequently I lay with my beloved in the grass or under his skylight. We meditated up towards the starry sky – this was my first presentiment of transcendence, of the ever-present Divinity, through me, through him, through all beings. I felt a longing for the fully other, a longing to melt with the cosmos, which had already actually begun in this overjoyed state of mine.
It is exactly in this sense that Wunibald Mueller writes in his remarkable book, “To fall in love. A transformative power.”, that through falling in love, “(…) a quality of experience (is) evoked, that fundamentally belongs to us, but which over the course of centuries is lost more and more. It is a deep layer implanted within us whose innermost core pushes us towards an experience of the religious, the spiritual, the holy and divine, of the fully other.”
BEING CONSCIOUSLY IN LOVE
But what begins with a feeling of bliss can also transform into obsession. Then, according to neurologists, common sense gets switched off and leads the “one in love” to believe that out of six billion people there could be no better partner. This biochemical trick makes the one in love blind to all dangers and fills him or her with just two thoughts: that of the other, and of sex. When being in love transforms into obsession, the transformative process is interrupted. Thus, being in love must be conscious. “In consciously being in love, it is not possible for you to neglect the love and infatuation, which you already have for someone. (…) A conscious ‘in-loveness’ is falling in love as a spiritual method, a falling-in-love which fulfils our life and makes it happy and healthy. W hen you are newly, with consciousness, in love, you won’t forget your relationship to your child or children, your husband or husbands, your wife or wives. You will not forget your duty to your spiritual community, your society, your parents, relatives, etc. Everything will blossom. Through your infatuation, everything has more light, more love, more strength, beauty and creativity. That is a sign that you are living properly.” (Makaja)
Even the Bible points that out: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Small children have a strong, joyful, intense radiance that emanates from their hearts, just like adults in love. In contrast to those in love, however, it doesn’t matter to children, whether the “object” of their love is old or young, fair or dark, wears glasses or doesn’t, is good-looking or not. If they are attracted to someone, they fall in love and love this person radiantly. On the other hand, those in love usually love only one another. Hence, the transformative, spiritual process cannot fully unfold. “But as long as our spiritual feelings cling to the idolized person and we ‘hold on’ to the glory and halo with which we surround them, the intended transformative process gets stuck half-way. This process aims at creating room within us for spiritual experience. Through it we should discover, allow and bring to fruition the holy, the divine, God within us.” (Wunibald Mueller)
EXERCISE FALLING IN LOVE
There is great potential for spiritual growth in falling in love. Science says that those in love live in a permanent exceptional state: they need neither food nor sleep; are full of energy; are more resistant to stress and infectious disease; and even when they are preoccupied with solely their fantasies of the beloved, the limbic system produces the corresponding hormones in concentrated form. It doesn’t distinguish between imaginative thoughts and real stimulation. It is exactly this last-mentioned situation that Makaja makes use of in his Basic Komaja Meditation Techniques for Beginners. In this technique, one “trains” infatuation and love: the meditator sits, eyes closed, relaxes his/her body, and selects in his/her imagination a member of the opposite sex; e.g., his/her romantic partner; an unknown person off the street; it could be someone wise, a yogi or yogini, or even a deity (…) What is essential is that this being, as soon as the meditator thinks on it, evokes within him/her a feeling of love, idolization, admiration, enthusiasm, devotion, joy and happiness. One should feel a strong radiation from the breast-region and a flow of life-energy throughout one’s body. Signs that this first part of meditation has been carried out well are as follows: any feeling of tiredness has disappeared; one’s style of breathing changes; one’s body and soul fill with vital energy; after meditating one feels as fresh as if one had just slept well. The goal of this basic Komaja technique is to make a person aware of and develop his/her capacity for love – the capacity for universal, cosmic love; for a love of all beings; in contrast to personal, sentimental, sexual love.
BEING IN LOVE AND SEXUALITY
Being in love and sexuality are closely related. The transformative power of sexual passion is often underestimated. Makaja, as a tantric master, teaches that sexuality (and its sublimated form, infatuation) can be used for one’s own spiritualization: “One must set falling in love – for two or several people in the game – as the goal of the first stage on the path to spiritualizing sexuality! This strange fermentation of the soul and body frees one from enslavement by the sex drive. Those happily in love are always equally overjoyed, as much with sex as without. In further materializing this process, if they allow it, those in love are expelled from Paradise. If they stop, they will have immeasurable pleasure!”
Accordingly, Makaja also gives concrete tips for dealing with sexuality: whenever the sex glands are stimulated – and for those in love, they are stimulated in an intensified manner – every stimulation of the sex organs should travel at least to the region of one’s heart. The lovers will then feel a strengthened radiance through their breasts. In using one’s sexuality this way, every stimulation of the sex organs also stimulates the heart. As soon as the movement is reversed; i.e., the sweetness of being in love and all its associated feelings slowly sink, and we experience emptiness, pressure or pain in the breast with sexual pleasure only in the genital region, we have strayed from the path. Then it is effective to take a break, meditate, relax, and embrace one’s partner in order to feel a renewed radiance in one’s breast. “The wise human is rising by means of that, by which the idiot is falling”. In this way, sexuality can be a steppingstone for higher consciousness: “In orgasm, boundaries disappear. But not in every orgasm. Only in the orgasm of those whose love is deep and strong and whose rapture has grown like the most powerful winds. Only such lovers transcend the limits of humanity in orgasm. And if you go long enough and for many times through such orgasms, orgasms of the amorous who love powerfully, reaching your Divine basis which is at the same time the Divine basis of the whole Universe, then you no longer need sex nor orgasm to live in blissfulness from morning until evening, always. Then, the “Love thy neighbour as thyself”, is not a distant goal, or a struggle for you anymore, but the most natural reality, just as it is natural for you to breathe and move. Makaja, Eros & Logos. The Book for Saints and Sinners