Self-Love: The Forgotten Love of Your Life
Rumi is a Sufi best known for his love poetry. Much of Sufi writing is intricate word play, and since we aren't reading in the language in which it is written, we miss out on some essentials. Sufism is interested in experiential awakening, and that undercurrent is in a lot of their writing. This poem comes to mind for today's topic:
"The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along."
Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi (The Illuminated Rumi)
People like to look at this poem in the romantic sense, and Rumi is sly enough to give that to those who want to see that and who would not understand the deeper meaning. But if you're reading this blog, I know you're looking for that deeper meaning. The way I interpret this is that your deepest and most profound love is in you. You are the lover and the beloved. You divorce yourself from your beloved when you think that you need a relationship or that you need a partner to give you love. Certainly romantic relationships have lots of beautiful things to offer, but the greatest love you can ever experience is already within you, waiting.
Look at it this way: think of how you feel when you first fall in love. It's a gorgeous feeling, but is that feeling coming from outside you or from within. Your feelings are already inside. Your love is already inside you. Your partner is an excuse--a beautiful excuse--to allow yourself the feelings of love.
Owning Your Love
In my experiences, as I've allowed myself to open to love that I already have, I have these amazing moments of spontaneous love. There's no reason for them. Love doesn't need a reason. Reasons for love are how the mind keeps our hearts trapped from fully expressing themselves. Love just happens for me. I can be sitting in my car at a stop light, meditating, talking with someone, or in any other situation. Then there's this wave of love that is almost inexpressible, and I'm smiling uncontrollably.
He Makes It Sound So Easy; I Can't Do That
Oh, I hear you little ego-mind. I hear you trying to shut out love from your life. I hear you not owning your responsibility to your heart. Squirming and writhing, you're really upset. You want this feeling. You're not angry at me. You're angry at you--angry that you've trapped yourself in an icy prison.
And it has taken me a lot of work to get out my own prison. I'm a former inmate. Perhaps you're a former inmate totally vibing off the energy of what I'm saying, or maybe you're still in the prison. Well, you've got the key. It's in your pocket, but you've also set up all the defense mechanisms--all the reasons that you can't feel love in this moment. It's up to you to disarm the alarm, sneak past the guard dogs, and subdue all other resistance. You need to escape from Alcatraz; later, you'll have to start destroying Alcatraz, but that's another story.
Okay, Already, But How Do I Do This? How Do I Love Myself?
Everyone has their own path. You will have to find yours. I saw a friend post on her Facebook page about looking at herself naked in the mirror. That can be a powerful process to come into acceptance and then into love with your body. You could write down all your excuses about why you can't feel love now and why you need a situation and/or a partner to feel love. Look at those excuses and know that they're illusory. You probably won't believe it at first. Your internal programming is probably too well-established. You will have to break down that programming that says "You're not deserving" for what ever reason. It's all lies.
Along the way, you're going to start discovering all the relationships, activities, and work that you do that doesn't love you. Working out too much comes to mind as one way. We can all get caught up trying to make our bodies look a certain way to get social approval. Grueling work-outs can be a form of self-hate and self non-acceptance. You could bring more heart into your work-outs to find out what actually feels good to you as opposed to what you think you should do (This advice is best for those who are used to working out. If you are just starting out, well, pretty much all work-outs kinda suck. It has to do with moving low energy, but that's another topic and an important process in its own right).
Evolving Heart Consciousness in the World
The emerging consciousness in the world is opening a lot of hearts these days. It's an amazing and powerful process that people are feeling everywhere. As you delve into yourself and look at how you can authentically love yourself, you should know that you're not alone. People all around you are experiencing this too, and as we re-awaken and evolve our hearts together, we are changing the world.
Next blog: Falling in Love with the World
The lovely heart picture for this spiritual love blog post comes from my student, Jenn.