The keys to the kingdom
By Sanjiv Ranjan
When we release the forces that throttle love and mire our lives in a wasteland, we will inherit the love that is our birthright, says Sanjiv Ranjan
“At the immortal touch of thy hands
My little heart loses its limits in joy
And gives birth to utterance ineffable
Thy infinite gifts come to me
Only on these very small hands of mine
Ages pass and still thou pourest
And still there is room to fill . . .”
In all the years that I have spent in healing people, underlying every projected issue which people seek help for . . .is the dilemma of love, love which has eluded, love which has confused.
No matter what the problem is, the central knot is always the one where love lies in shreds, where the threads that wove it once upon a time, lie broken and entangled with each other.
It could be a health issue, a performance issue, a success issue or a relationship issue. But in the end, if therapy is allowed to go deep enough, like a surgeon’s exploring incisive knife . . . one finds an empty heart.
A grey and wet Christmas evening, long ago, a silent reticent woman walked into my office, for healing. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. But she did not want to spend the rest of her life in the open coffin of a bed, gazing endlessly at a whirring ceiling fan, lulling her into an artificial life-draining, mind- numbing sleep, which never came fully, and never left fully.
She was fully aware of the implications of being on lifelong medication. She believed that there was a deeper purpose to her life, one which she had strayed away from, and perhaps the madness which gripped her from time to time was actually life’s benevolence to push her to put together her fragmented selves, so that she could live again.
As we went deep into the innermost recesses of her mind, we discovered that the madness she had succumbed to was just an overwhelming, unbearable need to be loved, just the way she wanted to be loved.
Once she recognised this, and began to accept the emptiness of her heart, the betrayals that she experienced began to surface one by one. As each one of them surfaced, she moved into absolution and learned to let go. Slowly, she began to heal. Her fragmented selves began to integrate. And when wholeness finally flooded her inner world, it drew love into her life. Her need for medication had reduced drastically by the time therapy ended.
Her story is the story of mankind. The story of each one of us who go through life, trying to distract ourselves from the blazing emptiness we hold within.
Why is the heart empty?
Was it meant to be so?
If love is the fabric which holds the universe together, then why is it so difficult to hold on to it?
The answers to these seminal questions are not so easy. But there are clues which have revealed themselves in the course of therapy, which can help you to explore the mysteries of love, to revel and overflow in them, in the depth which is required to live it.
For this you need to know some of the truths that determine your life experiences.
Love: Mystery in mind, magic in heart
The truth is that there are two dimensions which rule your world. They lie superimposed upon each other. And both of them follow different rules. You can choose to exist in either of them. But you have to choose. You cannot exist in them simultaneously, or divide yourself into two parallel lines, one which lives in each realm . . . because these two realms are not just terrains which you can traverse . . . they are kingdoms.
One is the kingdom of the Mind, a land watered by rivers which are finite. And the other is the kingdom of the Heart, where the infinite ocean of milk resides, which can quench your heart as well as satiate your hunger, which can nurture you in every way that you need to be nurtured, just like your mother’s milk sustained you in the early years of infancy.
The secret lies in understanding the way they exist . . . in the way they function, and the fact that their fullness is inversely proportional to each other.
An empty heart indicates a full mind
Fullness of the mind has gripped mankind to the extent that it has become an epidemic which is going unrecognised because everyone is afflicted by this grave disease.
Why has fullness of the mind gripped humanity so terminally?
The answer lies in the textbooks which teach everything but love.
Fullness happens in a mind where education does not recognise that the ‘child of man’ is a holistic union of the body-mind, and that there is a soul which breathes life into his existence. The soul can be nurtured only through heart-based responses to life.
Education that predominantly nurtures and strengthens the faculty of thought and reason at the cost of feelings, intuition, and an understanding of the true purpose of the human endeavour, does not allow heart-based intelligence to flower. And when the intelligence of the heart is not allowed to flower, there is no fragrance in life. There is no cognition of love, because love is subtle, and the mind only knows how to recognise that which is gross.
When this happens, thoughts rule. And thoughts are virtual whirlpools whose eddying currents constantly engage your senses as well as your energy in the onerous task of just staying afloat.
The child of man, right from the moment he is born, is dragged into a system which fortifies the mind with knowledge, with language, with societal rules and the imperative to earn a living. So there is practically no energy left which can flow into the heart, allowing a child to experience its gifts, gifts which are not man-made, but existential.
Love: to be learnt by heart
Love is an existential gift and it is present in your heart. But you cannot realise it, you cannot make it real, if you continue to irrigate your mind recklessly and leave the heart’s soil barren, devoid of any moisture.
Life loves you. It simply wants you to stay alive. And so as a survival mechanism, it breathes all its energy into your mind so that it does not collapse under the tremendous burden it is carrying. As a result your heart remains bereaved of all life-force energy.
There are four forces which overburden your mind and give birth to emptiness within the heart:
1. The yearning for attention
2. The compulsive need to judge things as right or wrong
3. The incisive need to blame someone else for the way we are feeling
4. A lack of understanding of the true nature of the Self
Understanding these factors completely will set your mind free from the extensive burden it carries and allow the life-force energy to flow into your heart . . . so that the desert you have created can turn into an oasis, where the beloved traveller can stop and sip water to quench thirst.
The need for attention
The need for attention is the first crutch that the mind clings to. This happens because the mind is soulless. And because the mind does not have a soul there is nothing which connects it to that which is infinite and eternal. There is nothing which can carry it to another shore. The mind can only exist in the realm of the finite. And the finite cannot be infinite. And because it cannot be infinite, it is insecure.
Insecurity gives birth to control. And control paralyses you. You perceive anything which cannot be controlled as dangerous. And this illusion of danger arises because you have not aligned yourself with the Infinite.
The resultant severance of your umbilical connection with the Source renders you powerless. You have no power within you. There is no light within you. You grope around in the darkness within you.
And so you begin to seek attention. Attention is light from outside. The moment someone (it could be one or many depending upon how much light you seek, and how deep is the darkness) gives you attention you feel powerful.
Light from outside can brighten up your path for a short while but can’t illuminate your life’s journey. So you devise more and more ways in which you can garner more attention, so that you can get more likes. The more likes you have, the greater becomes the fullness within your mind, and the deeper is the emptiness within your heart.
But your heart is where you are connected to the great light which created this universe. It is your birthright. There is a brilliant, dazzling light that exists within you, behind your closed eyes. You can actually see it, if you look long enough.
But you are happier with the outer lights. You are happy with the star dust that falls into your eyes, and gives you an illusion of light within you. The more you seek attention from others, the more refuge you take in their mind instead of living in your own home – which is your heart. And the more you will want to control the way they see you.
In the end, you will render yourself a slave to the need to be liked by them. The man who sought control so that he could be the master begins to live like a slave. The drama keeps getting more vicious as the mind creates more and more loops. And every loop is a potential noose with which love hangs itself within you. And you are left with nothing but emptiness within.
So what is the solution?
The solution as always . . . lies in dissolution.
You have to understand that your need for attention is a search for light. You need to dissolve the search for light outside you. Indeed, light is the biggest stabilising force in the universe. But if it resides outside you your centre of gravity moves outside, and you topple. You fall.
You need to let go of your need for attention. When you let go of your need to get attention, you flow into your heart.
So let us begin with letting go of the need for attention.
Exercise – Letting go of attention – seeking behaviour
Take a paper and pencil and reflect with your eyes closed.
Think about the word attention seeking. And see what images your mind conjures up.
Watch all the images which emerge within your mind and write them down.
Once you have written them down reflect upon them.
Make a solemn promise to yourself to let them go. Commit yourself to it by being aware and each time you find yourself seeking attention, ask yourself: Why am I doing this, when it is talking me away from the kingdom of love?
The moment you question your own behaviour . . . you begin to transform.
The horizon beyond judgment is where the soul of love resides. Life’s harvest is reaped when the weed of judgement is uprooted. There is a very beautiful line by the poet Rumi: “Out beyond right and wrong . . . there is a field. Come, I will meet you there.”
The field that Rumi refers to is the heart. Right and wrong belong to the realm of the mind. There is no absolute right and wrong, because right and wrong are decisions made by the individual subconscious mind.
To understand how right and wrong are born we need to understand the nature of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind lies underneath your conscious mind. Your conscious mind is what you are aware of. Your subconscious mind is what you are only partially aware of. It can also be called ‘the unconscious’ which is not different from the subconscious, except as a matter of gradients.
The unconscious mind is a deeper aspect of the subconscious. The deeper you percolate, the greater is the darkness . . . the forgetfulness.
And the function of the subconscious is that it acts as a data processing unit. It uses feelings as the rudder which decides which compartment an event shall go to, so that it can be stored as reference points for the future.
Anything which evoked a painful feeling is labelled wrong, and anything which evoked pleasure to a certain degree, it marks as right. Thus right and wrong become very individual, because they involve feelings. Feelings are always intensely personal. And it’s divine grace to have feelings, which are uniquely yours, truly yours.
But the problem arises when you begin to impose your rights and wrongs on other people, and mark it as a reflection of who they are. And that is when the faculty turns into a curse.
You try and rule over other lives and each time you pronounce a judgment, rebellion is what you receive. And rebellion needs a strategy, so that its insurgent tides ebb.
Strategies flood you with thoughts of all kinds. You plan. You draw lines. You reprimand. You discard. In the whole process, once again your mind becomes full. It engages your vital energies, and leaves none flowing into your heart. Vital energies are moist. Lack of vital energies imply that there is no moisture in your heart. There is no dew on the grass.
There is nothing but life’s intense heat and the burning rays of the sun which seems to be harsh. Ironically, the sunshine which was vital for your life becomes something that you have to take shelter from. You rebel against the sun, you seek protection, you draw the curtains or simply turn a blind eye to it.
Move away from the shores of right and wrong to enter the sea of love.
Rebellion kills the revolution which love could bring into your heart. Don’t rebel, instead revel in your heart. Let your emotions, your feelings reveal to you, what your thoughts have always concealed. Let there be sunshine reflecting on the moist morning dew of your heart’s soil, making your life fertile with joyous love.
And to find that magical sea of love, you have to move away from the shores of right and wrong. You need to introduce something very simple, yet extraordinary in its implications, into your life. You need to live from a blazing emotional honesty.
Each time you feel wronged, instead of sitting on a throne and passing a judgment on the other, you need to go within yourself and ask yourself – Why does what is happening between us, bring pain to me?
Most of the times you will discover that the pain stems from unawareness, and an unwillingness to accept the diversity of life.
Diversity is the essence of creation. It is the essence of nature. Nature loves diversity, that is why its ability to create is infinite. Nature can create anything. Her powers to create are infinite.
When you acknowledge the infinity principle, you become more tolerant towards diversity and you set your mind free from judgment. You set yourselves free. You empty your mind. The moment your mind becomes empty, it expands. It embraces infinite possibilities.
You set your life-force energy free. Once freed from your mind, the only place where your life-force energy can plunge into, is your heart. It races to your heart, and floods it with an awareness of the physical substance which is love. Love is real. And you can feel it as physical presence when it surfaces from within you.
To allow it to surface, you just have to embrace diversity. You have to accept diversity not just as tolerance, or a compulsion but with choice. You have to rejoice in it, get completely absorbed in it, drown in it, soak in it, completely immerse into it. You have to revel in it and include everything in it, the diversity of thought, the diversity of action, the diversity of attitudes, philosophy, faith and behaviour.
When you embrace diversity, positive energy gushes into your heart so much so that your heart will actually overflow into all your senses and make them vibrantly alive. All it requires is a little awareness.
Exercise – Releasing Judgement to touch Love
Right now you can choose to think of 10 things which you find horribly wrong.
Write them down on paper. Look at them intensely as you write.
Then slowly allow yourself to accept that if they exist they were meant to exist, because the universe would never create anything vestigial.
The appendix was considered vestigial. It had no function. The pineal gland was considered vestigial. It had no known function. But in the last 50 years it has been understood that their functions are vital. So even if you do not understand the purpose of something which seems wrong in your life today, you will someday understand how it was a blessing in disguise. That somehow it served you. In exactly the way the universe wanted it to, because the universe is expanding. It wants to carry you into the expansion. For that it shall push you, to the edge of everything that you believe is right, until you encounter something which you believe is wrong. And it will push you until you have included that as part of the miracles which define creation.
Remember, it is only at the edge that the flight begins.
So look at the list carefully, the list of those ten wrongs that you wrote about.
Now visualise your mind expanding and including them, allowing them to exist just the way they are, just where they are, in exactly the way they are.
And if you do this exercise honestly and intensely, in the days to come, you shall begin to feel a shift in the dimensions which breathe within you.
You shall experience the presence of a deeper love in your heart.
Blame blocks love
Blame is a lethal sword. Most of the time, it falls with an incisive precision and destroys a relationship faster than an electric saw, which goes through the trunk of a living breathing tree. What it leaves in its wake are two dead logs.
Love enters into your life to teach you how to rise above the destructive energy of blame. But you cannot ascend until you understand the dynamics which govern its presence in your mind. For that to happen, you need to understand why your mind seeks refuge in blame, so often.
What is blame?
Blame is the shifting of responsibility from the self to the other in the face of a challenge.
Each time you feel challenged and you cannot cope with the challenge, you will desperately seek someone whom you can blame for what is happening within you. But life will challenge you. Love will challenge you .. . because both life and love seek your growth. They seek your evolution.
There is another deeper essence to the challenges which come your way, when you first fall into the domain of love. When love first appears before you, it is just a seed. And if that seed were to remain a seed it would shrivel up and die. The seed has to become a plant. It has to move into an intense flowering. To sprout, a seed needs pressure, forces from outside have to act on it, forces like the moist loving earth which compresses it.
It is against this very, compressive bearing down pressure of the earth, that it rises . . . just like a kite which rises only when the wind is against it. It ascends along the wall of the current that does not allow it to move horizontally.
But the problem arises when the pressure is not celebrated. You do not rejoice in the pressure. By not rejoicing in it, you succumb to it. When you succumb, you want to put the blame on the other. Instead of allowing expansion, you shrivel. And slowly after years of shrivelling, you begin to harden. Because it makes you feel small.
Hence it is very vital that when in love, you accept pressure as a benevolent force. Because it is not the beloved, but life pressing down upon what is as yet only a seed in you. And it is in response to the yearning within you to unfold and grow, to break out from the darkness under the earth and reach out to the sky.
A tree grows because it has yearned for the sky. The yearning lends fragrance to its flowers, and sweetness to its fruit.
When you withdraw the sword of blame and accept the pressures of love with grace … even sorrow becomes sweet.
Love takes you into a deeper high. And all it takes is – to live in awareness and make a conscious choice to never let the sword of blame fall on the neck of the beloved. It is the highest ideal of love . . . to protect the one you love . . . from the daggers of your own mind.
There is a beautiful exercise which can cleanse your being and make it soft and pliable, like rain-drenched soil, so that love can grow within you and become a powerful tree, with roots that are anchored deep into the bosom of existence. Do it as often as you can, if you wish to enter love’s paradise and stay in it happily ever after!
Exercise – Undoing the knots of blame to tie up with Love
The moment you catch yourself in an overwhelming temptation to put the blame on the beloved, stop.
Hold it back.
Let go of it.
Say to yourself . . . I accept this pressure with grace.
I allow it to help me to expand and embrace infinity.
Love can only survive in the eternal, the infinite.
Love is your birthright
Now that you have emptied your mind, you need to shift to a realisation which will contribute to the fullness in your heart, and that is the realisation of who you are.
A realisation of ‘who you are’ is the only miracle in this universe which can bring you home.
It is said that Jesus once healed a blind man. He gave him sight. A few years later when he passed by the village again, he found him lying inebriated in a brothel, in a state of abject misery.
Jesus felt sad. The miracle of the Christ had restored the man’s sight but he had no vision, which could tell him where he was heading.
Nobody can gift you vision. Vision can only be found when you align with the sacredness of who you are.
People seek healing all the time for the things which they do not have. A couple may desperately want to be blessed with a child because they are having difficulty in having one. The miracle takes place. The child is born. But the child then becomes the curse. It becomes the entity which tears the couple apart. And the misery continues, unabated. Reasons change. Seasons change. But unhappiness continues. It is continuously projected outwards.
This inner misery and its outward projection will never stop until you seek the miracle of Self-realisation.
Man is no longer man. That is why he is fast turning himself into a machine. And a machine can never love.
Man has forgotten that he is the Son of God. And unless the realisation permeates the depth of his being, love can never stay in his life. It shall just be a fleeting visitor, a bubble in the air, a dearly loved fantasy which can never be lived. Or fulfilled.
Self-realisation is the simplest experience in this universe. It is as simple as it is profound. But you have to work towards it. You have to make it the most important pursuit in your life.
You have to pursue it with every breath.
At each breath you have to remind yourself that you are the light of this world. It is the simplest thing you can do if you want to enter love’s kingdom, because love is God, and His kingdom is yours by legacy, by virtue of the fact that you belong to Him. You have His flesh and blood.
And when you do this, when you remind yourself again and again that you are the pure light of love, that love is who you are, that love is what you breathe, see, feel, sense, taste and hear, you will experience the great outpouring. Like a spring of fresh water in an otherwise arid desert.
The beloved will turn into God. And love will become the only form of worship that your heart knows. The boat which was empty, will sip the nectar of life from the waters it floats over, and the rush of air that caresses it will take it to another shore.
The life will stir within you breathing in love unbound and joy infinite. Life will become a celestial symphony which sways to the dance of your virgin soul. You will touch the ecstasy which comes from being celebrated by the very force which created this universe and life will love you with the fierce intensity, which is your birthright.