Ordinary life does not provide much experience of this state of experiencing what it means to abolish all the divisions that keep people apart. We are conditioned never to forget that “me” and “not me” are different, with one notable exception: falling in love.
To fall head over heals in love is to share your self with another. The ego’s barriers fall for a time, and the lover and his beloved agree that they have merged into one identity. For as long as the enchantment lasts, one feels the other’s emotions, breathes the other’s breath. There is an invincible sense of union that makes being alone too painful to endure.
In our culture, we tend to dismiss this union as a passing psychological illusion and probably unhealthy if prolonged much beyond the first flush of courtship. The yogis, however, would say that there is no reason why a person cannot have two perspectives on himself, one local (the self) and the other universal (the Self).
A yogi adopts both perspectives at once. He has stabilized his awareness of the Self without losing the self. An intense feeling of love accompanies this new state, but unlike falling in love, the yogi’s merging does not depend upon another person, even a beloved. He merges with everything, including it all in his Self. Once he can see everything as part of his identity, there is no isolated “me “ to defend. Love is all that remains.
A person living in the Self feels intimately connected to others, not because he is skillful at the usual give-and-take of a good relationship, but because he gives everything of himself. He holds nothing back, and therefore he flows effortlessly beyond the boundaries of his isolated self. Could this be our natural state?
Adapted from Unconditional Life: Discovering the Power to Fulfill Your Dreams, by Deepak Chopra (A Bantam Book, 1991).