Relationships on the Spiritual Path—Part 3: The Plane of Love

heart path

For most of my life, love fit into boxes. There was “family love,” the kind of love you have for your mother or father or child. There was “romantic love,” the love of your soul mate or lover. There was love for animals, the kind of pure, devotional love you might feel for your pet. Love fit nicely into defined containers—until about 8 years ago. Then I started experiencing love in ways I couldn’t quite explain. It started with experiences in nature. I would gaze at a waterfall, and then WHAM. My heart would explode with butterflies and I would BE the waterfall and I would make love with that waterfall, as if I had just fallen in love. Tears would spill down my cheeks and I would feel so exposed I could hardly stand it. Or I would call in the Cheetah or meet a cheetah on safari in Africa and my chest would get cracked open as if I’d just had heart surgery. Love would burst out of me and through me and I would love those whales or that cheetah more than I had ever loved anything in my whole life. My whole body would be buzzing with love, a vibrating tenderness emerging from the sanctuary of my heart.

My mind didn’t know what to make of it.

Then it started happening with people I’d never met before. I would meet a stranger, gaze into his or her eyes, and BAM. My heart would get zapped and blown open, and it confused me. The mind kicks in. Am I in love with this person? Wait, but it’s a woman that just blew open my heart. Am I gay? Wait, it’s a married man who just blew open my heart. Am I a home wrecker? It’s a gay man who just blew open my heart. Am I supposed to become his first female lover? Confusing!

Then it started happening with patients of mine. We’d be in tender conversation, entering deeply personal, psycho-spiritual territory as part of the healing process, and WHAP. The heart bursts open for us both, and suddenly someone with a supposedly “incurable” illness, someone who has failed every medical treatment out there, has a “spontaneous” remission and the illness disappears. What the heck is that? Now I no longer see patients, but this phenomenon sometimes happens when I teach workshops or work one-on-one with my mentoring clients. What is happening? What does it mean?

Love Can Be Confusing

It’s only recently that I’ve realized that these experiences happen to the other people at the same time it’s happening to me. Sometimes when I feel my heart blown open, the other person is experiencing the same thing. The woman I just met is feeling her heart burst open, and she’s wondering if she’s gay. The married man and the gay man are feeling confused by this heart-opening they’re feeling with me. The patient who just had the spontaneous remission is thinking, “WTF?” The person at the workshop is flooded with question marks. This love doesn’t fit under the category of family love or romantic love or pet love. But it’s LOVE, nonetheless, a love that may be even more profound than the love one has for a parent or a lover. What is this? What do we do with it?

The Plane of Love

I was talking about this with a friend of mine, and I was using the term “evolutionary love” because I didn’t know what to call it. She asked me to explain what I meant by “evolutionary love,” so I tried pitifully to translate the ineffable into words.

Your heart bursts open and your chest is filled with butterflies and you feel this rush of tenderness so exquisite that you feel almost uncomfortably exposed and vulnerable. Love is hemorrhaging out of you but it’s not going to hurt you because even more love is flooding into you from some invisible Source, so you know you’re never going to run out of this kind of love. There’s an infinite supply and it fills you like a waterfall that spurts out of you so fast you can barely breathe. As this happens, the borders between you and the being you love start to dissolve. The membrane that separates you vanishes and you feel like you ARE that person or animal or mountain, as if there’s no boundary between you. You lose yourself in this love. Lose yourself into what? Into Oneness? It’s hard to describe. It’s simultaneously terrifying and wondrous, filling you with awe and light. The mind drops away at some point and all you feel is an indescribable beauty and openness, a sweetness that bubbles up through you and rushes through your body like warm honey. If you lean all the way into it, you feel like you’ll get lost in it, like you’ll never come back, but if you can resist the temptation to guard against it, you feel deep connection and intimacy. Every sense is heightened. Colors are technicolor. The wind on your skin gives you goosebumps. There’s erotic charge in the present moment and everything feels Alive.

My friend responded, as matter-of-factly as if she was reading the label on a soup can, said, “Oh, you mean the plane of love.” Her husband and I had experienced this together, this plane of love. She advised, “The experience is sacred and true, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means. Take it as a beautiful crystal that you put into your heart and then let it go. You’re not special. He has this experience with many people.” She went on. “Maybe this is where we’re all going, where we’re all living in the plane of love with everyone else, but we’re not there yet. So for now, just cherish this experience and don’t make up a story about it.”

Her advice rang true. It felt like it explained what I had experienced time and time again—not just with beloved family members and romantic partners, but also in nature, with friends, and with people I didn’t even know at all. I go to the plane of love often, sometimes with strangers, and it’s confusing, both for me and for other people.

Variations of the Plane of Love

The person I’ve visited the plane of love with most often and most predictably is my mystical soul twin brother Dennis. (Some say he’s my “twin flame,” though we’re not really sure what that means. Read more about my twin flame relationship with Dennis here. When we go to the plane of love together—often through ecstatic dance, meditation together out in nature, or eye gazing, we have very different experiences. The yogis say there are four paths to God, and if this is true, then Dennis experiences the “jnana” path (the path of knowledge or truth) and I experience the “bhakti” path (the path of devotion). You might also frame it as the Sacred Masculine path and the Divine Feminine path. (Read about the difference between the two paths here.)

I asked Dennis to describe his experience of the plane of love, and here’s what he wrote:

What I experience is a deep pull to go inside when I am with you—an open invitation to let go. Letting go of everything I know myself to be and dropping into the heart or the unknown, which is staring me in the eyes through your eyes. I can see It right beyond the skin of your face, right behind the gaze of your eyes. I can drop my focus a little and “see” inside you, “see” inside me and feel this pull to let go more. I let go of my emotions, body tensions, all of my senses, and I slide into deep relaxation, feeling loved, and safe, more so than I do with any other. The experience is deeper, more in sync, more in harmony, allowing a deeper dropping in. What I experience after that dropping away is like a freedom of inner dialogue, a freedom of self-reflection, an intense and loud silence, a love for all beings and everyone. I come face to face with a deep Presence in the moment. No concepts or thoughts distract me from the “now.” I experience a deep, childlike joy to play in this beautiful world, seeing the world as sparkly and new—the unknown realm beyond any thought concept, as if I’m seeing the beauty and the holiness of the world through a newborn baby’s eyes. In this plane, I realize that boundaries are not real, that I can have anyone close to me without compromising my integrity. When I’m not in the plane of love, my value system is based on thought and concepts that get in the way of unconditional love for all beings. But in the plane of love, you can even let “strangers” come all the way into your heart. You could comfortably hold them in your arms while you sleep, touching and caressing and even kissing- just seeing the essence and beauty of their being, without any doubts or thoughts of the repercussions outside the plane of love. Only the mind with all its concepts says you can’t be this intimate with strangers. In the plane of love, we’re all One and love is all there is.

To get to the plane of love, I need to feel safe. You make me feel safe. Once I’m there, I have no doubt that I’m safe and nothing can make me feel unsafe. I feel nothing but deep love, connectivity, and Oneness. My mind is quiet, so I don’t know who I am or where I am. I’m just this moment in true bliss, like a child in the garden of Eden. It’s a true gift of freedom—freedom of the mind and the conceptual world, freedom from stories of what’s right or wrong, how I like to be treated . . . blablabla—all the stuff that holds no true reality once you see the “truth” of it, once you see through it to the love underneath it all.

Come Off the High

The most confusing part of visiting the plane of love is that, like any high, there’s usually a crash. And this part is hard on the everyday human. When you enter that space of absolute unconditional love, whether it’s through meditation, a near death experience, a mystical experience out in nature, or through the eyes of another person, it’s easy to grasp at that feeling of utter and complete love, and it’s hard to lose it. If you access the plane of love through another human, it’s also tempting to credit them for the experience or to grow addicted to the person. But it’s not the person who took you to the plane of love. It’s Consciousness Itself, embodying a person. Easy to say. Hard to handle. To the human self, it feels like you were wrapped in these Great Arms of Love, and then the Arms of Love abandoned you. Like an addict wanting another dose of crack, you’ll mistakenly think you need the person who was the portal to the plane of love. This can lead to obsessive thoughts, disruptive dreams, even stalking behavior.

In Eastern religious traditions, if you accessed the plane of love through a guru, maybe through an experience of “shaktipat,” you would move into the ashram and the community would know how to help you ground and handle the experience. But humans are waking up! And we’re going to the plane of love without a guru or a transpersonal psychologist or anyone who can help us make sense of this experience. Coming off the high is inevitable, but we can handle it by being gentle with ourselves and one another. Perhaps we really are going through an evolution of consciousness, and we’ll all be spending most of our time in this zone in the future, but for right now, be grateful you got to visit the plane of love without attaching to keeping it as a steady state. If you find yourself struggling, consider seeing a transpersonal or depth psychologist or an experienced spiritual counselor.

The good news is that this kind of experience is no longer reserved for mystics, yogis, and gurus. If you haven’t already experienced this frequency, you’re likely to bump into it soon, and when you’re there, you’ll feel the Oneness that exists between us all right now.


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