“I have three treasures. Guard and keep them: The first is deep love, The second is frugality, And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world. Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.”Lao Tzu
In a different translation of this quote, deep love is referred to as compassion. Regardless of the word, love or compassion, being mindful of love and compassion cultivation is essential for balance and healing. Without self love and compassion, the ability to feel and extend love toward others becomes shadowed with the shadow and the unseen.
Cultivation of self love is purely a western thing. The Dalai Lama directed his outreach to the west after coming to the deep understanding of this serious issue, of the inability to love oneself and to extend kindness and compassion inside. Paradoxically, our Western culture has created a billion dollar self help industry and a hyper focus on issues and the analysis of every feeling, thought or movement that comes into our mind. We overly identify with the story we give to the moment until it becomes our identity. We must know our story of origin, that which has shaped us, but at a certain point, we must drop the constant search for self help and cultivate self inquiry into seeing what is actually here.
Self inquiry requires asking ourselves in daily life to say, “oh, I see I am having a reaction, I see I am having an issue…can I allow for this reaction to be here? Can I give it the space it needs?” It is somewhat paradoxical to do this practice as it requires a certain amount of self love and compassion, yet the continued practice of this internal spaciousness builds and sustains self love and compassion. To build this spaciousness we can use meditation as our tool.
But to use meditation as a tool, we must also be mindful of where we are and to choose the right meditation for the job. It may be too difficult to start with this place of noticing and allowing in the moment. This is where practicing loving-kindness key. A minimum of 40 days is needed to shift the psyche. There also may be trauma or unmet needs that require a teacher, a therapist or sitting with community. As interconnected creatures, cultivating self love comes from also the reflection of others of like values, their mirror neurons feeding ours.
The benefits of cultivating self love and compassion through self inquiry are many: increased happiness, increased vitality, greater contribution to the world in a meaningful way, improved relationships…
If you would like more information on an individualized practice, email me, Rita Moran, at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time for us to meet. We all go through bumps in life that require tending, the kindness of another to bring us home to what matters most. There is no need to do it alone!
I will continue with “energy management” or being frugal with the use of our energies in the next post.
Rita Moran is a licensed physical therapist in the state of Maryland and runs a private practice specializing in the transformative wisdom of yoga, meditation, and Reiki. For her private physical therapy page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Integrative-Wellness-LLC/20077090182?fref=ts
www.oneheartpath.org for Rita’s blog
www.oneheartpath.com for more of Rita’s work