The missing link in the chain of spirituality is self-love. We come to this astonishing discovery only after we have tried desperately to change ourselves, fix ourselves, reinvent ourselves adnauseum. None of it worked because there was no self-love behind it. Charity begins within.
Self-love is something that all of the great spiritual masters lived. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is within. He meant that it is within our own consciousness. Self-love cannot be bestowed by another. And the paradox is that we are all love. Love powers the universe.
When I lost my daughter to a childhood cancer at the age of seven, I was only 35 years old. I was in my early forties before I even began to heal. Grief for a child is different than for any other. You are facing not only the loss of the child, but their children’s children. The blank space not only opens up daily but also for generations. This loss set my feet firmly on the spiritual path. I began to read hundreds of books related to that subject. The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda was given to me by my mother. It was my first taste of eastern spirituality. Yogananda loved the Christ as well as Krishna. He showed me that love is love is love….
Still I had years ahead of me to make the astonishing discovery that self-love is the linchpin of life. Without that, we are useless to others because we will project our self-loathing onto them. I certainly tried. I often made life miserable for my family in the years after my daughter died. My husband and I were left with an eleven-year-old son who had his own grieving to do. My husband tried to neatly solve the problem of grief by becoming a workaholic. His self-love was on the back burner just as mine was. Just as everyone’s is. For our culture teaches us to love our neighbor as ourself. What it doesn’t reveal is that we must love ourselves first. That is the right order.
There is a wonderful book called I Come As A Brother, by Mary Margaret Moore. That book had a sentence that leapt out at me and changed my consciousness forever. She said that WE need love ourselves. And in so many words, until that happens, we cannot give what we don’t have.
So I began the daily practice of sitting quietly in my chair first thing in the morning and saying: I choose to love myself. Five little words that took me in a different direction. The scriptures became living lessons for me now. Once I chose to love myself, I could love my neighbor, for you are your neighbor. There is no division in the world of love. Your own wholeness feeds the multitudes with baskets of loaves and fishes left over. Your own consciousness leads the way to your healing.
Joel Goldsmith of The Infinite Way and author of many books, was an extraordinary mystic. He discovered that he was the “I am that I am.” So are we all. But we must do as he did, sit in silence affirming this until it becomes second nature to us, until it clicks. You will feel your body shifting from mechanical energy to conscious energy, allowing your being to purr like a contented cat. For now, everything is in right order. You have faith that within you is the power to move mountains, within you is love itself.
So if you are serious about learning to love yourself, do this. Sit down first thing in the morning and say, “I choose to love myself. I am in God’s presence now.” That is it. All you have to do. Your energy, by law, will change for the better. Then get up and go about your day. I like to put myself in a balloon of white light as well, asking that I may send love to others without receiving any of their stress and tension. Try it. Change your life from a mechanical one to a conscious one. It is worth your time on earth to learn to live for eternity. And love is the building block…always.
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