Bhakti, the Song of Love

Don’t forget love;
it will bring all the madness you need 
to unfurl yourself across the universe
.”
~ Meera Bai (1498-1546)

 

I intend here to continue exploring the three different pathways towards realising our true nature. I have some time ago given my attention to Jñāna, which in the Indian tradition is the name given to the means of attaining truth through the investigative qualities of the mind, which are mostly thinking and the power of discrimination. The two other paths towards realisation are the tantric path, which involves the senses, and the path of love, which involves feeling, and is the subject of this essay.

The path of knowledge requires a certain steadiness, orderliness, being thorough, constant. But even somebody set on this logical path of knowledge will be exposed to ineffable, timeless moments of pure love. Some people are best suited to a more loving, encompassing pathway, that would allow them to be just as they are, with all their confusion and overwhelming feelings. I can be the me that I am, as long as I am too this loving, embracing presence to which I can offer myself. In love there is no theory, no guidelines to follow. And it is not a surprise to find this expression of truth as one of the means to the realisation of our true self. This pathway of love has been called ‘Bhakti’ in the tradition of India. All the Indian faith, at least in its more popular expression, is of a devotional nature, and has elevated this simple love for god or truth to the rank of art. That seemed to me a good starting point to embark on this path of devotion, which the Śivānanda Laharī (verse 61) describes as: “The way needle seeks magnet, the way creeper seeks tree, the way river unites with ocean and the way the mind seeks the lotus feet of Śiva.”

An exploration into Bhakti, the path of love and devotion (READ MORE…)

 

On Labyrinths, Grace and the Via Creativa

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Labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral

Miriam Louisa Simons is a retired artist and educator, and the creator of several excellent blogs on the non-dual journey. I’m happy that she is the first friend invited to contribute here. Out of a lifelong dedication to art and spiritual inquiry, she invites us to delve into the image of the Labyrinth, uncover its connections with our life, with grace, until ‘we arrive naked at the freedom that was always there’…

 

 

 

Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.

~ Rumi

 

The Labyrinth is a familiar symbol. Its enigmatic presence has left footprints that fade back into the beginning of the human story. Its origins and its purpose have been rich fodder for research and speculation.

I don’t pretend to know the truth of its tale, but see the archetypal labyrinth as apt visual shorthand for the map of a life, and that’s how its symbolism is used in this little essay.

The many lanes of the Labyrinth are in fact only one long path that winds and twists and turns back on itself as it explores all the territory of a life before arriving at its Heart.

By ‘Heart’ I mean the natural essence of the ‘walker’ of the Labyrinth – beyond both conception and perception – the unknowable and ineffable awareness we nevertheless recognize as our changeless Being.

An essay from Miriam Louisa Simons (READ MORE…)