A seminar participant asked me, “How can I let in more love from my girlfriend?” I told him, “It’s not your girlfriend’s love you need to let in. It’s your own love you need to let out.”
We have consistently been taught that what we need is out there somewhere, and our task is to import it. This quest applies to material objects like cars and flat-screen TVs, as well as spiritual experiences like love from a romantic partner or salvation from a savior. This never-ending search is based on the lie that you are somehow flawed or lacking, and if you can just get what you need from some outer source, you will become whole. But you can never become whole because the quest is based on the illusion that you are broken, and any campaign based on an illusion must fail.
Contrary to what you have been taught, you were created in utter perfection. Your real goal, then, is not to import your good, but to accept the good you already are. This is why the master yogi Paramahansa Yogananda called his organization “Self-Realization Fellowship.” We are not going for self-improvement. We are going for self-knowing.
A Course in Miracles tells us, “Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.” This statement is highly confrontive, even insulting to the ego, which swears that if something in your life is missing, it is because someone or something out there is withholding it. Our pain is always someone else’s fault: My husband doesn’t share my spiritual path; my parents don’t understand me; my ex- doesn’t raise my kids properly; my company doesn’t pay me enough; the government won’t acknowledge my gay marriage. Our emptiness never has anything to do with our own consciousness, ego argues; we are innocent victims.
We can resolve such frustrating situations by reaching into ourselves and claiming the experience we seek. Tony Robbins suggests a 90-day marriage-saving technique. When a client complains to Tony that his or her partner is not giving enough to the marriage, Tony asks the client to invest more of his- or herself in the relationship. If you want more truth from your partner, give more truth to him or her. If you seek listening, listen. If you want your partner to share your path, make an effort to share his or her path. If, after you have given all you can for 90 days, the relationship is still not working, Tony suggests, feel free to leave. Yet in most cases, the relationship works better because you recognize yourself as the source of your empowerment, rather than demanding that your partner fill an illusory gap.
This dynamic creeps more subtly into many spiritual paths and religions that teach you to draw energy from your mentor, guru or savior. If you absorb positive healing energy, you will be healed. So you sit quietly and open yourself to take in the chi, prana, mana, orgone energy or whatever you name it. Then you feel better and thank the guru for healing you.
This technique surely works, and if this is your spiritual practice, I absolutely encourage you to continue. Any method that achieves healing is valid, and should be used as much as possible. All healing is of God, regardless of the channel through with it comes.
Yet, eventually you must consider whether or not the healing energy is coming from outside you or from within you. Is your guru or savior really a separate entity who transmits healing, or does he or she live in your own mind? Could your spiritual master be an aspect of your own higher self? Thus, you are not reaching out for your answer, but tapping in.
Ram Dass’s guru Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji) told him, “Guru, God, and Self are one.” This is the meditation of a lifetime! The guru and God we strive to reach out there are really our own Self. There is no separation. We make up stories of division and then struggle to bridge a gap that doesn’t exist. Rather than seeking a guru to save you, seek to dissolve the false sense of separation that tells you that the guru lives in India rather than your own heart.
In a sense, the ego is absolutely correct in telling you that the answer is out there. The answer is far beyond the ego’s own resources. A Course in Miracles tells us, “You cannot be your own guide to miracles, because it is you who made them necessary.” You will never get yourself out of trouble by using the same mind that got you into it. The self that is trying to help is the self that needs help. To be healed, you must reach beyond your current idea of self, which is quite limited and ultimately fictitious.
What appears to be the outer teacher lives within you; he or she is the most valid part of yourself. The outer teacher is your “permission slip” to receive what you already own. Keep using that permission slip as long as it works; it is a blessing from God. Yet, the greatest blessing is to recognize that God and all good dwell within you, as you. Then you won’t need to let in more love from your partner or the world. You will already own all the love you could ever need.