How to LOVE all of Your Self: Part 1 of 4
Working at accessing your inner wisdom is not a quick journey or an easy one. The world we live in is driven by instant gratification, which is why I believe this journey is such a courageous one: it takes guts to deliberately undertake something that is both slow and difficult.
The last sentence of the Ethics of Spinoza makes this clear, “But everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find.”
Let’s go back and take a brief look at what you have accomplished so far. During this last 24-week journey, you have mined into various parts of yourself and your story.
In Step 1 you practiced awareness skills to SEE yourself and how your beliefs and ways of being with choice affect you and all those around you.
In Step 2 you practiced awareness skills and developed insights into how to ACCEPT who you are based on your life stories, and how you show up in the world.
During these awareness phases, you broadened your range of incoming thoughts and sensations (feeling / emotions) and questioned your ongoing thinking and ways of being.
You also had time to identify with, and work with your habitual ways of being and/or addictions while bringing awareness to your story(ies) underlying these ways of being.
Step 3, this next phase of the Dare to Ask journey, is about owning your individual truth and working with your choices as you shift from awareness to consciousness. With full consciousness, you can make lasting change and develop a trust in yourself and the world.
Committing to your individual truth is a deeply transformational act that shifts you towards your individual power. From this space with Self, you will develop a love for your Self and a love for your ways of being. The benefits of this growth is emotional authenticity as you step into the choice of attitude, as opposed to the hellish strangulation of compulsion and instant gratification.
The greatest benefit: A release from all fear and connection to flow (love/kindness) within your Self, and towards all others and all things in the world.
Reexamine the diagram below and see that in Step 3 you are opening to the inner wisdom that your Spirit is the part of you that has full access to choice. Your body, mind and soul cannot change in their basic form. However, the Spirit of your Humanness is all about choice. This connection with your individual Spirit (Self) is what drives your ways of being through your body, mind and soul, be they kind or unkind. When fully connected to your individual Spirit you can wake up to the choice of your Spirit’s intention.
Through understanding the truth of this universal inner wisdom you will find it easy to be present with your healthy ego and choose an intentional Spirit of love / kindness / compassion / harmony etc in all that you think, do and say. When disconnected from your Spirit, as human beings we are no more than the walking dead as we over identify with our unhealthy ego, remain unconscious and too often we are unkind, egotistical, judgmental and unaware.
From this open space, and I quote from Frankl, we can “turn suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; derive from guilt (shame and blame) the opportunity to change oneself for the better and; derive from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action.” In this space of love and acceptance, you don’t have to deny or hide your dark side in the mask of shame, guilt or blame. Instead, you can live in the full presence of your life story and choose to seek out your light, where you can courageously access the strengths of kindness, compassion, harmony and love as you connect with all that is possible for Becoming as Human.
We achieve this by developing the art of living in True Will.
I have been asked by many people what True Will means, so let me explain.
When embarking on a life event such as losing a few pounds or moving house, are these moments in your life journey an effort or enjoyable? When these choices feel like an effort, then you are living in False Will.
It is generally easier to live in True Will with planned change and more challenging to live in True Will with natural and unplanned change.
This does not mean that one always has to be happy. Suffering is inevitable. For example; when we’re ashamed of being unhappy, deny being unhappy or unhappy about being unhappy, then we are also living in False Will. Once again in the words of Frankl, “If one cannot change a situation that causes suffering, one can still choose one’s attitude.” When fully conscious in the face of any of life’s challenges you can access your Spirit, and even in the toughest times, you can choose an attitude of intentional kindness over any other way of being. In the words of the Dalai Lama, “Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible.”
Living in True Will means being with love and gratitude with anything we feel duty bound to do, or have chosen to do. I now practice this space of love when doing the dishes. (Although I still lack the courage to pick up an iron and try this. )
How often do we grumble and moan when faced with some menial task! Yet in this modern day of chasing external gratification I have found the most grace and comfort through finding meaning in the little things. I have achieved this by becoming conscious through daily practices of silent listening and compassionate communication.
To do so, I consciously had to find courage to change my thoughts and my words. I changed menial to little, can’t to can, should to want, why to how, I wish to I have, if only to gratitude to mention a few.
You may ask why I would do this? Because like many I aspire to being great. Not in a vain or egotistical way. Let’s look at the last sentence of the Ethics of Spinoza again, “But everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find.” I aspire to this greatness and I accept that the journey back to my Spirit is not a quick one or an easy one. I grew to this realization through finding meaning in my suffering and that is why I choose to share and teach from this gift that I have been given. It was in the pain of my story that I found courage to seek purpose.
I quote again from Frankl, “It is true that Saints form a minority. More than that, they always remain a minority. And yet I see therein the very challenge to join the minority. For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.”
Each of us is rare to find as we are all perfectly unique human beings. Education and media encourage us to think alike in mind, to look alike in body, with little to no emphasis on nurturing our soul or our spirit. Even modern day religion tends to focus on the outer circle in the diagram above, skipping the steps to nurture the inner circles with equal amounts of time. After all, we came to this life as a soul with spirit, in the form of a body, with a mind to open, grow and transcend, not close and infuse with limiting beliefs that support the unhealthy ego.
But, how do we get to a place of being able to live in True Will?
- First, we need to be conscious of our ways of being with our beliefs, thoughts, behaviors and spoken words.
- Second, we need to learn to accept the flow of life, moment-by-moment even if it turns out differently from our original intention.
- Third, we need to let go of our attachment to the expected results of our original intention.
- Fourth, we need to develop practices that help us stay grounded in conscious awareness so that we can remain a witness of Self, integrated as body, mind, soul and Spirit.
- And lastly, here in truth, we can honor a way of living in True Will.
In the moments when I am aware that I disconnect from my Spirit, (usually driven by fear or pain), I am grateful for my practices of meditation and prayer that keep me conscious and accepting of myself as a beginner. These spiritual practices help me to stay grounded and be present for each precious moment that I have.
How does one accomplish this presence of grace?
You have been on this journey for the last 24 weeks and if you have undertaken all of the previous 12 exercises then you have started the practice and are prepared for the next step.
To be a graceful master at anything, the intention is to continue, knowing it takes time and learning to trust a connection with your inner wisdom on the journey.
- Do you have the courage to align your truth with your intention?
- Do you aspire to being your greatest Self?
- Do you aspire to a Life of Joy?
With each exercise you will explore your current truth, challenge your comfort level and engage in a practice for expansion. As you practice growing this part of yourself, you will experience more confidence and self-trust.So let’s get right to it and start your first of these 4 exercises, as you bring awareness to your relationship with your Spirit.
Exercise 13 – What attitude does your Spirit bring to your ways of being?
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To acknowledge if and how you nurture your Spirit.
- To work with your Spirit’s inner wisdom and access its knowing of kindness, so that you can bring it forth daily as a conscious intention.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercise below. Download your journal pages for exercise 13 here.
How do you nurture you Spirit?
Take time to read the following two practices and then answer the question below:
Evening Gratitude Practice
Before you go to bed every night, take 5 minutes or more and practice conscious gratitude / prayer / compassionate communication (call it what you will). (I tend to take about 30 minutes.)
At the end of the day pray to God (or your higher power).
- Thank God for assisting you in doing the things you asked yourself to do today.
- Ask God for strength and courage to guide you through your next day and your commitments to yourself with grace, compassion and kindness.
- Send blessings to people, be they loved ones, colleagues or strangers that you wish to say a prayer for.
- Give thanks for all that you have and all that you are.
- And lastly, pray for a for a good night of sleep … I personally love the Louise Hay affirmation … “Thank you God for the good night of sleep ahead, I am worthy.” Keep repeating your chosen affirmation until you fall asleep.
Morning Active Listening Practice:
At the start of every day take a meditative seat and;
- Practice silent meditation for 10 minutes or more.
- Once you have completed your meditation consciously give thanks for the day ahead.
- Then put your hands in a prayer position and;
- Raise your hands and gently place your thumbs on your forehead and ask yourself for the grace of kind thoughts for the day ahead for Self and all others.
- Move your hands and gently place your thumbs on your lips and ask yourself for the grace of kind words for the day ahead for Self and all others.
- Move your hands and gently place your thumbs on your heart and ask yourself for the grace of kind feelings for the day ahead for Self and all others.
- Move your hands and gently place your thumbs on the center of your chest and ask yourself for the grace of kind behavior in all that you do in the day ahead, be that for your Self or any other human being, family, friend or foe.
- After this, I like to close out my practice with a bow before my Creator.
- When you rise from this open and safe space, be sure to carry these kind intentions into your day with the Truth of the Spirit of who you are in every way of your being.
Do you currently practice any form of silent meditation or conscious gratitude?
- If you have no practices for your Spirit:
- Journal about what practices you plan to make time for on a daily basis to nurture your spirit. Make sure you have one practice that involves active listening and one practice that includes conscious gratitude. If you have no idea, then I suggest you use the two practices above for the rest of the Dare to Ask Journey.
- If you already have developed practice or need to expand your practices:
- Journal about how your current practices serve you in bringing kindness into the world through your beliefs, thoughts, behaviors and spoken words, or
- Journal about how you plan to expand your daily practices in order to balance out your growth by including either active listening or conscious gratitude.
If you have already developed practices for meditation (active listening and silencing) and conscious gratitude / prayer (compassionate communication), then continue with those practices for the duration of the Dare to Ask Journey.
Until we meet again in 2 weeks’ time, have fun with your practices, celebrate life, be grateful and continue to challenge yourself for further growth.
If you have questions about how to live in True Will, either submit your question in the comments section below or in a private note here (link). Share with all of us what you have learned about yourself or how you would like to expand and change your way of being. You can share through the same links above.
I love you all for your courage.
As always, warm love and regards
“Meaning is available in spite of – nay, even through suffering.” Viktor E. Frankl. When we courageously choose an attitude of kindness above all else, we will find meaning in all that we do.