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Like a Phoenix from the Ashes:
Burning Through the Barriers to Love

By Ma Anand Mayuri

Water Confluence

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~ Rumi

I won’t lie, not to you or to myself-- it’s true; I have seen them, the barriers. I know there’s no use in hiding from the truth, although I still try sometimes. But today, in the silence, in the black and light behind my closed eyes, I have stopped running away. Freedom comes from this step alone, from simply accepting responsibility for what I have done. And, in this awareness, this act of seeing, they evaporate, sizzle away to nothing, like vampires turned to ashes in the burning sunrise of my gaze.

But what next? Why did I build those barriers in the first place? What is the function, the purpose behind the confluence of the rivers of my ego and unconscious mind when they contrive to escape from love? They know me so well, know all my weaknesses, my fears and my pride. Is it possible to observe how the colors mix in the water, and not be swept away by their undertow?

Sometimes. When I lie down in the darkness and feel my heart open, it is a feeling of disappearing, dissolving. The ego is gone. In love the ego and her ego-skin, the imaginary division between me and the world, disappear when they are seen to be only illusions, a fog burned out by the sunshine. When the barriers against love fall down by themselves on nights that, they all fall at once: joy was also there on the other side, laughter, gratitude, all mixed… and I can’t believe I was fooled again. I feel like I can see again, and I remember other times that I could see…

Spider Web

How did I lose my vision, and why do I let it happen again and again? Sooner or later, the ego somehow comes back around, slowly slowly… maybe she remembers, as she grows, how important she thinks she is and what did her in the last time—love. She is good at words, at thinking, and defends herself by weaving beautifully intricate spider webs of logic, compelling reasons and brilliantly cunning barriers. She creates gripping sentences with her selective memory, stories that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is love that is not real. A master storyteller, her webs are decorated with passion and facts, the most painful details of the past; she makes sense, and I stop dead in my tracks on the path of love to examine the shining webs created, it seems, to protect me, to help me, to glorify me. Her traps are made of words, rational, practical words—the stickiest stuff made just for me, thin as silk but amazingly strong, perfectly capable of paralyzing me, of blinding me. Their artistry is so mesmerizing, I don’t notice that I have stopped, that the bliss is gone; it is too important to figure things out, to know, to see the webs through to the end. The ego never admits their real function, which is to maintain the illusion of her own existence; and she certainly never, ever admits that they are against love.

Still, seeing the motivation and mechanism of how and why the ego works against love is only useful if that vision helps to stop her. If I have truly seen all the traps and barriers, witnessed them, why don’t they burn up in that light of understanding for good?

Maybe this is just the nature of the path of love. Love is a process, and there is no such thing as happily ever after. The Hollywood fairy tales would have us believe that the real obstacle is finding love, falling in love. This just happens; this is part of the mystery of life, of nature. Romantic love is a door to the divine that can open for anyone who is open to it. It may make a good movie, but finding someone and falling once is the easy part.

Phoenix Nebula

To walk the real path of love means to fall again and again, to surrender again and again—not to win, but to lose, to give up, to let yourself and all your logical traps disappear. It’s not easy to see your ego and admit what she has created and why, and it doesn’t stop there. You will have to lose over and over; you will have to admit when she grows up between the cracks again and builds new webs in the same old places. But when you do…

If you dare to lose, dare to stand up, smash your own brilliant logic and stare yourself down in the light of day, you will win for real. The ecstatic disappearance of the self in the experience of love, in the opening of the heart, is the death of the illusion of the ego, and when you feel it, you know it was worth it, no matter how painful, no matter how many times that death has to happen. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, you will be born again, and it is the birth of the real you, the you without boundaries, wild and blissful and free; for the real traveler on the path of love, this is more than an experience… it is your destiny.

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