Each summer, I take my children to Family Week, a week-long spiritual retreat for families at Ananda, near Assisi in Italy. There are usually around 50 families and 100 kids, all of us looking to share spirituality with our kids (and them with us). My kids really enjoy it, especially the theatrical presentations, songs and camp-outs.
In 2017, something beautiful happened to me, personally, that I’d like to share today. We were in the main temple, a wood- and glass-enclosed structure, during the closing ceremony. To the tune of “Halleluia, halleluia,” we held hands and slowly walked in a circle, following a single, lit candle.
At a certain point, there was such a rising feeling of love… I didn’t know what to do. I first felt all this love at the level of my heart, then it rose up to the level of my throat. It kept rising, and suddenly I felt I was going to run out of air. It was as if we were all in an aquarium – or a sinking boat – like that scene in Titanic in which the water is rising and the ceiling is low. I believe I even raised my head to grab those last breaths!
And then… then the love raised right above my head and soared about half-way up the temple. I held my breath. And then I felt it. Or rather, I was swallowed by it. Wow. When I looked around, I was in a Whole New World.
I saw that, yes, there was a whole lot of love, but it wasn’t love as I had thought it to be. It no longer was love-with-objects, it went beyond that. There was love even in the space between people. Even the carpet, even the air… the whole thing was love. And it wasn’t coming from a person, either…. It had gone beyond the human realm.
It was love being in love with love, loving.
My next thought was how I had really messed this up my entire life. Isn’t that funny? My mind had been so limited to the personal that it actually thought that it was I, the person who loved, that it was people who loved other people. Huh? The whole thing was clown-like in its innocent naiveté.
It was like one wave desperately thinking that it needed other waves to fall in love with, when in fact it was all part of One Big Ocean. And none of the waves were going to last very long, anyway. I was in a new realm, in which love was Infinite and Totally Without Limits. There were no agents or objects. There was no A to B. There was only all A, and all B, and all A and B together.
There had never been separation, there was only Unity.