Peaceful, wholly contained moments: sometimes they come to us while in nature, sometimes when family is in ‘sync’, sometimes within an embrace. It’s as if a blessing descends, we’re in our body, and the body knows that everything is perfect: we feel uplifted and at home in an expanded, balanced center. “I am here, my heart is happy, this is real, love is here, and it’s eternal.”
As you might guess, we’re starting out with the ‘perfect moment’ because I recently enjoyed one. My six-year-old granddaughter was visiting, and for about an hour, daddy and a bunch of uncles were helping her play with some new, funny ‘sticky’ blocks. When the clowning around was over, I left the room for a bit, and returned to see an entirely different picture: she was engrossed in music with one of the uncles. I watched as they listened to the Japanese drums, then the didgeridoo, then the African drums.
Relationship, connection, communication: they hardly noticed me standing there, gazing at them and past them out the window. I saw her aliveness in peace and joy, and the whole room in that state, the sun setting outside in that state, my own inner universe in that state… a moment of beauty, and it will always be.
I’m thinking this morning about how seldom we experience those uplifted and expanded moments. When living what is called ‘a normal life’, we may not experience them at all. I haven’t often thought about that… how it’s imperative that we feel a connection, first within ourselves and then with another; to feel is to live is to love.
In normal life, relationships are more often entanglements, and they do go dead. It’s not surprising that they would. When we’re functioning by habit, saying what is expected, doing what is required, finding reasons to not look into change, we get what we ask for: nothing is deepened, nothing is expanded, nothing is uncovered, and unfortunately, no one is truly loved. We simply can’t muster the trust in ourselves to step up… to connect, to feel something greater, to love.
So, let’s say we’d really like to be abnormal, and experience what love is. In fact, it seems kind of imperative since what else is there? To do this, our first love encounter must to be with ourselves. Now, I know this is not news. If we’ve been doing ‘consciousness work’, we know about loving ourselves, and I’m sure there are plenty who succeed in that, beautifully. But then again, the underside of this work is like the underside of religion. We can get mired in self-disapproval, often unconsciously, and perhaps even more mired than a religious person because we’re so into self-improvement practices.
Our minds are jammed full of directions and of course that means potential errors: “I just had a negative thought, is it wrong to want a new car, I forgot to do my affirmations, my room is not zen, why don’t I see the things that other people see, I really don’t love that person and I should, there’s not enough feeling in my intent, is that my ego, I still haven’t manifested abundance, I must not be raising my energy enough.”
Yes, there is such a thing as mental gobbledygook. Unfortunately, it leads to us imposing judgments upon ourselves, and whispering criticisms into our own ear. While we might grant someone else approval, forgiving them, knowing that their behavior comes from pain and fear, and it will likely change over time with acceptance and encouragement, we won’t grant the same acceptance to ourselves.
A few weeks ago I was in conversation with a young woman, listening to her talk about how she loves a certain man. I suggested that she focus on loving herself first, otherwise it could lead to losing herself in the relationship, and that’s an unhappy place she had already visited. When I made the suggestion, she began immediately to look for things about herself that she could love. As I watched her seeking reasons, it felt sad.
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