Illustration by Gretta Kool
By the time some of you read this post, you may already be in trouble. Did you remember that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and did you plan accordingly? Gifts of flowers, chocolates, sweet and sincere cards are expected by many people. Like all expectations, if you don’t meet them, you may be up a creek.
To put this love holiday in perspective, it’s an American import to Australia, much like Halloween. Many down-to-earth Aussies may prefer not to play the Valentine’s game and express romantic love at other times and in other ways.
What is love anyway?
I’ve been reading Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology and leading scholar in the ‘positivity’ field, who puts a new twist on love. Our idea that love is a stable quality makes it likely that love will become perfunctory. Rather, she suggests that love consists of ‘micro-moments of connection between people – even strangers. Coming to a new appreciation of what love is has the potential to transform our lives as we then extend it to all of humanity – including ourselves.’
Is this so far from Patanjali’s wisdom? Maybe not. He advises us to eliminate the kleshas (afflictions), especially avidya (ignorance of our true nature).
Our true nature is open, unlimited, free, conscious, self-luminous, and self-evident. This is our moment by moment experience, although we may not be aware of it. – From – The Transparency of Things by Rupert Spira
Patanjali’s designed a how-to book on meditation so we can become fully-expressed, authentic human beings. Barbara Fredrickson’s book comes at it differently, but nevertheless her book is an aid to strengthen our capacity to more truly connect to ourselves and others, on-goingly and not just on Valentine’s Day.
The removal of these (pratyayas) is prescribed like the destruction of the kleshas.*
*Four Chapters on Freedom, commentary on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Satyananda Paramahamsa.