I’m seeing some very basic things about love and they’re proving very helpful in transforming my daily experience.
This learning experience started last night – that is, Christmas night. Though I had four good, solid invitations to Christmas gatherings, I turned them all down. I felt drawn to go for a long walk on the beach at English Bay.
Everyone who was celebrating Christmas was “up there” and I was “down here,” at the water’s edge. This spot is one of my favorite inspirational haunts. I’ve had a few spiritual experiences there in the past.
At one point I stood before the ocean and noticed that there were two dimensions confronting me – the air that I walked in and the sea that I did not walk in. I was at the very edge of things.
In my heart, I heard the words form, “Love thyself.” Love myself? That was something that I had a block about. I could love others, but loving myself seemed to me to be selfish. I rebelled.
But the core of the unfolding learning experience then came. I was shown in my imagination that love only flows if we love both ourselves and others. If we fail to love either one, love won’t flow.
I also saw that love is like food. We get the taste of love as it flows over us just as we get the taste of food as it flows over our taste buds. We get the feel of love as it passes through us. It has to move through us for us to experience it.
I also saw that there are some people who do not love themselves and there are other people who don’t love others. I was in the first category.
If love is withheld from one area of life, that area won’t blossom. We need to love every area of life for love to flow like sap through our veins. And if love doesn’t flow, we can’t become aware of it. All of these matters were being made clear to me as I stood at the seashore looking out into the dark of night.
I noticed I felt like a complete human being when I began loving myself. Loving others and not loving myself is like operating a machine that lacks oil and creaks. Loving myself acted like lubricant and helped my machine operate without complaint.
I lost myself in the love that now flooded my being. I now sent it to myself and others. I was wafted along. I lost sight of myself for minutes. This was what I’d been looking for.
This morning I awoke and, when I remembered the lessons of last night, I started in loving myself again and again it came easily and I was soon awash in love. For me the missing piece in having love flow has been the lack of loving myself. For another it may well prove to be a lack of loving others. All the others may wish to watch A Christmas Carol, but there is no Christmas Carol for my kind. That movie has not yet been made.
Socrates said “Know thyself.” We may want to add: “Love thyself.” And Jesus said: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” To become truly balanced individuals, we may want to add: “Love thyself as thy neighbor as well.”