For the last 8 years Chameli and I have been practicing and teaching an approach to intimate relationship which we call the Deeper Love. It has arisen one hundred percent out of our own personal experience, and our longing to bridge a schism which can often be confusing and painful. We have taught this as a seminar both in the US and in Europe.
I started to guide people into awakening in 1991 at the invitation of my teacher H.W.L. Poonja. He asked me to “share the secret with my friends.” My wife at the time and I returned back to Seattle, where we had previously been living, and I started giving “Satsang.” People would come to our small apartment, just 8 or 10 at first, to find out what I had been up to in India. It didn’t take long for that same realization of spaciousness to become infectious. Soon the meetings grew from 10 to 30, then from 30 to one hundred. It was during those first months that our first son, Abhi, was born. A couple years later we had Shuba, our second child.
So there I was, after a few years, giving teachings to people all over the world that were profoundly impacting their lives and helping them experience the “Big Love,” — and I also had a personal life: I was married with children. It was sometimes confusing and disorienting to discover that the “Big Love” we shared in Satsang and on retreats was not sustained at home. I was still experiencing the same kinds of conflict, misunderstanding, and shutting down as I had known all my life, not only in my own relationships, but I had also seen in my family growing up. Eventually that marriage fell apart amidst feelings of failure, deep disappointment, and some sense of hypocrisy that I had been unable to live, in my personal life, what I had been teaching on a bigger scale.
Several years passed, and I had a couple of other relationships, of a year or more. When the last of those ended, I was already in my early 40’s. There came an irreversible pivotal point in my life. I remember sitting out on the deck behind my house one night, when all at once this schism came to full focus in my awareness. It was like a stain on the carpet which has always been there, but when you see it one day in a new light, it becomes suddenly unbearable. One one hand, there is the heart’s deepest realization: of oneness, of love as our very essence, of what is really important. On the other hand, there is our personal capacity to live this realization in a tangible way. In that moment I realized something new. If I died one day, end up at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter said, “Ah, yes, Arjuna Ardagh… well, you did alright, but you never reached the ultimate peaks of enlightenment,” that would be okay. I could live with myself for getting a B- on the enlightenment scale. But what if I arrived to be greeted by St. Peter who said, “Ah yes, Arjuna Ardagh… we are sorry to see from the report that you never fully gave the love that was waiting to be given in your heart.” That night I realized that would not be okay. That night I came to recognize that love itself — not the vast and impersonal, expansive, I-love-everybody kind of love, but the personal, intimate, vulnerable, roll-over-on-your-back-and-expose-your-underbelly kind of love — is a more compelling reason for being alive, for me, than any kind of peak spiritual state.
Three weeks later I met an extraordinary woman, who had come to the exact same realization in her own life.
We became friends for a few months. Finally, once Chameli and I decided to get together in a more intimate way, we made an agreement that it would be all or nothing. No more compromise. No more schism between what could be and what is. We joined together in irreversible commitment to live a Deeper Love.
We have our moments of course, but overall, I am delighted to tell you that our experiment has worked. For eight years people have been asking when we are going to write a book about the Deeper Love? We’ve always hesitated because it is something hard to explain in a book. It is not really a conceptual practice, but more visceral, something that you live. We have taught it all over the world in seminars. This week we began recording the Deeper Love multi-media set: ten CD’s, 3 DVD’s, a workbook, practice cards, and a book of Deeper Love insights. It should be ready in a couple of months.
We’ve discovered some basic fundamental principals, “tricks” if you’d like, which allow the current of Deeper Love to flow through the habits of the personality. The Deeper Love can marinate into your personal life, long before you think you’re done fixing everything you fear is wrong with you. We’ve discovered a way to transform neurosis into an art form.
I would like to invite you to join Chameli and myself on this Saturday, January 16th at 10 am for a free tele-seminar where we will share with you the principals that guide our practice.
If you feel really inspired you might also like to join us from April 1st to the 5th in Hawaii where we will be leading a Deeper Love retreat for couples and singles.