Unlocking Love through Yoga: The Mind's Role Explained

Discover the pivotal role of the mind in accessing divine love as taught by yoga philosophy.

The profound teachings of yoga philosophy reveal the mind as the gateway to experiencing and embodying divine love.

This is the second message in the series, Love Loves Love: On Fulfilling Relationships and the Soul Life. The lessons focus on being more skillful in relationships by acknowledging the One in all, lighting up your mind with divine remembrance, learning how to let go and forgive, and letting love lead the way.



The Art of Divine Connection

The previous message in this series focused on divine love in relationships—the essential insight we need to foster healthy, happy relationships. The short version of that lesson is: God is our Life, and God is Love. This context indicates Love in its highest expression as ever conscious, compassionate, and unconditional.

As God is love, the very essence of life, we are never without this divine support. Since divine love is innate to us, we can cultivate divine love in our thoughts, words, and actions. Cultivating divine love is a way of returning to our true Self. The only way to have love is to bring it forth by being it. Because divine love already exists, we can’t create it. We cannot get love, demand it, or control it. We can only be the love that we already are and offer it. That is how we get to experience it in the highest way.

"If the practice of yoga does not result in love and desire for God-realization, it is not yoga."

—Lahiri Mahasaya

The Mind as the Key to Divine Love

This lesson explores what it means to open to divine love. If we acknowledge that God is love and that love is unconditional, omnipresent, not created, and not an effect of something we do, but always available, then it must be for us to learn how to be open to it and become instruments of it.

Opening to Love: Insights from Yoga Wisdom

Yoga philosophy and wisdom traditions tell us that the mind is the key to opening to love. Our mind can be an open door to the light of love as the divine Self within us, or it can be an underground tunnel that takes us into the egoic darkness of scarcity and fear. Through the mind, our awareness either flows toward divine remembrance or forgetfulness.

Navigating Life with Yoga: A Teaching from the Gospel of Matthew

There is a teaching story in the Christian Bible, the gospel of Matthew, about the disciples who get lost in forgetfulness and get caught up in fear. It is a repeating story (and a repeating story for us). It occurs in the Gospel of Matthew in Chapter 8 and another version in Chapter 14. The disciples witnessed Jesus perform miracles—healing the sick, raising the dead, and feeding five thousand with a few loaves and fishes. At the end of the day, the disciples get into a ship with their teacher to travel to the other side of the lake. Jesus is tired after his long day at the miracle factory, so he lays down to get some sleep. Then what happens? The storms come, and wind assails the boat. The disciples are afraid they will perish. They call out to him, save us!

Matthew 8.23-27: Then he got into the boat, and his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a furious storm came up on the lake so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

When we approach this story as an allegory, a metaphysical teaching about the mind, we find a familiar reminder about the power of awakened consciousness to save us from fear.

The lake represents consciousness, and the boat indicates various levels of mind and awareness. Jesus reveals the Christ mind illumined by truth and the disciples demonstrate the ordinary mind tossed by the winds of doubt, worry, and fear. Even when they have just witnessed the miraculous nature of life, they become distracted by the wave-like motions of thought activity in the mental field.

Light Up Your Mind with Divine Remembrance

Learn how to be more skillful in relationships by acknowledging the One in all, lighting up your mind with divine remembrance, learning how to let go and forgive, and letting love lead the way.


Conscious Attention: The Pathway to Divine Love

The effect of where we choose to put our attention is not difficult to observe or understand. We know what it is like when we are anchored in the heart of Self-knowledge when we are aware of love as the very ground of our being, and we know what it is like when we stray from that awareness and get tangled up in worry, anger, fear, or jealousy. We know the experience of being tossed by the winds of change.

Yet it can be challenging to be observant or vigilant about where our awareness is heading before it gets there. We tend to get distracted, lose touch with ourselves, and move through the activity and interactions of our day without “tuning in” to the love station, without turning inward and becoming Self-aware (remembering the higher Self). Anytime we become Self-aware, love is there because it is what we are.

Choosing Our Mental Soundtrack: Harmonizing Thoughts with Love

To light up our mind, we must pay attention to what we are tuning into. What are we allowing to capture our awareness? Thinking mind is like a radio station that plays talk shows, reality shows, music, movies, or CSpan. Something is always on those airwaves. Tune in. Find out what is occupying your mind or running in the background. If it is not useful, we can change the channel by changing the focus of our attention.

I have not needed to subscribe to Spotify because I am my own Spotify. Songs arise in my mind all the time. Usually, they support divine remembrance, but sometimes they do not. When what is playing in our head is not supportive of truth, doesn’t bring more clarity or peace, and is not conducive to love, it’s essential to notice. It could be a song, a conversation, a random thought stream, a memory, or a planning session. Notice. Change it if needed.

Yoga's Path of Pratipaksha Bhavana: Transformative Thinking

In yoga practice, this is called pratipaksha bhavana. This practice is noticing and reflecting on what is not useful or in opposition to the dharmic restraints and observances, then cultivating the opposite. Changing the direction of the stream of thought is a mental discipline that makes a different impression. It can change our feeling and our attitude. It makes the mind more luminous—more receptive to inspiration and awareness of love.

What is needed to continually return to love? A commitment. A commitment to live intentionally, to be mindful of the opportunity to awaken to Love each day. Be aware of how quickly time passes and refuse to put off what we know has heart and meaning or what is most important.

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of my spiritual teacher, Roy Eugene Davis. The fifth anniversary of his passing on March 27, 2019, is coming up in a couple of weeks. I will be in India on that day. I will have the opportunity to honor the occasion in the holy city of Varanasi, the abode of spiritual ancestors in our Kriya tradition. I often think about how my teacher was love in expression. He was not outwardly emotive or sentimental, yet his commitment to serve all was a profound experience of love to witness and receive. He often said that Kriya Yoga is Karma Yoga—meaning that the goal of Kriya Yoga as Self- and God-realization naturally culminates in selfless service. It also culminates in love and in becoming love. The two are inseparable.

Lahiri Mahasaya said, If the practice of yoga does not result in love and desire for God-realization, it is not yoga.

I’ll conclude with a prose piece about the opportunity to be aware of love and the time we have to love while we are here.

How much time do I have to love you?

As the beach fog begins to clear this morning, I see a young man in a black hoodie with baggy camouflage pants piled up at the ankles like train cars that stopped too fast and came to rest on his bright white sneakers. He is walking the shoreline with an older man in tailored black pants, a gray wool tweed jacket, and a black felt hat with a brim. They walk together slowly with a steady pace. Then the young man walks a step ahead, stops, turns, takes out his phone, moves back close in, and angles his face toward his companion. He holds one arm around the old man to steady him and stretches forth the other to capture the moment. He takes the photo and then holds it up for them both to see. The older man nods and places his hand gently in the middle of the young man’s back, the hidden side of the heart.

They turn and walk on. Their stride is in sync, for now, their cadence a stroll. The young man’s gait is lighter, as if his feet naturally spring from the sand; the old man’s feet, weighted with time, barely lift as he steadily pushes forward until they are both out of sight.

The tenderness of their walk raises the question: how much time do I have to love you?

I see them again at noon when they walk back. This time slower, the young man, with his right arm bent, held close to his body, the elder with his left arm laced in. Together, they walk, arm in arm, slowly disappearing from view.

How much time do I have to love you?

My guru’s answer to that question was — eternally. “I can always love you and bless you, wherever you are in time and space,” he said.

Those were his last words to me. That was his commitment.

Instruction for my heart: Listen. What is more powerful than that? To hear, to know, to remember, you are loved and blessed always.

Remember you are Love.

Now, love. It is time.

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