Thursday, August 29, 2013

Part 10- achieving non-judgment (2nd benefit of loving ourselves unconditionally)

 
Part 10- achieving non-judgment (2nd benefit of loving ourselves unconditionally)
When we love ourselves, we find that the judgment of ourselves ceases, and consequently our judgments of others cease.

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~Pema Chodron
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For instance, if someone makes a remark or a behavior and you find it repulsive, often it is something you may also judge in yourself.
Here are 3 examples of judgments:

1. I wouldn’t tolerate the same behavior or characteristic in myself. 

I am at a party and I see a very outspoken and interactive person moving throughout the crowd. I say to myself, “What a show-off, such a loud and obnoxious person!” This is because I would be embarrassed to act that way, and I resent and judge someone else doing it. If I really get in touch with my feelings, I might also realize that I may not fully express myself sometimes and I feel resentful when I see someone else doing it. If I can see the truth of this for myself then perhaps I can express myself more completely and that this would result in freer self-expression and freedom from the necessity to judge others in this way. Loving myself will help me not to fear the self-exploration, but to use this as a gift to myself.

2. I display the same behavior that I hate in others. I am “projecting” my dislike for that trait in me onto others.

I am talking with a friend who is telling me how she dislikes one of her friend's behaviors, and I think to myself, “She does the same thing she is criticizing about her friend.” It is always good to look within and see if we share some of the dislikes we have for others. Freedom comes when we love ourselves even with our projections. Eventually we can do self-exploration without feeling threatened or scared by our vulnerability to ourselves, but experience a loving exploration within ourselves. It will result in having self-love, and greater compassion and acceptance for others.

3. I am envious and resent the feelings that come up so I find something wrong with those who have what I want and end up judging them.

I notice that I am feeling resentful and jealous of my boss's success and prosperity. I think that I am glad I am not like him because he is such a snob.
If I get in touch with my feelings, I may consider that my boss's success feels threatening to me because of my lack of success. If I find something “wrong” with him, then I may avoid my own feelings of inadequacy.
Freedom comes when I become inspired by the success of others, and love myself with my feelings of inadequacy. In this way I have a free and open pathway to create my own success.

Most judgments of others are ego strategies to avoid facing our inner feelings. But, if we lack the awareness of what causes them, they can result in even more suffering down the line.
I am not saying that I cannot have likes and dislikes and preferences. And I can still find that certain types of behavior in others is unappealing. But when I look within, the ego tricks that we play with ourselves will begin to be exposed, and this is the process toward the authentic self.
After we practice loving ourselves, we no longer have the need to judge, because we find that facing our feelings in love is not something to be resisted, but something to be embraced. It is through this process that we become authentic. When we face the question why do I exhibit this behavior, or why do I have these unpleasant thoughts, or why do I constantly judge others, then we are on the journey to authenticity. And the way to arrive at our destination is to love ourselves unconditionally.
The old way is to hate those things or feelings that we would like to change. The new way is to love ourselves WITH those inner feelings. The love that we have for ourselves will initiate a transformation inside of us. Love never fails.
Rather than unconsciously participating in ego gratification by judging others, I let my reactions and judgments help me achieve greater self-understanding—and accordingly, greater happiness and success.
When I use my judgment of others as a mirror to show me the workings of my own ego, then every person’s reflection can become a valuable gift, making each person I encounter a teacher and a blessing. This is true freedom, when we release all comparisons to others from our thoughts, and allow our understanding to create compassion for ourselves and others.
Achieving non-judgment helps us to avoid the suffering we experience in the mind. Because we see a flat tire as bad, we may curse, and fear spending money, and regret the loss of time, etc. If we accepted the flat tire as a neutral event, we wouldn't suffer. The fact of the matter is that whether we see it as bad or as neutral, it doesn't change the outcome or what we have to do. We still need to change the tire. So it is what it is.
The hidden truth of this is that we don't realize, as we judge, that we are taking on a burden; the burden of diminishing the value of others as well as ourselves. When we practice non-judgment, we unburden ourselves from needless, self-created suffering.
Taking judgments from our minds results in eliminating a good portion of our thought life. What can we do with that? We can love, create, plan compassionate deeds, and generally have fun with ourselves. All in the experience of loving ourselves just as we are.

When I truly love myself, I will not judge myself, I will observe myself without assigning value (good and bad) to my actions. When I do this, I will be able to do the same for others. I will become an observer of my world, not a judge. Hooray!

Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

Next: the 3rd benefit from Loving oneself: Wholeness or oneness with myself is experienced.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Part 9- The benefits of loving oneself unconditionally

 
Part 9: the benefits of loving oneself

There are many benefits, but I will discuss 4 that I have seen in my own life:

  1. Forgiveness is realized
  2. non-judgment is achieved.
  3. Wholeness or Oneness with ourselves is experienced.
  4. We realize that we are worthy of divinity.


Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.”  ~Sri Chinmoy

Forgiveness

Loving oneself solves the problem of unforgiveness in our lives. When we were dependent on our ego to need the approval of others, we took great offense when others would criticize us or treat us with less attention than we thought we deserved. Once I love myself, those offensives begin to recede, because there is no longer any offense taken by us. We are secure in the love we have for ourselves. It is now more that we observe a friend trying to egg us into a drama scene or observing a comment that before would have upset us. We observe it but we DO NOT TAKE THE BAIT. Gratefulness becomes our stabilizing feeling, rather than the emotion of getting our feelings hurt.
In this way we are observers of the events of our lives and not reactors to the charged emotions that enter our minds.

Of course, if we sense aggression or other emotions from the person involved we should ask them to talk about it, but not so much for our sake alone, but for the valuableness of our relationship with that person, and the importance of understanding each other. Also, unforgiveness works both ways. When we sense that someone is offended by something we have done, in the past we might have been embarrased, and not wanted to be around that person again. When we are secure in who we are, we can go to the person and dialogue with them about what happened. Sometimes we can either explain ourselves without defensiveness, or we can apologize if we have hurt them, even though that was not (hopefully) our intention.

When we find ourselves “tagging” a person as someone who has hurt us, in other words every time we see that person or think of that person we return to our hurt and feel anger or unforgiveness toward that person, then it is important that we find “clearing” or forgiveness for that person. The problem is when we feel tragically wronged by another, we do not want to do this. We feel justified in our unforgiveness. This becomes a “barrier” to loving ourself and others.

A classic example of this is abuse we suffered in childhood. The degree of love we have for ourselves, is linked to the feelings we harbor in our hearts to those who have wronged us. Healing does not mean we necessarily have to re-engage a friendship with that person, but it does mean we have released them from any resentment or bitterness we might have. This results in freedom for us, and them. It enables us to love every part of ourselves.

The teaching from the Oneness University on the second chakra, is:

The world is our mirror. The things we see on the outside are reflections of our inner state of consciousness.

When we have unforgiveness for others, we harbor unforgiveness toward ourselves. To love ourselves unconditionally, we need to achieve forgiveness for all and everything.

Next part: achieving non-judgment

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Part 8- Loving Oneself Unconditionally

If you are new to this blog, please start from the beginning on this teaching. Scroll down to the June 28th entry and start from Part One! Enjoy

Part 8
This is my story of how I used a very simple process to love myself into wholeness.

Several years ago I faced my wounded inner child.
Like many folks, I have done a lot of work (therapy) with my inner child, my wounded child, the part of myself that experienced hurts and wounds as a child and who, of course, acted out from time to time, producing behaviors in the adult me. Usually we discover that these negative or fearful behaviors are very hard to change, because the root, or source of the behaviors lies in an experience that we had when we were little. For example, an adult who often feels abandoned or alone, might have experienced being deserted by a parent or a friend when they were young. Freedom comes as we allow our inner child to be healed, to experience again the charged past situation and see that our divine will heal that old memory and remove the source of our charged adult behavior. For me, I had experienced much healing for my child, and I felt it was time that my inner wounded child became my sacred child. It was time for us to be made whole.
So I took for a model (very loosely) the Lord's prayer. And instead of praying it to a God “out there”, I prayed and sang and said it as a mighty anthem or hymn to my sacred child within. I was stating my love for myself, my unconditional and child-like love for myself as I created the words to say to my sacred child. This is what I wrote:

 My prayer to my sacred child.

O sacred child who lies within,
Blessed be your Holy name. (singing)
I give you ascendancy in my life today,
and I leave ego far behind.
I open myself to receive provisions, necessities, blessings and wisdom
from you and the Universe.
I intend to harm no one today,
and if one harms me,
they are my teacher, and I love them.
O sacred child who lies within,
blessed be your holy name (singing)
May all grace and love flow to you today.
May all grace and love flow to ALL today thru me.

 Transformation
I said and sang these verses to my child every day for months, and I still say this prayer to myself frequently. At some point, after I had said these words for many months, I realized that my inner child was indeed, my sacred child and that we were whole, we were one. The verses represent the intention and completion of the unconditional love for myself. In my life, I have always thought that there was something “wrong” with me. I did not look right, or I did not feel like others, or I was “different” than others. Some of these feelings brought me in touch with my transgender nature. The work with my sacred child raised and transformed these thoughts and feelings to a grateful and wonderful appreciation of the grace of God and the Universe.......and yes, the grace of myself, just as I am!

I realized that loving myself unconditionally means that I love and accept myself with all of my hurts, and fears, and even.....weird behaviors! For many years I did not love myself because I was waiting to be perfect! This is a dualistic trap which insures self-misery. My poem to my inner child was the crowning piece I needed to love myself unconditionally and to completely move out of the space of looking at myself as somehow “incomplete”. The union of the Divine and our selves means that our sense of “lack” or our sense of “need” becomes transformed into the last line of my poem. (Let all peace and love flow to all today through me.) The love I have for myself is the same love by which I love others......unconditionally. Once I found the exquisite taste of loving myself, I saw how to continue to extend this lovingkindness to others!
At least for me, loving others unconditionally was not possible until I loved myself that way.

Over the past several parts, I have explained 3 processes by which to love ourselves.
  1. Be aware of our feelings, and CATCH ourselves when we are critical, and practice giving ourselves a break.......and love!
  2. Practicing a meditation, like mine with the “judge” or others, which allow your right brain to open new pathways in your brain, so loving yourself becomes natural.
  3. Singing, talking, or chanting to those subborn aspects of ourselves that need our assistance in loving and supporting ourselves.

I will share another way to love ourselves later, but next I will start explaining the benefits of learning to love ourselves.

Thank you all for reading this and please leave comments or questions. Be very blessed today.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Part 7- Loving Oneself Unconditionally


PART 7
Some more thoughts on the last exercise:
So the really neat thing is when we realize the love for our Judge, and consequently all the parts of ourself, the next time we see the judge pop out of a friend (judging either us or someone else), instead of being repulsed, or angry, or disappointed, or start to judge our friend, we SEE our friend with the same love and eyes by which we saw the judge within us, and we recognize that we have the choice to have compassion for our friend, and to have love for our friend.  The “love” we have for our friend, is the SAME LOVE we had for ourselves when we were able to love our judge.  In this way it becomes NATURAL…it is a part of us, based on our experience.  This is what it means to have an active mystical experience. We have an experience that is real within us, and when we see certain circumstances in the world, we can release our compassion according to our experience. In this way we do not “preach” at others, nor judge them, we only tell them or show them of our experience, if graced to do so.
When we can love or have compassion as the result of the experience that we had, our actions of lovingkindness become ….natural.
This is opposed to doing good works because we think we SHOULD do them in order to be a good person, or doing good works to get God's favor, or doing good works to get to Heaven. All of these motivations for doing good are found outside of our consciousness. We are doing good in order to get something for ourselves. This type of action is bound to cause us unhappiness and suffering, while the actions that flow out of our nature from loving ourselves, are the reward in themselves. We are just doing what we were created to do. This results in fully experiencing all of our lives, and being very aware of our lives, and this results in a great and abiding joy.

Meister Eckhart (1260-1327), a German theologian and mystic said, “The eyes with which I see God are the same eyes by which God sees me. They are the same.” This is a sweeping quote which declares that the mystical experience of God happens inside of ourselves. As we learn to love ourselves this leads to the natural discovery that this is a pathway to the realization of the divine within. Restating this quote for loving oneself, it becomes, “The love by which I love myself, is the same love by which I love others.” I love myself and do not judge myself, and therefore I do not judge others. I love myself and do not call myself names when I make a mistake, and therefore I do the same for others. I love myself and treat myself with respect, and I do the same for others. In this way, the authenticity of our love brightens and blesses the whole world.

Next: A personal example of loving myself from my own life.