Staying Dry in a River of Love...

Alternative titles:

How to Stay Dry In the River of Love, or...
It's Raining Love and My Cup's Upside Down, or...
Channeling the River of Love Without Getting Wet


You can listen to and download the full guided meditation by clicking here.

One of the most profound meditations we have been given for the Pathways Spiritual Approach is called "Resting Into the Heart of God." All of our meditation and spiritual practices start here or, as we say, start with the heart.


One of the great gifts of this particular practice is that it starts with opening the back of the heart chakra rather than the front. This tends to be much a much easier process to initiate than opening the front of the heart chakra first.


In most of heart practices I've done over many years of spiritual study, the focus has always been on opening the front of the heart center or chakra. Anyone who has done this kind of meditation knows how challenging this practice can be. Why? Well, it's not uncommon to have a lot of protection over the front of our heart from love's hurts and bruises, so that to open our heart is counter-intuitive. It feels like opening ourselves up to more hurt. Another reason is that opening the heart from the front tends to bring into our awareness our "heart karma," that is, all the unprocessed or repressed heart wounds that we've numbed and stored behind our heart, out of sight.


In the meditation "Resting Into the Heart of God" we work first to open the back aspect of the heart chakra and rest back into the Great Universal Heart, or Heart of God (you may substitute the terms Heart of Jesus, Buddha Heart, etc., as is appropriate to your own tradition). Based on the natural flow of energy between magnetic poles in the Figure Eight, this process leads, over time, to a profound and palpable sense of resting into a source of Great love and compassion. In this, ones own personal heart is supported, cleansed, and cleared of many of our stored hurts and our heart defenses, and the front of our heart quite naturally opens because of this greater support from the energy behind us.


There is so much to be said about this profound and central process, but for this blog I want to speak of one of my own experiences with this meditation, and how it rather humorously revealed one of my own curious spiritual impediments. To this day, I have to laugh at myself for the clever way my fears and my emotional issues can co-opt my spiritual practice.


Through all my years of seeking spiritual experience one of my central desires has been to have a real, palpable experience of God's love. Yes, I know desire is supposed to be one of the great blocks to spirituality. But, actually, desire is one of the great paradoxes of spirituality. Without desire we would never do the ridiculous and often hard work of even pursuing a spiritual path. Yet true spirituality means that we must in some way release and transcend desire. Right? So which is it? Desire or no desire?


I've been taught that once you are in the realm of the paradoxical you have transcended the rational realm. So this paradoxical question tells me that at least I'm on the right track. The answer, of course, is that both are true. Desire like crazy, then yield.


The meditation "Resting Into the Heart of God" began to give me a real experience of God's love for the first time. It was, in no small way, an answer to my prayers. And as my heart was increasingly cleared by this practice and the deep flow of loving energy filled my heart from behind, the front aspect of my heart center began to open in a way I had not experienced before. How? Deeper, bigger, yet less personal. Less about my heart and more about being kind of an aperture or conduit for the energy of God's love to flow through my heart into the manifest world.


Pretty good stuff, right? Especially for a guy, and this is an understatement, whose heart had been pretty well defended through much of my life. So this was really potent stuff for me, to really feel God's love at last. So good, in fact, that I did not suspect that it would reveal the tricky way in which I still kept my heart closed.


One day Carol and I were doing practices preparatory to leading one of our spiritual retreats. We were each practicing meditations we would be using in the retreat, which included "Resting Into the Heart of God," while the other person generated the energy field of the chakra involved in the particular meditation. Like meditating in a group field, this allowed each of us a deeper meditation than we could obtain alone.


Carol did this for me as I practiced the meditation "Resting Into the Heart of God" and I became deeply absorbed into that great and heart-full presence. As the magnetism of that Great Heart, drew me more and more into it's embrace, it felt as if my own heart was being vacuumed clean of debris. Eventually, there was less and less sense of difference between the energy of my heart and the energy of the Great Heart I was resting into.


Then, in the natural turn of the Figure Eight flow of energy, a great wash of loving energy began to pour forth from God's Heart behind me into the back of my heart center, filling my heart to the brim. Eventually, from the sheer fullness of loving energy, the front of my heart chakra bloomed open and this energy simply flowed out the front of my heart into the world.


A little of my mind was watching this and going, "Cool! Wow!" And similar profundities, while the rest of me was just absorbed in the flow of love: the love in which I was resting, the love that was flowing into and filling me, and the love that was flowing forth through my heart into the world.


I had a moment of deep recognition, which in retrospect is actually more like a "Duh! Haven't I been missing the obvious" It went something like, "Ah, this is God's love for Creation!" In all my years of spiritual seeking books and teachers had exclaimed the Creator's love for Creation. Even that Creation itself was an act of love. But in this moment it was not and idea or a spiritual philosophy. It was a palpable reality.


Tears streamed down my face as the obvious dawned on me. I felt my heart was barely open enough, just a tiny pin-hole compared to the immense love I could feel flowing from God's Heart behind me. And even that which was flowing through me was so much greater than my own tiny little heart could hold. A paradox again. How could my heart be so small yet the energy flowing through it be so, greater? Impossible. But also true.


For a while I just basked in the immense flow of of the Creator's love for Creation, and the return flow of Creations love for it's Creator. The aperture of my own heart gradually opened more to allow more and more of this love to flow through me. It was as if my heart became a portal for the Creator's love: the more open my own heart, the more of the Creator's love that could flow into the world. But...


But, but, but...


Whether it was what meditators would call "observer-consciousness" or, as I would personally deem it, one of my inner teachers getting my attention, something began to fuss at me about all this. It went something like this.


"So, you can feel God's great love for It's Creation?"


"Yes," I responded to my observer-teacher.


"And you can feel in a real and palpable how this Great Love for Creation pours through you into Creation?"


"Oh, yes! Finally, finally I can really feel it!" I gushed with enthusiasm and relief. Tears streamed down my face in the face of this wondrous energy. It was so obvious that this energy was unstinting and unconditional. There was a pause while my tears seemed to bloom my heart open even more than before.


"All of Creation?"


"Of course," I nodded in reply. It was so obvious from what I was experiencing.


" And, you are part of Creation, aren't you?"


"Well... of course I'm of Creation," I responded. At about this point in the dialogue I was getting just a wee bit suspicious. Something Was Up, if you know what I mean. Here I was in the midst of a Great Spiritual Experience, a river of love beyond my farthest imaginings, and I was getting interviewed by as if by some teacher at school who was leading me down the garden path until I came up with the obviously wrong answer.


"So you are just as much loved by the Creator as anything else in Creation, no more, no less?"


By this point, the logic was getting a bit remorseless. I had a sense that I knew just what this "voice" was driving at even though I was not yet about to give in to the point.


I reluctantly assented, "Well, I guess so..."


"So," the voice went on, "if you can feel God's love for Creation pouring through you, and you are part of this Creation that is loved, how come you yourself don't feel God's love for you?"


I could only respond with that most resonant of mantras suitable for profound spiritual acknowledgement.




I felt like a fly caught in it's own web. Here I was, all this love pouring through me feeling, and for the first time having a real sense of God's love for Creation, and yet somehow I cleverly managed to leave myself out of this reality.


I could be a conduit for this energy of love. Yes.


I could feel the palpable quality of love in the energy flowing through me. Yes.


I could feel by proxy, as it were, the Great Heart's love of all of Creation. Check.


Yet I didn't really feel myself to be included in that love. Ri-i-i-ght! Check. Ja. Correcto!


God forbid that I should let myself receive any of this love. Not in the rules. Talk about being in the ocean without getting wet!


Now, by this time I was laughing and laughing at my ploy and my plight. I opened my eyes briefly and saw Carol looking at me with a raised eyebrow, while she continued to hold the energy of the meditation for me. I shook my head and said "I'll tell her later," and returned to my inner experience still chuckling at my idiocy.


My greatest desire, to feel God's love, ran smack up against my greatest fear... that in some fundamental way I was not really worthy of love. I could feel and channel God's love in the service of others or of "the Universe," so long as I didn't apply it to myself and thus risk testing what I feared most to find.


Fortunately, it wasn't up to me. The clear reality of this palpable loving energy meant that I could have no doubt that this love was Absolute. Dammit, I too was loved! It was clear, in fact, that God loved all of Creation, in a way I personally could not. And I mean all of Creation. Sinners and saints; mothers and murderers; the whole shebang; the Big Lebowski. Me included. The nature of this love was so unconditional, and the reality of how small was my own fearful heart that my paltry separation was washed aside, at least for that moment, in that tremendous flow. Me too. No more and no less than anything else in God's Creation.


Laughter gave way to tears again, which gave way to both at the same time. It was really pretty simple as I let it be true. No big deal. Of course. Duh! A really big "Duh!"


At this point I opened my eyes and told Carol all about my experience, the inner School Marm, and my insight into the glaring obvious. It was, of course, no surprise to her how I had been cleverly leaving myself out. Friends often see a lot that we are blissfully or miserably ignorant of.


Needless to say, it's not a done deal. I'm still working on this. I suspect it may be a life work. It does confirm to me one of my firmest beliefs, though: Clearly God has a sense of humor since It created me, and just look! How funny.






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