How Can I love God more?
A Christian saint in France (St. Jean Vianney, the Cure d’Ars) once said, “If you only knew how much God loves you, you would die for joy!”
Swami Kriyananda, the founder of the worldwide communities of Ananda and a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, said encouragingly, “When you pray, pray for devotion.” Yogananda once quipped to Swami Kriyananda, “How can the little cup hold the whole ocean?” This was in response to Swamiji’s silent prayer, “Teach me to love you as you love me.”
Our capacity to love God is limited by our attention on our little self, the ego. But God’s love is infinite. But that’s the problem: “infinite” is too big for us at first.
Pray then each day to God to feel even a bit of God’s love. It’s not useful to think of “God’s love for me!” Rather, try to simply feel the presence, power, and/or sweetness of love itself. As you experience love, you will know it is the living presence of God and that such love is both impersonal and personal — personal because felt by you; impersonal because without condition, it simply is.
As you fall in love with love, this presence will gradually become more clarified in several ways. You will find yourself attracted to a saint or master in whom God’s love has incarnated purely so that you can relate to God in human form (rather than only abstractly or only inwardly). Perhaps you already have a devotion to Jesus Christ; or perhaps you are already a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.
In any case, as your experience of unconditional love deepens and expands you will also find yourself to be a more loving person without regard to how others respond to you. As Swamiji would put it: “I choose to love because I am happier loving than hating.”
Thus the purity and strength of the unconditional love you feel will draw to you God in a form you can love, and, at the same time, allow you to manifest that love to others. Of course, you must be careful that in respect to other people your love not become attached to others.
For this reason, Yogananda counseled us to seek God’s joy (bliss) rather than love, lest we overly personalize the feeling of love into attachment (a precursor to more suffering). But perhaps that direction is not what you feel you need at this time.
So to conclude: rather than thinking of how to love God more, think instead, of “How can I feel God’s love?” In fact, each day pray to God to help you feel devotion. In time, your love for God will grow because it will be a natural response to love itself which is God.
Blessings and joy to you!
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