Momminess and Universal Love

I sometimes call my wife ‘Her Momminess’. You don’t really need to be a mother or even a woman to have momminess in patterns of your feelings, emotions, words and behaviors. And, of course, there are degrees of momminess.

You have momminess if you can intensely feel for your family as a whole unit as much as you can feel your own personal pains and pleasures.

A family as a whole unit is a living thing by itself: it includes members, home, backyard, flowerpots, fluffy pets and how each of them feels about themselves and how they feel about each other, living or not.

You have momminess if your stomach churns and your chest tightens uncontrollably when you have a negative thought that a member might come to harm from a very improbable cause like an asteroid hit.

You have momminess if you are truly and unconditionally overjoyed when something actually improves for the family or even just when chances of improvement increase.

If you can actually feel in your heart and bones how the family as a unit is relating to itself and feeling about itself, you have an acute condition called severe momminess syndrome.

Whenever you are in states of momminess, you magically grow big and your family becomes part of you, as if it had morphed into one of your limbs or become one of the ventricles of your own heart and brain.

Family of Everyone and Everything

Now, draw a circle and put everything that you can think of into that circle: yourself, family, community, state, nation, world, planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, heavens and hells and the vast spaces that separate them. Then, think of all the unthinkable and unknowable things and add them into the circle. Finally, gather whatever darkness that is left out and add all of it into the same circle and give this circle a label: ‘All’.

The moment something comes into existence, very implicitly a relationship is also magically born, which is the relationship that it has with itself. Self-relationship comes out of the very fact of existence. It is not caused by anything. Self-relationship simply is a fact along with existence; self-relationship is co-existent with existence.

Feeling Incomplete

In what seem like extremely rare and fortunate circumstances a piece of All has a capacity to subjectively “feel” its own self-relationship and becomes conscious. ‘You’ exist as a piece of All. And ‘you’ have a self-relationship just as All has its own self-relationship.

By your capacity for feeling your own self-relationship, you have divided All into two pieces: ‘you’ and the ‘rest’. This capacity also divided and separated you away from All; though this is not actually possible, it seems this way. This delusion seems very robust, at least in most normal states of your mind.

When it seems that you are small and separate from All, you feel curious about the ‘rest’ and also feel incomplete. Curiosity drives you to want to understand and conquer the ‘rest’ and make it part of ‘yours’; incompleteness drives you inexorably to find completeness.

You look for completeness everywhere and all the time. You look for completeness by climbing peaks, digging down to the roots of mountains, looking under rocks in Mars, making as much of the ‘rest’ as ‘yours’, accumulating knowledge, accomplishments, wealth, status, relationships etc. This approach toward feeling complete usually leads to transient satisfaction and generally proves a fool’s errand.

Feeling Universal Love

Intellectually understanding that the feeling of incompleteness is only due to the delusion of separateness is insufficient to actually feel complete. We have a model to feel complete: Universal Momminess. To be established in Universal Momminess, a deep conviction about being part of the Family of Everyone and Everything and daily contemplative practices and behaviors consistent with that conviction form the path forward.

Now, imagine the kind of wholesome human flourishing that is possible when your feelings, emotions, thoughts, words and actions are rooted in this understanding.

All compassionate ordinary people, compassionate leaders and enlightened Yogis exhibit varying degrees of momminess. By growing and becoming established in their capacity to feel broader than their small selves, they become big; and in higher states of mind, emotions, and behaviors, as big as All.

(Originally posted here)

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Jay Ramalingam

Jay Ramalingam

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All too Human, Engineer, Leader, Yoga Teacher, Ever the Student