108 Hugs for Jesus
The Ecstasy of Divine Love as a Path to God
Back Cover Text
The deepest longing of every soul is to experience the Divine directly, personally and intimately. To have this direct communion is the purpose of our human birth and nothing else in all of eternity will ever satisfy us or truly make us happy. The path to this is hidden and Jesus said few will find it. It is not something that can be found in any church or any book as it must be searched for and discovered in the Heart. At the center of our being, there is a doorway to God's infinite light, love and bliss. It is here, within us, that God waits for us – calling for us – yearning for our love. The kingdom of God is truly within us - Luke 17:21. This book is a comprehensive guide to this greatest of all human endeavors - the Divine Romance; the lover and the Beloved; the eternal Companion.
Jesus prescribed a path to this ecstatic union with His two commandments – love your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as your own self. In Luke 10:25, Jesus says practicing these two commandments is all that is necessary to attain eternal life. In this book, is a thorough discussion of the practice of Jesus' commandments including theory, history, techniques and pitfalls. Love is what every soul needs more than anything else. Love is what is most needed in the world. Divine Love and how to become that love is the primary focus of this book.
As an aid to practicing Jesus' first commandment to love God, a collection of 108 phrases describing key aspects of the Lord's teachings and life events has been provided with commentary. Chanting these with love and devotion is one way that we can increase the fire of our love for the Beloved. There is nothing in all of eternity that is sweeter, more magnificent, more illuminating, more liberating, more healing or more blissful than spiritual love for the Divine. So take off your clothes, empty your mind and step into the ocean of God's infinite love!
We have all been walking endlessly in this barren desert of a world that rarely feels the life-giving rain of love. In this desert there are almost no flowering blossoms of compassion, kindness, mercy or forgiveness. The cause for this is that humans do not take time to find God and drink His healing, purifying eternal water of Divine Love. It is only love for God and feeling God’s love for us – personally and intimately - that will ever satisfy our thirst.
The goal of human existence is to experience God and God’s love directly in one’s own being. This gnosis, or direct knowing, is an avalanche of bliss; a lightning storm of ecstasy. This experience is profound love and it is a deep silence that is the very core of aliveness and beingness.
It is much like a dam breaking with the waters of love surging through every cell and every atom of our being. It is powerful and overwhelming. It shatters the prison walls of our minds with a ferocious grace that liberates the soul and fills the heart with a profound light that makes the experience of existence, moment by moment, ever fresh and ever new. It is a lightning bolt of unexpected awakening that causes tears of joy and gratitude to run down our cheeks. It brings a feeling of warmth in the body that runs like molten gold through the rivers of the nervous system which is healing to the physical body, the mind and the spirit. It is a swarming of bliss and a lightness of being that we had not felt since we were small children. It is a radical joy, to say the least, and always wholly beyond anything we could have expected or imagined.
“Truths are not truths to you unless you realize them within yourself. Without realization, they are just ideas. For spiritual perception, spiritual consciousness, lies not in vague theological ideas, but in the acquisition of Self-Realization.” ~ Paramahamsa Yogananda
Repeatedly swimming in this ocean of bliss; repeatedly feeling the upward rush of Divine Love in our hearts, washes away all sin which is the feeling of separation from God or the sense of “I” and “mine.” It is by this alone; diving directly into the ocean of God’s love; seeing God face-to-face in a divine festival of love between the lover and the Beloved - that we are saved. It is for this that Jesus gave us His two commandments which are 1. Love God with great intensity, and 2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:28-31
These commandments are supremely effective if practiced with diligence, regularity, focus and, most importantly, love.
In this book, we will refer to these commandments frequently as they are the most important teaching given by Christ. This is why He called them commandments and these were the only commandments He had for us. We may refer to them as “commandment one” or “commandment two” or the “first commandment” or “second commandment.”
By this path of ecstatic love, we can feel the pulse of God’s love and the roar of profound peace. It is more beautiful and inspiring and enlivening and enchanting than anything we could ever imagine! It is a realm of unquenchable beauty! It is so much so that it is worth making any effort to attain it.
By waking up into God’s love, we also see our own suffering, the causes of our suffering and the suffering of the world. As God’s love-fire grows within our hearts, we are beset with a burning desire for everyone else to be happy. There is the realization that the only solution to this suffering, our own and the suffering of the world, is to continue to immerse ourselves in our love for the Beloved. Our tears of bliss will wash away every last stain from the garments of our souls.
Jesus had a parable about the discovery of God’s Love.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46
The practice of love purifies the mind resulting in a feeling of innocence. God is the childlike innocence deep within us. Amma comments on this:
"Children, the wonder and the love that you felt as a child will never return unless you can again play like a child. Innocence is within you, hidden deep inside. You have to rediscover it. And for this to happen, you must go deeper and deeper into your spiritual practices. When you can dive deep into your own consciousness, you will realize this innocence one day. At that moment you will discover the child within you. You will experience the innocence, the joy and the wonder that were hidden inside of you, and you will realize they were always there. You merely forgot your innocence for some time. It is as if you suddenly remember something after having forgotten about it for a very long time. That childlike innocence deep within you is God. Amma, Awaken Children, vol. 7
And we may recall that Jesus says, unless we become innocent like little children we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1
In this book we will thoroughly explore the reason that God is hidden from us and why we are not currently experiencing His Love directly and on a daily basis. It is the mind and egoistic feelings that separate us from our Beloved.
One of the reasons this book has been written is to try and do something, however small it may be, to save the human race from destruction. Each person that takes up the sword of love will unknowingly begin to slay the dragons of selfish egocentricity, hatred, war and chaos. The vibrations of such a practice will radiate out into the world having a positive effect. If enough people will find love for God in their hearts and love for each other, the world may be in a position to invite God’s grace. Only then can the human race be saved.
The author wishes to bow before his guru Amma who is, herself, an incarnation of God. One will not find another human being in these times who has done as much to benefit humanity including vast charitable outreaches and the fact that she has hugged over 30 million people radiating a love and compassion that is beyond comprehension. All of this from a woman born in south India who never made it past the 4th grade. She has given direct mind-blowing experiences of the Divine to countless thousands of people and set them on the path of devotion to God as prescribed in Jesus’ first commandment. The author is one of these people and would not have written this book if it were not for her grace. One will not encounter a more loving, more compassionate and more humble human being than Amma. She is the perfect living example of everything Jesus taught. Jesus said:
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Matthew 7:20