Friday Author: Seth Kaplan
Having other interests and passions, I shall from time to time write about one of them. For today, I offer some thoughts about physics, the universe, us, and how they are all related to the power of love.
What prompted me to choose this topic? I often listen to Deepak Chopra’s daily meditations, either on my iPhone or on my computer. As a well-known physician and spiritual counselor, one of his most amazing gifts is the ability to expound ex tempore on one or more aspects of our existence—the soul, karma, life after death, and many others.
Yesterday, though, at 6:30 a.m. Hawaii time, after meditating he presented in a live podcast his view of how we and our capacity to love are tied to our place in the universe. His thoughts resonated with me because I have read similar ideas expressed in other contexts. Being especially drawn to synergies of thought, I decided to share this experience with you.
How Physics Enters Into It
The late astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, wrote a number of books and produced “Cosmos,” a PBS series of shows on man’s relationship with the universe. One of the central theses of the show, which had its original articulation in 1913 and many others since, is that we are all composed of “star stuff.” This means that, ever since the Big Bang, everything that ever came into being is comprised of the same chemical elements, the very first being hydrogen, helium, and other light gases.
To me, this makes sense, although I think scientists go too far when they search for the “God Particle.” In my view, anytime one tries to circumscribe the unknowable in any terms, be they mathematic or linguistic, one has not grasped it. If you can know it, it is not God. Though it seems counterintuitive, this is a good thing; it is in a way comforting to know that there is something beyond all knowing. But, what does this have to do with human beings and love?
Deepak Chopra’s Seven Stages of Love
Deepak Chopra spoke of The Seven Stages of Love. To him, all love is relationships. All relationships are mirrors in which we see reflections of ourselves in others, and, if we look, within ourselves. As Woody Allen said about masturbation, “At least it’s sex with someone I love.” Chopra would call this self-awareness through the mirror of relationships. And, although Chopra didn’t say it, many others have: You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself.
Chopra’s The Seven Stages of Love are as follows:
- Attraction—Likes attract. We are attracted to others who have qualities we recognize. Conversely, we can be repelled by those who do not possess those qualities or who have traits we deny in ourselves.
- Second Attraction—Deep listening, noticing, appreciating, affection for and acceptance of another person; non-judgmental.
- Communion—Non-verbal communication. You know what someone else is feeling; you are sympatico. This is characterized by transparency and deep empathy, seeing the other person as equal; not trying to make an impression or manipulate; to understand.
- True Intimacy—Chopra quotes Rumi: “If you are not naked by now, go back to sleep.” True intimacy implies transcendency, which cannot be achieved if one has not woken to the essence of one’s soul. To do this, one must be vulnerable at all levels—emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually; needing neither to defend nor to justify. A peak sexual experience delivers ecstasy, as the lover and loved become one. Time stands still (this is also what happens when death occurs).
- Surrender—characterized by total humility (no self-importance) and no attachment. Giving up totally and completely, not having to be right (what a relief!), no defensiveness, the absence of control, cajoling, manipulation, seduction, analysis, and argument. To Chopra, totally letting go is having everything (much like achieving Nirvana).
- Passion—So intense it is almost, as Rumi says, “A raid on your soul.” It is intoxicating. True passion to Chopra is the awakening of the divine energies, archetypes of male and female within yourself. Then, you relate to the world also in these terms and achieve harmony with the universe. We dance, even though we cannot hear the tune. Every cell in your body is dancing right now—I am dancing writing this post—and this dance expresses itself in adventures, art, science, exploration, and all other forms of human endeavor.
- Ecstasy—from the Greek “ec basis,” to leave spacetime and causality as one achieves the ecstasy of union. This can appear as sensual delight in any form—physical, archetypal . . . or divine. Chopra calls this “unity consciousness,” the universe localized. I am the absolute being. I take this to be a rephrasing of the Sanskrit phrase, “Tat tvam asi.” That thou art.
Because of the immensity of the concept, it is difficult to see the whole, so we break it down into bite-sized pieces. To reassemble this puzzle, we need Love to return us to the memory of wholeness, or unity consciousness. The spirit remains as love, and that, to Chopra the physician, is healing.
It also explains that reaching this state reminds us that we are all made of star stuff.