[You can ask your own question here.]
Recently I find myself unable to find peace in meditation. I’m up against an overwhelming "ego attachment" that is making me sad: my longing to connect with people on an emotional, soulful level. I don't have the strength to let go of my desire to be loved in a romantic sense. I've found peace in being single, but I still long to feel that I matter and people care about me. I can't even envision letting go of this longing. Still, it is coming up for a reason. Is there an affirmation you could suggest that would help? How does one live with people, help them, and not have any attachment to them? I understand about not having expectations and not being dependent, but I am confused about the attachment part. The only two things I really believe in are my love for God and my desire to help others. So perhaps an affirmation could include this.
Naturally you long to be loved. Everyone does. God planted that desire in our hearts. Love is the key to everything good and noble that mankind achieves. Yes, in time, you will see that all love is love for God, but in the meantime, live sincerely on the level that is natural to you.
As for attachment, don’t worry about it. It will take care of itself. We do not become detached by pounding on our attachments. We become detached by expanding our hearts until everything is seen in its proper perspective.
Human love, Master said, perfectly expressed, is "almost the same as divine love." The doorway to perfection in divine love is through loving others. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, and strength," Jesus said, "and your neighbor as yourself."
It is too much to expect of yourself -- and more than God expects of you -- for you to love whole-heartedly without some level of egoic feeling. We just aren’t yet that pure. But loving whole-heartedly, even with shades of personal attachment, will gradually expand our hearts until our love does become the perfect love of God.
The path to God is not a sprint; it is a long distance race. There is a big difference between understanding something intellectually and being able to embrace it heart, mind and soul. Success on the spiritual path depends on calm acceptance of that discrepancy during the years, even lifetimes it takes actually to shift our consciousness.
And yes, at times, meditation is a painful awakening to the many levels within of thought and feeling within us. The purpose of meditation is to increase our awareness. As you climb to the top of a mountain you can also see down into valleys you may not have known were even there. Better, though, to see yourself as you are than to live in a dream world of false images. And yes, it takes courage, and faith.
God loves you just as you are. He knows what you are going through and will have to go through to come to a state of final realization. He will hold your hand and guide you every step of the way.
A mother doesn't expect her child in the first grade to be able to sit in a graduate school seminar. The child has a lot of learning to do before that is possible. But that day will come. In the same way, our Divine Mother doesn’t expect us to be more advanced that we are. That is something we mistakenly impose on ourselves. Learn the lessons that are right in front of you and don't worry about a perfection that isn’t possible for you now, but will be someday, as long as you don't give up.
As for an affirmation, I think you should not bother about your faults but affirm in a positive way what you are naturally inclined to do: love and serve others. Swami Kriyananda's book, Affirmations for Self-Healing, offers several that would be good. These are suggestions merely; you might find others in the book that feel more right to you.
Love: "I will love others as extensions of my own Self, and of the love I feel from God."
Service: "I will serve God through others, and by my service to Him release the hold the ego has on me. I am free in God! In God I am free!" (Please note that this one does speak of ego attachment, so only use this affirmation if the mention of ego does not make you feel inadequate. If saying that phrase makes you sad, do not use this affirmation.)
Joy: "I am even-minded and cheerful at all times. I know that joy is not outside me, but within."
I hope this is helpful to you.
[Questions and answers from other Ananda ministers worldwide can be found on the Ask the Experts page of Ananda.org.]