How to CONNECT with all Others: Part 1 of 4
Many of us mistake the concept of Self-Love as some type of vanity project. It’s easy to make this error as many self-help teachers tend to focus on the performance and expansion of the mind and body, paying little to no attention to the performance or expansion of the Spirit or soul.
Our Western-based narrative values and rewards education and training of the mind and body, thereby feeding the unhealthy ego and judging those who do not conform to what we believe is perfect externally. One just needs to look at any popular magazine to confirm this societal leaning. It is no wonder we suffer from depression, insecurities, unkindness and ill health.
After all, we are mostly raised in the Christian maxim to always “think of others before ourselves” and that it is forbidden to praise ourselves. How many of us have heard the reprimand, “Who do you think you are?” or “Pride comes before the fall?” inadvertently teaching self-doubt, guilt and shame. We are then further confused when in contradiction we are asked to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves”.
This mind and body bias is embedded in FEAR. FEAR of ‘loving thy neighbor’ as we have no concept of how to love or connect with our individual Spirit, making it impossible to connect with any other. This FEAR is rooted in an unkind and unloving Spirit. Our daily news is rife with unkindness, all of which feeds this FEAR frenzy, inciting us to bring forth yet more unkindness, war and carnage into our world.
Our ability to access love, kindness, compassion, joy, forgiveness, gratitude, generosity, peace, harmony and devotion are all natural human qualities that flow from the heart of our Spirit.
These qualities can be cultivated. How much time of your childhood education was given to cultivating these qualities? How much of your education was given to teaching you how to use and access these qualities to communicate with, or love yourself and others?
The route towards a life of joy, be it theological, philosophical, mystical, psychological or other, is one of learning to “know thyself” (our individual Spirit) through an integrated connection with our soul, mind and body. It requires us seeing and accepting the basic spirit of our human goodness so that we can open to the acceptance and love of the basic goodness in all others. After all, how can we “love our neighbor as we love ourselves,” if we have not first taken steps towards seeing, accepting and loving ourselves.
Let’s examine why we disconnect from our birthright of Self-Love.
The average two-year-old is a great reminder of the simplicity, beauty, magnificence and power of Self-Love. Still fully connected with Universal Spirit, the two-year-old child can clarify in moments why any belief contrary to loving oneself is sheer madness if they had the vocabulary. But as adults, we doubt and deny ourselves complete love for Self.
Our western societal narrative is invested in taking us away from the core of who we are from this tender age, creating stories of doubt, fear, unkindness, judgments and evaluations. This causes insecurities about ourselves as we distance ourselves from others and disconnect from the truth of Universal Spirit / God.
We can even become self-righteous as we lock down into our limiting beliefs, causing fear-based judgments and justifications. Consciously or unconsciously we try to force these limiting fear based beliefs onto others, as opposed to staying open to being righteous with Self (our Spirit). See the note at the end of this blog for detail on the difference between self-righteous and righteous with Self.
Complete peace with all that is, is possible, but it flows from this internal space of righteousness with your Spirit. Once this connection is made, it’s as if we hunger to unite with all other human Spirits, as we celebrate and honor all individual mind brilliance, body beauty and allow space for each person’s unique soul expression.
Somehow here in the West, we continue to subscribe to the idea that in order to relate and connect fully with others, our connection must take place in the external world via the mind or body connection or via a notion of romantic love, leaving us incapable of love or even kindness when things become difficult or fall apart.
For those of you who have completed the 16 exercises in the first 3 Steps of the Dare to Ask Journey, you are ready for your last 4 exercises.
The hard work of stripping away the layers of your story has allowed you space to process your pain, see your attachments to your stories and change your negative narrative so that you can let go and live in full presence of your unique expression. If for any reason you are still struggling to achieve this, please don’t judge yourself and don’t give up. The work of opening to love for your Self, your higher power, and all others, is the journey of a lifetime.
Whether your spiritual path is connected to being Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, agnostic, heathen or other, you are ready to go deeper and transcend your limiting human beliefs and open to love for all in Step 4 of this journey.
Let’s take a quick look at what it means to make a commitment.
You started this journey by wanting to make a change in your life. You have opened to seeing that in human form you journey in this world as Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body.
Think of each of these parts of yourself as a garden. To grow and flourish you need to commit to practices for nurturing each of these gardens of yours. This is how we live an integrated life, open to joy and connect to our human purpose in this life.
In Step 1 you set your intention as you were motivated. In Step 2 you examined what that meant for you and your story. In Step 3 you developed practices for action. Now in Step 4 you get to assess and explore how well you are aligning your truth with your intention to move into change, through taking disciplined action.
Commitment has a natural flow:
- Motivation / Incentive: You want something to change as it is no longer serving you. Your motivation stems from this inner felt sense. This is a direct message from your Spirit.
- Setting your Intention: You decide to take action based on your felt senses above. This is your soul willing you towards action as you make an agreement with your Self (Spirit).
- Taking Action: You start to undertake new ways of being to bring about your intended change. This is your mind bringing forth a reality that honors the felt sense from the heart of your Spirit and the feeling of will that is driving you from the center of your soul.
- Achieving Momentum: The more you do, the easier it gets. As the truth of your body brings the discipline of doing, so your truth is aligned with your intention. You start to see the results of the momentum of your actions.
- Discipline: This is the art of a mastered life as you engage in integrating your body, mind, soul and Spirit. Once integrated, you can bring forth your truest human form through a healthy ego that understands how an attitude of love and kindness towards yourself and all others is always a choice.
From this grounded space you can live within your unique expression, fulfill all of your dreams and still live in harmony connected with all others. Just like two flowers flourishing side by side in the field.
As Spirit each of us is perfect. Our Spirit is born of pure love in the form of a child into this world, by the grace of our creator, perfect in all ways. We are all born with pure love inside. It is only our human narrative that doubts this perfection, through the stories and beliefs we attach to the perceived imperfections of our bodies, mind and souls. This is how we separate from love and each other, generating judgments, unkindness and war.
The more we bring practices of love to each of our gardens, the easier it is for us to transcend our human experience and open to love.
This journey of commitment to Self is a journey of love with practices (rituals) and the discipline of integration. After all, we are Spirit above all else.
While an unkind narrative is undeniably true in the course of our lives, truth lies in the spiritual journey of finding courage to deny fear, and travel back towards eternal love, connection, kindness and inclusiveness.
Before you started this journey, I asked the question: What purpose do we serve as human beings with the life that we have been given?
Our purpose is the simple journey back to an open heart of eternal love, the open heart we were born in to. This is how we can fully connect to each other and express the eternal love present within each of us.
To change our ways of being all we need is a willingness to be teachable. As students, we bring a curious mind to the journey. A curious mind is open and therefore capable of being conscious. “Consciousness shifts willingness. Willingness shifts beliefs. Shifted beliefs beget world peace.”
This reminds me of an old classic tale:
An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is FEAR: It is worry, anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, unkind and lies. The other is LOVE: It is joy, peace, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, compassion, empathy and truth.”
The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”
So I Dare to Ask you, what are you feeding? The external social narrative is instilled in FEAR that we’ve come to accept without question? Or are you feeding and nurturing all of your gardens with LOVE, while honoring their uniqueness?
In exercise 17 below you will assess, explore and celebrate your progress.
Exercise 17: A time to stop, explore and celebrate where you are in the life you have been given
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To remind yourself why you started this daring journey of life.
- To assess and re-commit your original intentions.
- To celebrate what you have achieved so far.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercises below. Download your journal pages for exercise 17 here.
A journey of evaluation with your commitment to your body, mind, soul and Spirit
Take time to review the past 16 exercises that you undertook, starting at the beginning, and along the way journal about the following:
- Motivation / Incentive:
- How have you honored the motivational message from your Spirit to shift towards your intended change as defined in exercise 2?
- Setting your Intention:
- Were you able to honor your soul’s willingness to make this change?
- Taking Action:
- What attitude and therefore reality did your mind create towards bringing action for your desired change? Was it a positive kind-mindedness or was it a negative mindset that let fear and blame lead to non-action?
- Achieving Momentum:
- Have you been able to encourage yourself to create disciplined actions through your body towards achieving your desired change?
- Have you been able to nurture practices which feed your body, mind, soul and Spirit so that you can achieve all of your desired changes from an open space of love?
- At all times when dealing with this daring question above, be courageous, truthful and direct with yourself.
- Do not judge or criticize yourself if you have not made any or enough progress. The intention is merely one of assessment and awareness. Do not let your inner critic take control.
- Know and trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be, in this moment.Stay curious so that you can learn from why you are where you are in this moment.
- If you feel you have not made enough progress with your desired change, then have courage. Listen to this voice, the voice of your Spirit and then re-commit, re-set your intentions, take action and achieve momentum through discipline. This is your time.
- If you have achieved everything you set out to do, then celebrate all that you have learned about yourself and your ways of being.
- Continue with all your chosen practices for your Spirit, soul, mind and body as set out in exercises 13 to 16.
Until we meet again in 2 weeks’ time, have fun with this exercise and your practices, celebrate the life you have been given, be grateful and continue to challenge yourself for further growth.
If you have questions about unveiling Self-Love, 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
Note: Self-righteous vs righteous with Self.
As defined in the dictionary, being self-righteous is having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior. This originates from righteous behaviors that stem from the body and the mind.
To be righteous with Self, means to be good, virtuous, worthy with Self (Spirit). The source of this goodness comes from Universal Spirit and when integrated, we can bring goodness/ righteousness forth in an inclusive and integrated way, with Self and all others.