Start treating your Self like someone you love.
J. Mike Fields, Life Coach
Love shows up in most religious traditions as a most important thing. Jesus’ famous words agree with the teachers of his Jewish tradition that loving God and others as one’s self was the most important commandment. One whole branch of Buddhism makes loving kindness or compassion the essence of the Buddhist path. That’s encouraging. And, it creates a problem.
Do I love you, and “those people” and the Earth, because that’s what is in my heart or because I’ve been told that I’m supposed to?
If we listen to the chatter we say to ourselves much of the time, we might be shocked. Self-messages are almost always running memories of the messages we were handed early in life. “I’m stupid. I’m slow. I never get it right. I’m no good at this. I hate myself. I hate my life. I hate the way I look. I don’t know how. I’m no good.”
It seems to me that the path to love is always going to be difficult to stay on if we don’t start with ourselves. If we start the day with some gratitude for our lives, our attributes, our accomplishments, and the things we can do, then we have named things that we love about ourselves. If we can see things in ourselves that we love, the windows into other people become so much clearer and open–for loving them–even when they aren’t loving themselves.
Some religions don’t focus on love so much, but they do insist that there is no separation between you and me and that tree outside the window. Unitarian Universalists see an interdependent web of all existence. If that is true, then however I treat myself is how I treat you, and however I treat you is how I treat myself. We are inextricably linked, and so when I choose that pathway to love for myself, I’m choosing it for you, too.
Why love? Not because of a command so much as because of a view. When I see you, I must see me, and I want to be included in the circle of love. Love is the way the universe hangs.
Yes, Bob, you have discerned wisely and truly, I think. And if we love our selves–not in the ego sense–but in the soul and spirit sense, we attune to the flow aspect of life that moves and forms within our psyches. This is the way I sense the Inner Dynamics; psyche being the bridge. And psyche has lots of names, including The Divine Creatrix, or Soul of the Worlds (anima mundi). As I have learned and discerned, She is not only Love, but also the feeling life accessed via aesthetics. Or intuitive-sensing-feeling… which is the the medium (the texture and taste) of Love and Beauty Flowing. Thanks for your post.
Actually, Bob, there’s another phrase that needs to be added to what I offered. The more complete description of the last comment I was making is this:
She (the Mother Soul) is not only love, but also the feeling life accessed by aesthetic attunement: intuitive-sensing-feeling. This is the medium (the taste and texture) of Love and Beauty and Creative Inclusion Flowing.
The Creative Inclusion is the ever-present integrating element of Creative Evolution. The center of that Creative Evolution is the transcendent Being: God, Tao, whatever you choose to name that Ocean of Awareness.
When we enter that felt flow–I have realized–we are entering the Free Flow of
Life as “Creative Inclusion.”
In Truth, It is the doors of perception the link us with humanity. We are so right when we discover and acknowledge what we Love about ourself and how that enables you to love others. The flow between the 2 is universal. It’s always present but not always captured and developed. It is abstract until we Notice it, Name it and chisel out the true form that is inherent in the flow. Always interactive , creative, and aware of our relation with the whole of our existence.