"Om is unconditional love." ~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Our culture and its media want to seduce us into a constant quest for the ideal relationship. It is no coincidence that the same culture, the same media, also bombard us with images of sexual promiscuity and violence. In this culture, sex and violence often arise together, because desire for an other is never satisfied, and thwarted desire brings frustration.

One of the fundamental tenants of our culture is the illusion that happiness lies in relationship. If we can just find the perfect relationship, we will be at peace.

But there is no perfect relationship. Every relationship contains the shadow of conflict. What we seek is not actually to be found in relationship, but in wholeness.

Wholeness is the meaning of Om. It is absolute love. Not the love of one for another, but the love in whom there is no other. Om is beyond relationship, yet includes all relationships in its whole. The ocean contains many waves. But all the waves are the ocean. All the waves are the same water.

We get so absorbed in the parts, we lose the experience of wholeness. The taste of wholeness is completely different than the taste of any one part, even the best part. The parts may bring happiness or sorrow, but the nature of the whole is bliss: ananda.

In the romantic quest for a perfect relationship, conflict is inevitable. In the wholeness some parts are positive, some negative, some violent, some peaceful, some sorrowful, some joyful. The attempt to hold any two parts in a permanent relationship is simply unnatural, strained.

So let the world be the whole that it is. If there is an act of unspeakable violence, somewhere else there is an act of supreme kindness. If there are tears, somewhere else there is laughter. Where there is light, there will soon be darkness. Where there is darkness, there will soon be light. Ever has it been, ever shall it be. This is the nature of the world. So what?
Even in this world of ever changing parts, you can experience the unchanging whole. Even in this world, you can be at Om.

The enlightened do not see the world as a conflict, but as a dance. It is a dance of inevitable opposites, rising falling waves. The dance is beautiful. The ocean is peace.

When we chant Om, sometimes it feels severe, because we are not used to the taste of wholeness. Om is severe because in Om relationships apparently  dissolve.
The severity of Om is its unconditional wholeness, its uncompromising unity, its absolute love. The stillness of Om contains the dance of relationship, without being overshadowed by it. The light of Om outshines all the shadows that flicker within it.
The fierce unity of Om contains friendship with all creatures. But it is friendship in dispassion, in non-attachment.
You are not a wave searching for another wave. You are that oceanic whole in whom all waves rise and fall.

Om Shantih Shantih Shantih.

1 comment:

Sanjay Kapoor said...

OM does feel severe, I've always though it seems a little distant and not fuzzy wuzzy. Thanks for this wonderful article Fred.