Meditation: Love Is All There Is

This is a post about the meditation I am doing on love.  But before we get to the redeemable side of my character, I need to make a detour.  To my snarky side.

Snarky me wants to say one thing: for months back in 2005 I was acutely disappointed that I didn’t know where to buy those yellow rubber Livestrong bracelets.  Once, I even tried to slip one off the wrist of a colleague who had over-imbibed Johnny Walker Red.  However, while he was too drunk to find the urinal, he was not too drunk to make a fist and prevent me from stealing his bracelet.

So, I never got one of those bracelets, and today, I am vindicated.  Also, Mammalingo says that Lance Armstrong is going to have to either (1) pay back the U.S. Postal Service or (2) start delivering mail on his bicycle in his old uniform.  The fact that any of this makes me happy is proof that I need to be meditating on love early and often.

I have been flirting with meditation for years, which is a by-product of being a spiritual seeker.  Oh, and also surviving a nasty eating disorder and then working the 12-steps that suggest that one make use of “prayer and meditation” to recover from that soul sickness.  Whatever.

Anyway, I decided to get serious about it again recently, because my mind was getting bogged down with all the bad news.  You know exactly what I am talking about, right?  My brain was starting to warp from all the negativity.  If I saw sunlight beaming through a majestic leafless tree, I would immediately start fretting about the environmental catastrophe we are inexorably headed towards.  If I had a wonderful day with my kids painting surreal pictures of Spiderman riding dolphins, my mind would step in and whisper, “something horrible is probably going to happen soon, either here or in Syria.”

I couldn’t take it anymore.

Medication wasn’t the answer, because I am already medicated, and it didn’t feel like a somatic problem. It felt like a soul problem.

So naturally I turned to my guru, Anne Lamott, whose recent memoir Some Assembly Required, offered some spiritual direction.  Besides reminding me that I am not the only one suffering from a mind that runs amok on an egocentric and fear-based course, Lamott referred often to her own meditation.  One of her chants is now my mantra.

Baba nam kevalam (Sanskrit for “love is all there is”).

It’s simple and soothing, if a little hard to believe on a gut level.  And, after three weeks, I am still trying to memorize the Sanskrit words.  Seems like I should have mastered that by now, but it’s slow to sink in.

I use it even if I am saying the wrong words.  When I am suffocating on a crowded train, I do my best. Sometimes I say “baba lama keva” or “nam nam baba” but it still works, because I know what I am trying to say: “love is all there is.”

And you know what? I am starting to see more love. Everywhere.  When the tsunami of fear threatens, I start repeating my chant, because I don’t want to be swallowed by darkness.  I am starting to build muscles stronger than my fear ones.  Each time I attempt the chant, I surrender a little more to the fact that the world is a horrible, dangerous place for so many people. But for the moments I am concentrating on Baba nam kevalam, I create a little more space for love.  Because even if it’s not all there is, it certainly is a part.  And I want to do my part to make that part a little bigger.

Baba nam kevalam.


23 thoughts on “Meditation: Love Is All There Is

    • It’s so much more fun to be snarky in some shallow way, but it’s like having cotton candy for dinner….it just doesn’t work long-term.

      On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 9:12 AM, Outlaw Mama

  1. This post gave me chills and put tears in my eyes. It is the quintessential Outlaw Mama in my mind – snarky, funny, and naturally skeptical, but eternally looking for, and working towards, the extraordinary. Thank you. This was beautiful to read.

  2. I’ve been flirting on and off w/ meditation for about 14 years myself. I find when I do it wholeheartedly and consistently, it. . .wait for it. . .works! You might want to check out the book “One Moment Meditation” by Martin Boroson. It’s really helped me a lot, again, when I actually use it.

  3. Love this 🙂

    You might already be doing this, but I would take it a step further. Instead of just thinking about love generally when you’re in irritating situations, think about whatever is irritating you and love THAT thing. Love the crowded train because public transportation is amazing and it’s so wonderful that so many people are able to take advantage of it. Love the grumpy old veteran who gave you shit about your parking job, because he served his country and maybe he was just having a bad day and all of us go through that sometimes and you really hope he feels better. Love your annoying boss because… oh wait, you’ve already got that covered 😉

    Seriously, though, it’s remarkable how quickly it will make you feel better. And then, if you’re me, you’ll even start to feel guilty for being bothered by something so trivial when there are so many bigger problems in the world. And then you’ll start to beat yourself up. And then you have to do the hardest thing of all: love yourself.

    • Wow. I know you are right. It sounds transformative to view the world this way. And so worth it. Maybe I’ll try next time we are in target melting down! And self love…. Yes please.

  4. My friend, we are kindred “spiritual seekers.” I just finished a book that I recommend you read. While I’m still trying to swallow all that it suggests, the premise of the book is precisely this: that there is nothing else but love. I just finished the book on the plane ride home from NYC, so you can imagine how your blog post struck me (in a good way). The book is titled Loyalty To Your Soul: The Heart of Spiritual Psychology by Drs. H. Ronald Hulnick and Mary Hulnick. It was given to me by a dear friend at precisely the time I needed it the most. In fact, it’s inspired some posts in me for the next few weeks.

  5. I like your idea better. When I get overwhelmed by, and panicked in the face of, all the scary things (from people, from chemicals, from what-ifs) I retreat. I focus on being present and on reading and on extra sleep. (Five hours a night is pathetic, but 5.5 is “extra”.)
    I’ve been meaning to add meditation to my list.
    Except I promised to be present and have fewer lists.

  6. Pingback: Gardening as Meditation «

  7. If this is your idea of a crappy post, you need a reality check, sister. And as I am now the self-proclaimed purveyor of post worthiness, I’ll send you links to posts that qualify as crappy. This ain’t one! I’m in need of some “bama bama lama” in my life also. And some caffeine to keep me awake as I meditate (but never as I read your writing!).

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