One of the most pervasive and difficult to grasp concepts in yoga is Prem, or universal, divine love.
Pervasive because every single great Saint and yogi says that in the true reality all there is, is love. Love is Truth. Love is the essence of everything.
Difficult to grasp because the Love they are talking about is not the kind of “love” that most people experience on a daily basis. Most normal relationships that would be described as loving involve attachments and are influenced by our own emotional and mental issues and attitudes. They come with a fear of loss and lots of desires to fulfill your own needs through someone else. The closest we usually come to Prem in our daily lives is the unbounded all-consuming and all-giving love of a good mother for her newborn child, and even this might be said to include attachment for the one baby that is hers. Because we can’t get away from our minds, it’s difficult to grasp the kind of love that doesn’t involve the judgments of our minds.
Prem, divine love, has no attachments or requirements. It is unbounded joy and giving. It is Bliss that bubbles up from your core. It includes everyone and everything – even people that don’t look or think like you, that come from somewhere or sometime else so you can’t understand why they think that way. It includes all animals, plants, rocks, rivers, everything. Because it taps into the essence of all these things.
Only by experiencing divine Prem can one be said to truly be working in the spirit of karma yoga or selfless service.
Recently I have been taking an Ayurveda course to learn more about the medical branch that supports yoga. Ayurveda is a natural healing method, which believes that food is medicine, and it affects your mind and your body. So the important thing is to eat foods that are good for you according to your body type and the seasons, so that you can live a long and healthy life, and have more time to practice yoga.
Eating proper food and living a spiritual life will help your mind have the clarity to understand (digest) relationships and concepts that are difficult, and to see them in their True light.
The course is written by Dr. David Frawley, an Ayurveda expert, among other things. I found this quote in his course that is particularly poignant talking about Prem and what you have to do if you really want to feel love:
Love is the only emotion that can really be digested. The others we must learn to deflect with the detachment of our awareness. Love, it should be noted, has many forms as compassion, devotion, joy, etc. It is our failure to love, to be loving, which is the source of all emotional disturbances. The desire to be loved, on the other hand, is a failure to give love. Our real emotional nourishment comes from within as the power of love. We cannot simply pick it up form the outside like we can good food, though as children, when our inner connections are not entirely formed, we require love from outside to sustain us. ~Dr. Frawley
So give love. All the time. It will come back to you.