Unit X. Descent into Life


1.  Return to the World
2.  Selfless Service
3.  Transformation vs Transcendence
4.  Finding Your Niche
5.  How to Live Without Boundaries
6.  Love as Healer
7.  How to Love
8.  Relationships

Materials needed: Journal

Books needed:

A Monk  in the World
The Heart’s Code
A General Theory of Love
The Intelligent Heart
The Biology of Transcendence
Fundamentals of Tibetan Mysticism
Essence of the Heart Sutra
The Heart Speaks


Selfless Service
The Intelligent Heart
Limbic Resonance
Love as Healer
How to Love
Heart-to-Heart Connections

Om Ah Hum
Freeze Frame
Rinzai’s Four-fold Contemplation
Limbic Resonance
Selfless Service
Unconditional Love

Return to theWorld After Liberation

You have probably guessed by now that liberation is not the end of the journey Home.  It is not enough to finally experience who we really are because the whole point of that identification is to express it in the world and to give Spirit a vehicle with which to do Its work.  The Divine One sees through our eyes, thinks with our minds and takes action with our hands and bodies.  If those activities are to bring love and benevolence into the world, we must surrender our beingness to the One who created us for that purpose.  By ourselves and because of our struggle to exist in the world through our egos only, as a group we are responsible for most of the negativity that we experience.  However, the struggle itself is a tool for our learning, so discovering how to use it wisely is part of the journey’s parameters.  Eventually, looking back on our lives, we may even come to feel gratitude for the pains because they have steered us in the right direction.


Throughout this series of guidebooks, we have followed the passage of Kundalini through the chakras to the crown of the head and enlightenment.  Now, we see that she, having united with her love, is willing to descend once again to the first chakra bringing the amrita of love to all the levels of consciousness.  Then she will come eventually to rest in the heart chakra.  Her descent is representative of the return to the world we are discussing.


The Tibetans offer a similar pattern.  Govinda (1982) offers a description of The Yoga of the Inner Fire.  In doing so, he groups the chakras into three zones: 1) terrestrial plane (chakras 1-3), 2) cosmic place (chakras 5-7), and 3) human plane of individual realization (chakra 4).  He says that the “. . Heart Centre mediates between the lower and the upper Centres and finally becomes the realm of realization on the human plane after the integration of the polar forces has taken place in the highest Centre” (pp 173-5).  His diagram on page 174 shows the ascending and descending movements of the inner fire within the ida, pingala and susumna nadiis.  You may remember the microcosmic orbit  practice in an earlier guidebook.  The patterns are almost identical.

Govinda (1982) then goes on to diagram the relationships between the centers, seed-syllables, elements and Dhyani-buddhas.  Here we find a clear pattern of ascent and descent from chakras one through seven and return to the heart center.  He shows how the mantra Om Ah Hum is specific to the descent and how it is related to the three bodies: Body, Speech, and Mind.  Om is the Bija for the crown center and Universal Body that is realized there.  Ah is the bija for the fifth chakra or throat center associated with creative Speech or mantra.  And Hum is the bija for the enlightened Mind in the heart center.  Notice that, here again, we find the location of the mind in the heart.

Practice: Om Ah Hum

Sit for meditation and, when you are ready, begin to hum with your mouth open.  Experiment until you find the pitch at which your whole throat, chest  and head vibrates.  You may use an instrument such as a piano if this helps.  This is your optimum pitch and the one you will use for the mantra.

Align your spine so it is upright and relaxed.  Do a few rounds of the microcosmic orbit:  breathing in at the third chakra, thence to the first, second, third, etc until you reach the crown (all one breath).  Hold your breath briefly at the crown allowing the light to enter through the top of your head.  Then exhale as you  descend to the third again.  Breathe in up the back of your body and out down the front of your body.  Feel the amrita descend with each exhalation.

Then begin to chant “Om, Ah, Hūm.”  The Hūm is pronounced as if it ended in the nasal “ng” (“hoong”).  With the “Om” visualize a light at the crown of your head.  As you proceed to “Ah” see the light move down into your throat and feel its vibrations there.  On “Hūm” continue moving the light down to the heart center, and hold the vibration there as long as you can.  Then see the light expand and move out from your body in all directions.  Take a full inhalation and exhalation before you begin again.  It may help to do each bija on a separate inhalation and exhalation until you get into the rhythm.  Or you can continue that way if it feels right.

Ox-herding Pictures

Another version of the Return can be found in the Zen ox-herding pictures which evolved in the 12th century in China.  My set can be found in The Inward Arc by FrancesVaughan (1986).  Or go to: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mzb/oxherd.htm .  
That set comes from The Manual of Zen Buddhism by  D.T. Suzuki which is taken from Shubun (15th Century).  I will briefly outline the ten stages (from Vaughan, 1985, 114-124), and you can follow up on your own for more information.

Stage One.  Seeking the ox.  The person becomes aware that there is a spiritual path and begins to look for it.

Stage Two.  Finding the tracks.  Seeker begns to study the wisdom teachings.

Stage Three.  First glimpse of the ox.  Shift of attention from esoteric teachings to direct experience.

Stage Four.  Catching the ox.  Difficulties of self-discipline and integration of it into one’s life.

Stage Five.  Taming the ox.  Subjecting ego to the Higher Self and mastery of the low subtle realms.

Stage Six.  Riding the ox home.  State of enlightenment and achievement of the higher subtle realm.

Stage Seven.  Ox forgotten, Self alone.  The two have become one.  soul is one with the deity and dissolves into It.

Stage Eight.  Both ox and Self forgotten.  Dharmakaya level, causal realm.  Consciousness remembers its prior unity as a no-thing.

Stage Nine.  Return to the source.  Formless awareness grows back into form without losing it formlessness.  All is alternating creation and dissolution.  Self as no-thing has become everything.

Stage Ten.  Entering the marketplace with helping hands.  Bodhisattva who renounces liberation in order to return to help others.

“The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” 
– T. S. Eliot

Now take a look at the pictures online and compare the descriptions.  You may want to consult The Manual of Zen Buddhism  by Suzuki (1977) for more detailed commentary.  Two other outlines of the spiritual path can be found in Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill (1961) and The Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila (Starr, 2004).  If you have access to these books, it might be useful to chart all of them to look for parallels.

Most of the myths and spiritual texts that talk about resurrection and ascension are also referring to the return.  If you went to Sunday School,  you know that Jesus returned to bring the message of infinite life and love to the world.  Other traditions have similar stories.

Where the path leads from here no one knows, but it is a fair guess that it continues on other levels of existence as well.
Selfless Service

“Selfless service will make you Divine” – Swami Sivananda

Imagine a seeker sitting in a cave having achieved liberation.  What does s/he do next?  There is a choice of course.  One could continue sitting there engaged in contemplation, and some do.  Or one could make use of what has been learned to help others.  Most traditions favor the latter choice for obvious reasons.  The very fact that we can contemplate actually achieving enlightenment means that a great many folks have come back to teach us the way to go.  And, it would seem a point of gratitude to return the favor if and when we can.  But what would that entail?

For Swami Radha’s answer, go to www.yasodhara.org/lightwaves/?p=354

Exercise: Selfless Service

Read A Monk in the World by Brother Wayne Teasdale.  Teasdale was a Christian monk who was initiated into Hindu sannyas by Father Bede Griffiths who also had a foot in each tradition.  Teasdale then chose to live in the city (Chicago) and combine mysticism with service in the world while also making a living.  This is a choice model for most of us who cannot afford to cloister ourselves in contemplation. As well, he addresses some of the issues we face on the path.  Make notes on what is relevant to you.

It will not be enough just to make a mental commitment this time as the way is very difficult.  We have to engage the heart.  And this makes sense since the return is a labor of love.  Fortunately, the heart is physically structured in such a manner that it is prepared to assist us.

Heart-based Service

All along we have been making a distinction between the right and left sides of the brain.  Then Pearce (2004) showed us how the heart, right hemisphere, limbic system and prefrontal cortex are united to make up the intuitive mind; whereas the left hemisphere is relatively isolated in its intellectual functions.

Now, as we go deeper, we find that hearts not only govern the whole bodymind, but they are also capable of learning, thinking and feeling. In fact, the heart is the center of what we may call the soul and, as such, is the feeling center of our systems.  What this means is that the real mind, the one with all the power and connections, is literally, in the heart.  Furthermore, the heart has memory and is capable of remembering complex patterns of experience not only from this life but from previous lives and others’ experiences as well.  We live in an interconnected web, remember.  This memory accounts for the persistence of emotional conditioning we are subjected to as children.  And because it is so complex, it is very difficult to alter the effects of these memories as you will have discovered if you have ever tried to change some deeply rooted emotional reactions.  Why, for instance, does fear often manifest as rage?  Why do we get angrier with those we love than with strangers – usually.

The Intelligent Heart

“The heart is where the spiritual intelligence of the higher dimensions enters the human system” (McArthur & McArthur, 2005, p. 24)

What this means is that not only does the heart think and feel and remember, but it is also the place where we can make a connection with all that is.  We will come back to this later with the topic of guidance.

Exercise: Intelligent Heart

Read the Introduction and chapters 1 and 5 in The Heart’s Code by Pearsall (1998) and chapters 5 and 7 in A General Theory of Love by Lewis, Amini & Lannon (2000).  Take notes as you go in order to come up eventually with your own outline of how the heart functions as a spiritual mediator.  We will spread all the reading out over the entire unit.


We have met this concept in Pearce’s (2004) book, but let us revisit it to see how it actually functions.  Pearsall (1998) says that the heart’s code is subtle life (L)- energy that is remembered in every cell as an information template of the soul.  And it constantly resonates within and from us to others.  Furthermore, the heart is the primary generator of information-energy.  Notice the connection here between mind and life that reverberates all the way back  to Samani.  In your reading, you will find the twenty preliminary characteristics of this L-energy.  There is more than a chance relationship with the parameters of The Field.  So it begins to look like the heart is a kind of node in the net of all life that connects us to the Whole.  In fact, there is a Sinoatrial node in the heart which is a bundle of fibers that relays information-energy within and from the heart.


One of the most interesting factors of the L-energy is its ability to resonate and become coherent with other energies in the universe as well as with those of other people especially those we love.  Since, like other energies, L-energy travels faster than the speed of light, we can be in contact immediately with any other person living or dead (since there is no such thing as time).  However, we have to learn how to manage and raise our frequencies in order to tune in.  The heart’s normal frequency is about 250 cps.  Note that this is not the beating heart rate but the vibrations of the field it generates.

Cardio-contemplation is a process of extracting information about the soul from heart energy.  It is a way of tapping into spiritual energy similar to meditation with a focus on the heart.  Pearsall (1998) says, “Cardio-contemplation is taking the time to let the heart feel and to be free from the mental pressures of a brain ‘entrained,’ or in synch, more with beeps and buzzes than the chirps of birds and rustling of trees” (p. 157).  We must get into a space of just “being” rather than “doing.”  We make ourselves available to receive it.  The process is one of merging, collecting and connecting in nature.

Cardiac-coherence is a balanced, blissful, steady, heart energy state,induced by the process. . [of] cardio-contemplation” (Pearsall, 1998, p. 156).  This can be achieved by use of the “Freeze Frame® Technique” devised by the HeartMath Institute.  Directions for this process can be found in Pearce (2004, p. 213-220) or in McArthur & McArthur (2005, pp. 74-5).

These two processes result in a more relaxed condition in which the heart becomes free of the stressful entrainments of our busy brains.  Cellular memories can emerge and we can access the resources of higher powers.  In this state, we can also reprogram old, dysfunctional memories and gain some release from childhood programming.  In addition, we can tap into a sense of the organization of universal life with its support and predictability.  Finally, we can connect with other hearts that resonate with the same energy frequencies.

Practice: Freeze-Frame

Read chapters 1-5 in The Intelligent Heart by McArthur & McArthur (2005) and chapter 10 in The Biology of Transcendence by Pearce (2004).  Then select some aspect of your life that is stressful or to which you wish to bring more love and begin the Freeze-Frame practice.  Start with something relatively simple until you get the hang of it.  If you are not normally identified with your own loving Self, you may have some difficulties contacting the love feelings at first.  But persist.  Practice recalling people or animals that have loved you in the past and your specific experiences of receiving that love.  Focus on each one until you can actually feel the love that was given to you.  For instance, I remember my grandmother taking me up on her bed for my afternoon nap and lying down with me.  With one arm around me, she would gently scratch my head until I fell asleep.  Or perhaps you have a purry cat who likes to curl up on your lap or next to your back in bed.  That’s love too, baby!  You may have had a similar feeling of oneness and bliss out in nature on a solitary walk.  Maybe you can recall the feelings of bliss after love-making with someone you adore.  All of this is grist for the mill.  The important thing is to re-experience love.  First, you stop the action, then remember love, then bring it to bear on the issues.  Eventually you will have a tool that you can use anywhere at any time you need to revise your initial reaction into something more loving.

The Bodhisattva Path

Eknath Easwaran (1978) used to insist that one of the primary achievements as a seeker was to learn how to put others first.  This does not come naturally as anyone can see who has access to a two-year old child.  The ego puts “me” first; and, after years of reinforcement of that attitude, it is not going to be easy to reverse the trend.  However, we can gnaw away at its bindings until they are loose enough to shed.

A Bodhisattva is one who has reached liberation but who chooses to postpone merging with the One in favor of returning to earth in multiple rebirths in order to help others.  In fact, the vow says that s/he will continue until everyone is enlightened.  A blessing associated with the vow is that all karma has been repaid and no more can be acquired.  The individual is beyond cause and effect, in other words.

Buddhists have been most explicit about the characteristics of Bodhisattvas.  The three most important exemplars are associated with two of the Dhyani-buddhas: Aksobhya and Amitabha.  Vajrasattva is connected to Aksobhya and represents the Essence of Adamantine Voidness.  He is an active ray of the Wisdom of the Great Mirror that reflects the Void.  He is the knowledge of the universal background, the totality of the world in each form of appearance and knowledge of the infinite in the finite; timelessness in the transient.  We are talking here about the Vajra of the Heart a mind that is immutable and indestructible as well as a spiritual certainty attained from direct experience of reality.  Vajrasattva is the Knowledge principle (Prajna) in us and, as such, is related to the Mind in the triad of creation.

Avalokitesvara is the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the embodiment of Love.  He is associated with the Light and Love aspects of the Amitabha Buddha.  He is the Heart that descends into the world to transfrom death into the Elixir of Life.  This is the Karuna principle: Compassion as an embodiment of Love.  Compassion is a combination of love and wisdom (karuna + prajna).  This wisdom is the recognition of the inner identity of all beings which leads to empathy and awareness of equality with others, i.e., to recognize oneself in others.  This is the Feeling principle in the triad of creation.

Amitayus is another Bodhisattva associated with Amitabha.  He is the Lord of Boundless Life.  Here is the life force and creative sound.  His is the element of life and breath, knowledge of mantric sound, visualization and distinguishing knowledge.  The inspiration of intuitive knowledge and consciousness.

Tara is our only female Bodhisattva, and she is depicted as a young woman.  Her Asian counterpart is Kwan Yin who is older and is shown giving birth to the world.  Both of these are known as Bodhisattvas of Compassion; and, as such, are related to Amitabha.

Jesus the Christ was a Bodhisattva in every sense of the definition.  He came into a body to show us how to be God in the world.  He also was the first avatar to teach that “God is Love.”  This is arguably the first time in history that love was seen as one of the deity’s characteristics, and is probably what makes the doctrines of Christianity so important.  Sufis extended this idea to that of God as the Beloved, and they see the path as a love affair with the Divine One.  As you might expect, that is extended to service in the world.  And Sufism is probably the tradition most dedicated to selfless service on the basis of Love.  Bhakti Yoga also has a basis in love, worship and devotion, but it is all on the part of the seeker.  The Ultimate Reality is not featured as a lover in spite of the so-called Shiva/Shakti love affair.

Swami Radhananda who is the present guru at Yasodhara Ashram gave a talk on selfless service and the spiritual path at a Life Seal workshop recently.  You may enjoy excerpts from this talk in a short video at www.yasodhara.org/lightwaves/?p=347

What these all have in common is selflessness in the service of Love – giving oneself for the benefit and welfare of others so that all of us may come eventually into the Light of Wholeness and Bliss.

Practice: Rinzai’s Four-fold Contemplation

If you have, or can find, a copy of Foundations ofTibetan Mysticism by Govinda (1982), read the final section: "The Path of Action."  Study the description of Rinzai’s Four-fold Contemplation on page 264.  Relate this to the initial stages of creation as depicted in Hinduism.  Then develop your own dissolution practice based upon it.  Hint: http://sped2work.tripod.com/linchi.html or Google Rinzai.

Correct Motivation

The name “selfless service” itself indicates that your activities must not be motivated by selfish desires.  One way to test this is to see if you can find a way to give a service that is not known to others.  The rationale for this is that so many people volunteer their services for other reasons such as to make new friends, to gain praise, to feel superior to their clients, to make business contacts, to get out of the house and away from repetitive household tasks, to escape a bad relationship, etc.  I am sure you can think of others.  However, since each of these reasons implies gain or gratification of some wish or need, none of them are selfless.  

The Ashram I attended was self-defined as a Karma Yoga center where emphasis was put on selfless service.  Lessons in that began the first day after arrival.  Newcomers were always assigned the most mundane and least attractive tasks such as doing dishes, taking out the garbage, weeding the garden, doing the laundry, shoveling snow, digging up the septic tank, and other housekeeping chores as well as cooking.  Men and women were treated equally.  Men cooked and women had maintenance chores.  I remember one very small woman being put in charge of installing a new roof on the kitchen.  Furthermore, your work was assigned by someone else and changed every week; that is, everything changed except kitchen duty.  When I was anticipating going there, I dreaded the Karma Yoga because I knew it would be housework which I did not enjoy at home.  But, to my very great amazement, I did enjoy it at the Ashram and later on at the Yoga Center in Colorado.  This says something about the inherent joy of selfless service, doesn’t it?  

One thing that does occur and could be considered a reward is that you intrinsically feel good when giving service.  It is as if the Love that you have given is returned to you though not necessarily directly from the person who receives your care.  Love is an energy and energies need to move, or they stagnate.  But, you may argue, no one loves me, and I don’t have any to give.  That simply is not true.  The Divine One loves Its whole creation including each and every one of us.  If you do not feel that, then you need to do more spiritual practices until you find out.  And, if you look into your own life, you will discover infinite gifts from the Creator not the least of which is the oxygen you breathe and the water you drink.  The beauty of the world is there for everyone.  You may need to leave the city to find it, but it is there for you.

Altruism is an unselfish concern for others, a form of selfless service,  It probably develops from the initial limbic resonance that bonds mother and infant immediately after birth.  If this bonding does not occur because the mother and child are separated, there are serious consequences later on in the child’s ability to trust others and to love.  Such bonding influences development of even the neurotransmitters as well as formation of the brain structures.  Lewis, et al (2000) have documented these studies in detail.  

Limbic resonance is important to understand because it is the basis of all our emotional interactions with others.  Lewis, et al (2000) define it as “. . a symphony of mutual exchange and internal adaptation whereby two mammals become attuned to each other’s inner states. . . When we meet the gaze of another, two nervous systems achieve a palpable and intimate apposition. . . [a] neural attunement of limbic resonance” (p. 63).  It is what we feel about a person who walks into a room or whom we meet on the path.  It is almost as if we go around surrounded by a cloud of vibrations that carry our unique code of interact-ability.  Infants and children react to these vibrations automatically.  Adults have often suppressed knowledge of them on a conscious level but will still respond to them unconsciously.  If you meet someone and immediately like them, limbic resonance is the mediator.  If you seem to dislike them, there may be a disharmony or discrepancy in the frequencies you are receiving.

This interact-ability is what underlies the phenomenon of exchange, the ability to put ourselves in the other’s shoes and feel what they feel or tie into what they are thinking.  It is the basis for development of bodhicitta and the practice of tong len [cf. www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema or Appendix B [Book V.]

Exercise: Limbic Resonance

Read chapters 1-4 in A General Theory of Love by Lewis, et al (2000) and chapter 12 in Essence of the Heart Sutra (Gyatso, 2005).  Make some notes on how these findings speak to your own issues around selfless service.  If you were an infant whose bonding was disrupted by unsympathetic childbirth practices, you may want to read about the development of trust vs mistrust in Identity, Youth and Crisis (Erikson, 1968).  Especially if you have difficulty feeling love and/or its accompanying trust, it is important that you take the practices in this unit and in the Fourth Guidebook on the Heart Chakra seriously because it can take a lifetime to reverse the adverse consequences of such deprivation.

Practice: Limbic Resonance

Select a day when you will be seeing a few people and prepare yourself to notice the vibrations they emit when you first encounter them.  Do they and you make eye contact?  If so, does that intensify the resonance or not?  What reaction does the other person have to eye contact?  How does it feel to you?  Can you identify the emotional overtones of the resonance?  Does that person like you or not?  Can you tell what they are feeling about you and the situation?  If your reaction is negative, can you change that?  Try using the Freeze Frame technique in this kind of instance.  As soon as possible after the encounter, journal what happened and your thoughts about how to change such encounters if you need to in the future.  Try to establish a regular practice of noticing the limbic auras of the people you come in contact with throughout the days.  Notice what happens if you make skin contact with the hand(s) of a checkout person at the market when you hand over your money.  What happens when you smile?  The object is to raise your consciousness and subsequently the frequency of your L-energy over time.

Characteristics of the Selfless Servant

How would you know if your actions are selfless, or how would you identify someone else as selfless?  Well, there are some indicators beyond the motivational one we have already discussed.  And they pretty well correspond to those of a liberated or enlightened person.  If such a person is introverted or cherishes his/her solitude, you may not notice any difference except the tendency toward withdrawal from raucous social occasions.  An extrovert will be much more outgoing and friendly in similar circumstances.

A liberated person will be unbounded by cultural conditioning but will probably observe most of the niceties anyway so as not to give offense to others.  However, when push comes to shove, you will find such a person to be quietly but definitively independent.  They will see no reason to conform unless not doing so will really hurt someone else.  But this is not to say that they will tolerate co-dependent bullying.  One of the interesting things about this state of being is that once it is attained, there are much fewer challenges to one’s independence.  Rather, you might find that people either ignore you or behave as if they are a little afraid of you.  This is directly related to the vibrations we have been talking about.  If you are quiet, you simply may not be present to a noisy, self-centered individual.  And higher frequency vibrations may disturb the equilibrium of lower ones thus upsetting the other person in a manner that s/he might not be able to describe adequately.  So you may find that you have to be careful with your family and friends who do not share your path or be prepared to have them abandon you.

An enlightened person identifies with the Divine One but not in an egoic manner.  The ego has long since been subjected to service to the Higher Self and now behaves, usually, in a cheerfully objective way that allows the person to manage daily life while “being in the world but not of it.”  Now all motivation comes from what the Divine One wants us to do.  How do we know?

Practice: Selfless Service

Well, you knew this was coming.  Give some serious thought to how you might be able to give some service to someone or an organization.  Structure it in your mind so it is truly selfless.  Be careful in your selection of what to do, so that it is simple enough to commit to over a period of time.  If it helps at first, you can limit the time frame.  It is all right if the service is something you like to do or that is pleasant or that uses your gifts.  That will, of course, be rewarding in itself; but as long as that is not your primary motivation, it is all right, at least in the beginning.  As time goes by and you get the feel of it, you can challenge yourself with something more difficult.  Keep track of your experiences until you can make some generalizations about what has been  happening and what  you have learned from them.


You may discover what the Divine One wants through direct guidance from It.  Another word for guidance is channeling.  However, that has acquired a rather bad name due to the often selfish marketing of what passes for it.  The One may makes Itself known during meditation or during moments of real mental quiet or in the twilight zones between sleeping and waking.  Upon further acquaintance, a dialogue can result during which one can ask questions or seek direction.  Such contact requires attunement, once again the raising of one’s frequencies to a high enough level that the One can come through to consciousness.  You can see that the vibrations of consciousness filtered through the limbic system as described above are criterial.  If you become clear enough, you will connect with the Divine One, and It will let you know what It wants you to do.

Exercise: Guidance

Read chapters 8, 10, and 12 in The Intelligent Heart by McArthur & McArthur (2005).  The authors have blended information from HearthMath with the Laws of Transformation gleaned from the work of Edgar Cayce.  These Laws appear to me to be universal, so I suggest you make an outline or table of them for future reference.  As the authors present them,  you can see the developmental progression from simple cause and effect operations to higher sublimations.  These chapters speak to inner guidance in particular.

Other Characteristics of a Selfless Servant

Most of these we have already encountered.  Openness and clarity go without saying.  Equinimity is one that is favored by Buddhists as is loving kindness (maitri), compassion (karuna) and wisdom (prajna).  Along with equinimity is balance between all aspects of beingness including body, mind and spirit.  Because such people are in touch with Divine Light and the Universal Heart, it becomes possible to put others first and to draw on the energies of Light and Love for the work in front of them.  Compare this with the demands made upon parents of young children, and we have to add patience and humility.  There is a real sense in which good parenting requires selfless service as anyone with a newborn child or a two-year old knows.

There are models for us throughout the world.  Gandhi comes to mind and Martin Luther King.  The Dalai Lama has given his life to selfless service all over the world while estranged from his homeland.  Mother Teresa served the poor and untouchables in India until her death.  She brought tens of thousands out of homelessness one at a time by her own efforts.  Nelson Mandela became a world servant even though he had sufficient reason to resent his imprisonment in South Africa.  He is perhaps one of the best models of forgiveness which is another characteristic of selflessness that should be mentioned.  Amritananda is an Indian master who brings her love to the United States every year.  Mother Meera teaches from silence.  Then there are all those thousands of people who serve daily without praise or recognition.  I am sure there are some in your life.

Transformation vs Transcendence

These two operations may overlap sometimes, but there is a distinction between them that speaks to our topic.  Transformation means changing something into something else.  Usually it is a lawful process, but it can be one of sudden, inexplicable change.  White Light experiences would fall into this category.  On the other hand, it can be a slow, but immutable change in character or temperament due to refinement of the mind, body and senses.  In fact, as we achieve higher levels of consciousness, the body becomes more healthy and able to heal itself.  So we might say that transformation entails a change in form.  Transformation on the spiritual path is usually permanent.

Transcendence, on the other hand, means rising above the state we are in.  This is also most often a slow process that is lawful.  The whole progression of consciousness and kundalini energy through the chakras is transcendence.  Moving from the suble body into the causal body is transcendence.  Here, we are raising our frequencies to higher levels, and that changes consciousness as well as how we experience our lives.  Our orientation to others may change in the process as we shift emphasis from mind to heart as the ruler of the day.  Finally, the goal becomes Spirit’s, not ours.  Then we are ready to mentor others, engage in spiritual guidance and become a spiritual teacher.  It is well to address these prospects gingerly when the opportunity comes in order to make sure they are, indeed, selfless.  

At last, we become responsible for the state of the world and the health of the planet.  We are able, alone and collectively, to transform our environment.  We have only just begun to discover the power of our cardiac coherence and ability to influence the Field that contains us.

Finding Your Niche

So, now that we are liberated how do we find our place in the scheme of things?  What do we do with all this new power and ability to engage with the Field?  What is our soul’s mission?  Well, it is essential to find out if we haven’t already.

The turning point in my life was in my mid-forties.  I had been in therapy for three years and was feeling much better.  Along with my visits to the therapist, I had been reading Freud’s and Jung’s works, so I could try to understand my malady.  One morning, I awoke with a very clear image in my memory of a symbol that had come to me in my dream.  It was a white sphere covered in a broken blue netting that was held in my hand.  It dripped water.  It did not take long for me to identity its meaning.  I had, at last, made contact with my Higher Self and broken free of the bands of conditioning that had held me prisoner for so long.  Furthermore, I had brought it to full conscious awareness.  I found myself actually feeling better than I could remember ever feeling in my life.  I was finally free!  It was almost immediately after this that I realized that my creativity lay in thinking and problem-solving rather than the arts where I had previously searched for it.  Once I knew this, my direction was clear.  I would be a college professor.  Over the years, this has morphed into spiritual guidance.

This story shows how important it is to recognize the one, main gift we bring into the world.  And everyone’s gift is unique to them.  There is a reason we incarnated:  to do the one task that we agreed to prior to birth.  This is the soul’s mission.  We become what we express.  And what we express is the One’s Will.  Therefore, as we do so, we become Divine.

How to Live Without Boundaries

As we slowly become aware of our Divinity, we notice that the usual boundaries that defined who we were and how we were to behave have disappeared.  For me, it is usually months, if not years, after a transcendent step before I recognize what has happened.  

It was several years after I left the Ashram before I noticed that I no longer had fits of emotional outbreak.  In fact, it all felt rather flat, and I was not sure I liked it.  I had moved beyond some level of ego that had made me feel victimized.  Roberts (1985)   says we have to relearn how to be in the world and how to function without an ego and/or self.  We have to live in this moment and stop running our lives by the clock.  At first, it felt a bit eerie not to have very much on my calendar.  But then I found that what was on it was usually very meaningful, something I cared about doing.  The inner life becomes paramount and we begin to live from the inside out instead of the other way around.  What we do is governed by what needs to be done or by what is in front of us rather than what others dictate we should be doing.  We go with the Flow and find we are full of grace and gratitude.  We notice that the One is providing for our needs: money, love, food, protection on the highways.  In every way, all that we need for our health and being is provided.  We may or may not be working for the money, but it is secure.  Habits of worry about those things may take a while to subside, but reminders come every day.  We learn how to tune in for guidance and to depend upon its faithfulness.

Exercise: Attunement

Review chapters 1-4 in The Intelligent Heart  by McArthur & McArthur (2005).  Then, when you sit for meditation, see if you can tune in to Spirit.  To do so, clear your mind, get quiet and call.  Do not be discouraged if nothing happens at first.  It is, after all, Spirit’s choice of when to contact you.  Yours to wait and listen in patience and humility.

Love as Healer

All of our readings provide evidence that love is not only a healer but probably the best one in the arena.  We have seen that it can speak to not only physical symptoms but their causes as well.  We are reminded that what is not confronted on higher levels can manifest on the physical level as disease.  Stress is one of the primary culprits in the United States caused, no doubt, by accelerating change.  As an example, the women’s movement has backfired to the extent that women are now expected to work outside the home in order to provide enough money to pay all the bills incurred by consumerism and materialism.  Or they must work because they are alone or are single parents.  Possibly as a consequence, the whole family structure is deteriorating most likely beyond repair.  This has resulted in loneliness and depression, grief and anger by turns.  

Our ability to love has weakened.  Food, especially sugar, has replaced love in so many lives  it is no wonder we suffer from diabetes and obesity in such  numbers and to such extremes.  Even children are becoming obese.  One wonders if there is a correlation between that and absence of the parents at home after school.  It is one thing to choose to engage in a career.  It is quite another to be subjugated to it.

Regardless of whether my conclusions are valid, the problems exist and need to be addressed.  I believe these small books you are reading are a good beginning if they encourage people to take a second look at how their lives are unfolding and whether they are loved and able to give love.  We now know that the conditioning received in childhood can be, if not reversed, at least reframed in memory and innoculated with love in the present.  There are ways to relearn how to love and how to stop our automatic emotional responses, so we can produce more loving behaviors.  Psychotherapy can also benefit from some of these new ideas.  And we can all learn how to love from heart to heart directly and without interference.

Laughter is the best medicine in fact as well as in jest.  Pearsall (1988) offers some evidence that shows us how this works to our advantage and suggests we try to open ourselves to more relaxed ways of being in the world that will permit it to emerge.

Exercise: Love as Healer

Read chapter 6, 10, and 11 in Pearsall (1998) and chapters 6, 8, and 9 in Lewis et al (2000).  For more information, also read The Heart Speaks by Mimi Guarneri (2006).  Guarneri is a cardiologist who explains in detail how the mental and spiritual characteristics of the heart can both cause and heal diseases such as heart attacks.  Take notes while you are reading and see if you can come up with a compact theory of your own about how the heart is both the cause and effect of healing.

How to Love

I need to admit that I am not an authority on this topic.  I was one of those who did not have the opportunity to bond immediately after birth, and I still have issues around trust and feeling worthy of love even though my mind tells me differently.  It is true that emotional patterns are laid down in those early years that are extremely difficult to change.  It may even be that the structures essential to loving can just not exist if they were not programmed in during the critical period.  I do hope this is not true.

One of the things most critical to the generation of unconditional love is forgiveness.  And it is difficult to forgive someone for hurting us if we are still in pain.  It is hard to initiate a loving encounter when we expect to be rejected as a result of past experience at home, on the playground, in adolescence or in an unsuccessful marriage.  Then we find ourselves being asked to forgive ourselves because we perpetuate the patterns we learned as children, not knowing what else to do.  Or because we do not feel worthy of someone else’s love.  Or because we had non-specific guilt instilled in us in childhood as a means of correction by parents and teachers.  It is not just physical abuse that scars us, but emotional abuse as well.

So we may get into a pattern of worrying about how we will manage the next questionable encounter with someone whose goodwill we desire.  McArthur (2005) calls this “Overcare.”  And he provides another exercise to help us deal with this issue (cf, “Cut-Thru” p. 160-2).  What we need, Pearsall (1998, p. 158-9) says, is to develop habits for hearing the heart.  He says such habits summarize how to cardio-contemplate and tune in to the heart’s code.  I will just list them and you can read about them yourself.  They do not really need explanation as they are pretty obvious:

•    Be still
•    Lighten up
•    Shut up
•    Resonate
•    Feel
•    Learn
•    Connect

Exercise:  How to Love

Read chapters 5 and 7 in McArthur (2005) and continue with your journaling.  It might be useful to take an inventory of your own ability to reach out to others in a loving, unconditional manner.  See how often there is a self-serving motive behind your wish to connect.  What prevents you from giving unconditional love?  How is forgiveness for you?


Human beings are programmed by nature to interact with others.  In fact, we would not survive without the presence of others as we grow up.  And it is true that we also need love.  Babies fail to thrive if they are not loved by someone.  It may not be their parents, but there has to be someone who cares and can give body contact.  I read an article yesterday in which a young boy was reported as saying “I need love with skin on it” when his mother told him God loved him.  Don’t we all feel that?

Heart’s Need for Connection

The heart needs connection to others in order to function normally.  There has to be a sense of cardiac-coherence in the heart frequencies, or we have a heart attack.  We need to connect heart to heart, to feel ourselves held in a bond of living love, to feel merged in that space of love that contains and nurtures us – to feel arms around us whether they are those of another person or those of an angel.  Pearsall (1998) says:

            . . cardio-sensitivity and connecting heart to heart requires invitation instead
            of demand, being receptive instead of prejudicial in our expectations, and
            being accepting and welcoming instead of seductive and controlling.  If we
            ignore our brain and let our heart be open, our old cellular memories will leak
            out to help remind us how “to be,” energy will pour in from other hearts to
            remind us why we “are,” and energy from the nonlocal info-energy field in
            which we are immersed will guide and nurture us into loving heart-to-heart
            bonds. (p. 167)

Father Keating says, “Silence is the language God speaks.  Everything else is a broad translation” (quoted in Pearsall, 1998, p. 167).

Falling in Love

What about falling in love? you might ask.

Well, there are a couple of trinities here I would like to share with you and I believe they can apply to all loving relationships.  There are three habits of the heart used to create who we are, what we need and what we have to give.  They are the processes of:  1) connecting, 2) nurturing and 3) integrating all our cellular memories (Pearsall, 1998, p. 176).  And these are just the things that contribute to the feeling of being in love.  Integration is said to be important because stimulating old memories of being loved in childhood or in the prenatal period when we were safe and warm contributes to the synthesis of L-energy between lovers.

Another triad is: 1) passion, 2) commitment, and 3) intimacy (Pearsall, 1998, p. 190).  These are related to the sensuous nature of love and L-energy.  Passion is of the body, commitment is of the mind, and intimacy is the result of heart-to-heart connection.  We need all three to be truly in love.  The latter two raise the bar well above mere sexuality.


Loss of a love results in heartbreak.  And this is not merely a cliché.  There are definite symptoms in the heart associated with the grief of loss of a loved one.  It is called “the broken heart syndrome.”  The heart feels physically heavy in the chest.  There may actually be pain in the chest at the heart.  One is in a kind of shock at the disconnection of L-energy, so there may be fatigue and dizziness.  Shortness of breath and heart muscle weakness are also seen.  All of this occurs in the absence of abnormal test results.  The body is flooded with stress hormones which increases heart rate and constricts arteries.  It is not unusual for a spouse or lover to die soon after the partner does though it is not always diagnosed as due to a broken heart.  Guarneri (2006) devotes a whole chapter to the subject of grief and how it manifests physically.

Exercise: Heart-to-heart Connections

Read chapters 8 and 9 in Pearsall (1998) and chapter 9 in McArthur (2005).  Then spend some time reviewing your most important relationships.  What behaviors and attitudes have been conducive to harmony and well-being and which ones have been disruptive.  How have you changed over time?  What have you learned about your ability to love and to accept love?  What else do you need to do?


It seems to me, one of the essentials to foster a satisfactory relationship is reciprocity.  Because the energies are so intertwined, any imbalance is felt as pain by the non-dominant partner.  Any love relationship is based on give and take principles, so some kind of balance is achieved between the exchange of vibrations.  Therefore, what reciprocity means is that neither partner dominates the other nor makes demands of any kind.  Consideration for others is a basic tenet.  My mother used to say that consideration for others was the main reason for good manners.  And we have a whole tradition of sayings that mean the same thing: “Do  unto others as you would have them do unto you,” for example.

Oneness and Wholeness

Another important thing to consider is that each partner in a relationship must be a whole person in his/her own right.  Kahlil Gibran (1977, pp. 15-16) said of marriage:

           . . let there be spaces in your togetherness,
            And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. . .
            Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
            Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. . .
            Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
            For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
            And stand together yet not too near together:
            For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
            And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

If we are not whole, we become co-dependent in relationship.  And that is deadly.  However, someone who is whole is free to give without deprivation, and someone who is whole can receive without a sense of obligation.

Practice: Unconditional Love

Choose an animal or a person who is around you a lot and that you care about.  Stop and consciously feel your love for them and find a way to express it.  Do this as often as you can remember to do it, and strive to remember more often.  Then gradually extend this practice to friends and acquaintances, then to strangers and then to someone you dislike or fear.  This is going to put you in touch with all your resistances to love and its exchanges, so do not be surprised to find you do not wish to love someone or that you feel embarrassed about it.  The way you express it should be consistent with the type of relationship you have with the person.  If it is distant, you may smile or soften the tone of voice or use another subtle form of expression that will not embarrass you or the other.  The important thing is the exchange of L-energy.  And you may think of L-energy as also Love-Energy.  At the level at which we are working now, we are not talking about sexual energy nor even helpful energy, but a higher level of Love that lacks any reference to self or ego.  It is what the Greeks and early Christians called agape – love for love’s own sake.  God’s Love coming through a willing channel.

In this unit, we have looked at the role of the heart in returning to the world to give selfless service.  In doing so, we have become aware of the inherent interconnections that bind all of us, humans and other living being, into a Divine Whole that is sacred in its Essence.  For God is Love.

This concludes Unit X. Return.  Unit XI. Death of the Body will offer some new ways to think about our transition into a higher realm of Being.  And that unit will conclude the series of guidebooks,  Return to Spirit.


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