Nurturing love, kindness, and compassion are The Big Deal, but for most of us, the intention to try to create love and live a happy life while we’re here is often put aside due to “the nature of things,” which (as Edmund Burke once wrote) is a sturdy adversary. The nature of things causes us to forget. In his book Present Moment, Wonderful Moment, Thich Nhat Hanh writes:
“We often become so busy that we forget what we are doing or even who we are. I know someone who says he even forgets to breathe! We forget to look at the people we love and to appreciate them, until it is too late. Even when we have some leisure time, we don’t know how to get in touch with what is going on inside and outside of ourselves.”
We also forget that we are beloved of God. Lately I’ve been thinking again about how I might BE love, and the thought popped into my mind that with love, you can only become it by doing it. In order to be one with love, we must love. I was reminded of a mantra: Aham Prema (ah-HAHM PREH-mah) that means simply “I am divine love.” The power of Aham Prema lies in its ability to take away our doubts and defenses and let us rest in nurturing love, light, kindness and compassion. Aham Prema is a mantra that we can hold in our hearts all the way through life’s lessons. It softens our armor and helps us grow.
Let Aham Prema accompany you for these days of Lent. Try whispering it to yourself 108 times once or twice a day, and see what you notice about your life and the people in it. It won’t cost a dime and it takes less than five minutes. As you recite Aham Prema, try to accept that you are divine love (no small task, but true nonetheless); look at it in your cupped hands, hold the divine in your hands, hold it in your heart, breathe the divine love that’s already in your heart. There is no place for anything but Aham Prema. Say to yourself “I am divine love.” Try to grasp that. Know that you already embody this love for others. Know that you are divine love just the way you are.
aham prema, aham prema, aham prema, aham prema, aham prema…
Seen above and on front-page mastheads: “Disput” by Margret Hofheinz-Döring (Attribution: Margret Hofheinz-Döring/Galerie Brigitte Mauch Göppingen)