Editor’s Note: Andrew Weil, M.D. is a world-renowned leader, best-selling author, and...
By Deepak Chopra, M.D.
In an earlier age the poets and sages knew that falling in love is an experience of the Divine. When two people become enraptured with each other, they feel ecstasy and the delight of a timeless state of being. Any sense of isolation, pain or anxiety dissolves into the bliss. The Sufi poet Rumi expresses it beautifully:
“Lovers share a sacred decree –
to seek the Beloved.
They roll head over heels,
rushing toward the Beautiful One
like a torrent of water.”
In the past few centuries the spiritual dimension of love has gradually been lost, especially in the West. Modern psychologists tell us that falling in love is illusory and that romance is a “projected fantasy” we conjure up in an attempt to feel immortal and invulnerable. However, according to the ancient seers, all love is a spiritual path. In fact, love is spirit. When we’re in the romance phase of a relationship, we have a brief experience of who we really are – an expression of the Divine. Our sense of being separate, isolated individuals disappears and we know that we’re in inextricable part of an infinite universe.
Of course, wisdom tells us that the initial euphoria of infatuation fades away. But that doesn’t diminish the value of the experience. Falling in love is an opening and a chance to enter a state of timeless bliss. In this transcendent space we know that the entire universe supports us and always has. If we decide to take the next step and enter into a marriage with our beloved, we have the opportunity to deepen both our partnership and our experience of spiritual union.
Why We Get Married
There are many reasons people get married, but I think the best reason is because they deeply love each other and dedicate themselves to each other to fulfill a spiritual love and destiny that they could not attain on their own.
Many marriages are actually a way of forming a complete person out of two incomplete persons. When such marriages are successful — a tricky business, since it happens on a hidden, unspoken, sometimes unconscious level — the spouses can say "we are one person" and actually mean it. But the deepest union goes a step further and becomes a mutual partnership of two people who each want to be whole. This kind of marriage, a spiritual union, is about filling in our own gaps, growing to fulfill our individual potential, but with an intimate ally. Relationships become whole as we become whole.
One of the most powerful tools for deepening our connection to our spiritual essence and wholeness is meditation. There are many kinds of meditation practices, including the Primordial Sound Meditation practice taught at the Chopra Center. Here I wish to share with you a guided heart meditation. Read through the instructions then find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably by yourself for a few minutes and not be disturbed.
There is a center in the body where love and spirit are joined, and that center is heart. Within the heart is a subtler center that experiences spirit, but you can’t feel spirit as an emotion or physical sensation. Spirit lies beneath the layers of sensations, and to experience it, you must go to the heart and meditate upon it until everything that obscures spirit is cleansed. In the words of the mystical poet William Blake, you are cleansing the doors of perception.
As you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, just this moment let go of all your thoughts and the outside world. Focus your attention on your spiritual heart center, in the middle of your chest.
Be aware of your heart as a space. The heart center is a point of awareness where feelings enter. In its essence, the heart is pure emptiness, pervaded by peace and a subtle light. This light may appear as white, gold, pale pink, or blue. But don’t strain to find a light of any kind. All you need to feel is whatever is there.
Resting your attention easily on your heart center, breathe gently and sense your breath flowing into your heart. You may want to visualize a soft, pastel light or coolness pervading the chest. Let your breath go in and out, and as it does, ask your heart what it needs to say. Don’t phrase this as an order . . . just have the faint intention that you want your heart to express itself.
For the next five or ten minutes, sit and listen. Your heart will begin to release emotions, memories, wishes, fears, and dreams long stored inside. As it does, you will find yourself paying attention.
You may experience a flash strong emotion – positive or negative – or an ancient memory. Your breathing may shift. You may sigh or feel tears come into your eyes. Let the experience be what it is. If you daydream or drift off into sleep, don’t worry. Just bring your attention back to your heart center.
Whether your heart speaks to you in sadness or fear, delight or pleasure, its message is exactly what you need. If voices of anger, worry, or doubt start to arise, allow them to speak and then let them go, easily and comfortably. You are learning to be with your heart in order to heed its spiritual meaning.
As you practice this meditation, spending a few minutes each day to connect to your heart center, you will begin to get glimpses of your heart as it really is: silence, peace, a warm glow, or subtle light. Even if these glimpses are fleeting, you will find that your life outside of meditation is starting to change. At unexpected moments, you will feel a wave of joy and well-being sweep over you. You will begin to walk with more buoyancy in your step.
These are signs that the constriction most people hold around the heart center is releasing its grip, letting go of the fear and tightness that keep spirit from entering. In truth, spirit doesn’t enter since it is always there. But making contact with it is like being penetrated with light and insight; this is the flow of love. This is the experience of wholeness.