I Love Myself – What a Fallacy!

I get lots of spiritual advice or New Age teachings that require me to love myself. And I used to do lots of strange things to bring that message in – from looking at the mirror and repeat the mantra I love you (to mean I love myself) to sitting in a nice meditative posture and repeatedly singing I love myself, I love myself. Sometimes even to the extent that when I am upset, if I remember, love the anger, again to mean I am loving myself. Over the period of these practices, I seem not to get any result from it except frustration and irreconcilable questioning on how could it possibly it be done. For those who are self loving and reading this, it may sound strange how I could not love myself.

Yet, the good news is that I cannot love myself except to experience lovingness. Do you notice the difference? If you don’t, let’s explore further both. When you say “I love myself”, do you notice it is just a thought or a meaning you give to yourself to what is really going on in your mind? If your experience at one moment is lovingness, notice that it is just an experience, and not something that you can do to make it happen. I am to mean that whether you say I love myself or not, that experience will stay so long as the conditions for it permit. That experience has no meaning of “I love you” (as if that experience could speak to you) but rather you are speaking to that experience and putting a meaning to it. If you think you are the one that is creating that experience or rather that experience is your choice – do try this experiment, briefly. Just keep saying I love myself repeatedly for a few times in the state of lovingness. Observe the change to that state after awhile. Does it get any deeper or does it wane? Or does it change from lovingness to happiness? If it changes, it already means it is not your choice though you may skew your meaning to that state of happiness that it is still love you give to yourself!

No matter how hard I try, it is impossible to “love myself”. But it is possible to experience lovingness, gratefulness, appreciation and many more other love qualities which seem to bring about the meanings closest to Love. All these qualities of experience are effects of a certain condition in your mind that makes it possible. You may not notice what those conditions are and may probably conclude it is a random experience “given” to you. Or you may even have the meaning that you are constantly “loving” – which is possible but only to a few – yet that “constant loving” is a state you experience rather than it is “I love myself” thing.

I love the title coined by Byron Katie in her book Loving What is. Where only if you have finally come to realise that the mind is just a program running its own system, you can simply embrace whatever that comes up in your space, irrelevant whether it is fear, anger, sadness, peace, happiness or joy – yet you make peace with it, instead of judging it as wrong or bad. At this moment you are “being entertained” with a balanced state of lovingness towards what is going on in your space. That is the closest Love where one can ever experience, but not “I love myself”.

 

Certainty Amidst Uncertainty

There is none of us, I am certain, who has never not experienced vulnerability, uncertainty, fear, doubt or confusion in our lives. It is a natural part of human experience where we can never predict what comes up within our space at any one moment of time since there are many conditionings that are beyond our control or even expectation.

Take for example, waking up in the morning just as any other day, except realising our ankle hurts for no known reasons, or waking up to find, to our horror, a breaking news on the headline of our daily paper, or waiting for a very important appointment where at the very last minute has been cancelled, or receiving news of our loved ones passing on. Life is uncertainty, though we will like to believe it is not.

Imagine me walking into a new environment this morning sending my sister, niece and nephew to a bus station where I have to pass by a construction site. Just a few days ago, I read two pieces of news on construction hazards where a heavy structure fell over a car killing the driver, and the other, where a foreign worker died from a large metal container falling on him. I have to acknowledge how my mind remembered those news and brought a sense of vulnerability and uncertainty as I crossed the site over to the bus station.

Yet amidst of that, I suddenly came to realise there is certainty in the midst of that uncertainty. And it has much to do with the now that is being presented to me at each moment. The experiences arising from my mind is beyond my control. The images, imagination, thoughts, feelings that come into each moment are something that I cannot avoid. As I stay present to all those, taking each moment as it comes, fully aware of the external and the internal, irrelevant of what I am being presented, I am awed by the stability of these certainty – certain that what is here is just as it is. It is neither good nor bad. It is just the way it is, specifically to that moment.

And as I take each moment with a stride, noticing, recognising, acknowledging everything in a loving manner, being fully aware of what is arising, I come to peace with myself. Will anything fall on my head? I don’t know. Will anything not fall? I don’t know. Will I trip? I don’t know. I don’t know until it comes. I don’t know until each moment is being offered to me. Only then I’d know. What I know is that I know for certain when uncertainty arise. I know for certain when vulnerability arise. I know for certain when fear or doubt comes a knocking. I know for certain there is nothing I could do about it except accepting it full heartedly and having the wisdom at that moment to respond on it. I can never know what is going to happen next. If I think I do, I am only hallucinating.

I am, but a passerby to the moments. And to realize this, is peace. And yet another peace the next moment, until probably when I immerse myself back into the world again, absentmindedly by unawareness. The only certainty I can rely on is the awareness I give to each moment, having the right attitude that what is being experienced is just another happening. And how my mind reacts to it, is also just another happening. My awareness is my response to both and if by chance, the grace of wisdom is available, I may take a responsive action to what my mind used to react, hence changing the course of my life of what my mind used to do.

I am certain. I am also responsible, whether I like it or not.

I am your Dark Angel

probably you have forgotten
I am but another Angel
appearing in your space
to bring up the magnificence in you.

yet, you hold me ransom
disliking me, making me wrong
still, I love you so much
that I persisted to be here, in your space.

no matter how ancient it is
no matter how misperceived
what you would have of me
I fully absorb such energy of dislike, you have upon me.

you see, I am but formless
and this person that you target
just so happens to be a place
I manifest myself as.

I can never be seen
but yet you know me too well
except not seeing me rightly
who I really am.

though formless
I come in myriad forms
of anger
of hurt
of betrayal
of resentment
of grief
of hatred
and so many more known to you
since immemorable time
to let you realise your true magnificence.

my job is difficult
and always painful
as you keep seeing me wrong
In which you ostracised me.
It hurts to see you doing that
as I have always been your Angel
praying one day, somehow
my job will finally complete
when you start to see yourself as Love
so as to return me back to Light.
I am, afterall, your Angel
to let you realise your true magnificence.

you just need a friend
who has awakened to me
to guide you to see who I really am.
for such, I am thankful to him
for he knew, and he realized
I am just here to wake him up
to see I was Love all the while
holding the space for him
to let him realise his true magnificence.

my job will be done
I will be released from the Dark
only when you finally arrive at Love
seeing me clearly
for the first time
and yet also for the last time
who I really am
as I am only here
to hold this space
to let you realize your true magnificence.

so long as you do not realise
I will patiently disguise as Dark
and my, oh my, it is truly difficult
to see you seeing me wrong
to see you hating me
and yet I still love you so much, still
that words cannot describe
as I keep holding on my job
irrelevant for how many lifetimes it takes
trusting one day, somehow
you will finally wake up to yourself
and release me simultaneously
to Light and Love again

my job is to hold the space
your job is to wake up
and we both have never ever left
performing our dance
except my being dormant many a times
until opportunity for you to see me, once again.

and when both our jobs are finally done
both of us will be free
coming to be One that was never apart
which you now think we are at this moment
you, the unrealised magnificence and me, the Dark Angel.

I can never be free
I can never be One with you
so long as you do not wake up to me

I know your job is as difficult as mine
as we dance in tandem
both doing our best, until you wake up completely.

so do not let any third party in
else you will never see me clearly
afterall they too have their dance
as my loving angels on their side
your brothers, your sisters
in this physical dimension
all, but pure innocence
are just like you, waiting to wake up.

so please, I beg of you
not to see your brothers and sisters wrong
in the form of a spouse, or friend, or comrade
or enemy, or child, or even a stranger
just as I pray
you do not see me wrong
for we are, afterall, innocence
playing the journey of waking you up
to your true magnificence

I bow to you
knowing one day, you too
will bow to me with wonderment
no matter how painful
I see you trying to abandon me
yet I continue to forgive you
appearing as a Dark Angel
incessantly doing my job, and waiting patiently
showing you over and over again
In forms you dislike
waiting for the day of your true magnificence.

choose to see me differently.
after all, I am but your Angel.

loving you always.

Your Nature, Your Path

As I reflected my earlier years of journey in Buddhism, I used to have a lingering question repeating in my mind as to why some enlightened beings are perceived stern whereas some loving and some even impartial. In my simplistic thought, all awakened ones must surely have attributes that are similar with each other. Only years later did I realise that the qualities exhibited in each one are but enhance attributes of the individual. Say for instance, if the person is inclined towards compassion, the being will be seen more compassionate than another who advocate the attributes of, say, perseverance. If we were to take in example of Mother Quan Yin and Jesus, we will be able to recognise that both have different attributes.

And that comes to the question of the path we take in our spiritual journey. As the saying goes, all road leads to Rome. I myself have seen and tasted variant of teachings that are inclined towards enlightenment in my years of search for Truth. Some are effort base, some faith inclined and yet some wisdom inquiry that leads to understanding and realisation. Out of these three, there are variant of characters that come out of each, respectively. Why is that so? From my personal observation of the innate nature of the mind, I came to an understanding that it has much to do with the character traits of the individuals built from past lives till the present. You may have observed some babies who have yet to pick up values from their parents already exhibiting nature of their own, for example gentleness, hostility, friendliness etc.

That been said, I also observe how each mind inclines itself towards certain teachings. Undoubtedly, it has to be so, since it is the condition of the mind to attract its own similar conditioning – just as birds of the same feather flocks together. If you are one who is inclined towards punitive development, it won’t be a surprise that you will be attracted to teachings that requires strict discipline. Sometimes to the extent that if that particular teacher uses abusive words to convey a message, your mind too will incline itself to do the same, if not more other abusive words, to make your point. After all, the world is in your own making of the mind.

If one is by nature gentle, the above method will be seen as harsh or even impractical. Whichever way one is, he or she will one day come to realise directly that it is part and parcel of the nature of each mind rather than individual, that is playing up the character traits. Yet, before that realisation comes into space, it can be a pain to be associated with the opposite, whether it is the strict discipline associating with the gentle or the gentle with the strict discipline – both may not understand each other. The same too can be said of those who are determined in contrast to those who are gentle, inclining themselves towards clear comprehension (sampajanna). There is a tendency of seeing each other “wrong” – yet those thoughts can only arise when one does not have a wide angle wisdom to realise that it is a journey of each’s own. It is a question whether we are projecting our own delusion or extending our wisdom to look at an issue. As a Chinese proverb goes, the same type of rice can raise various kinds of individual.

There is always a tendency of comparing our journey with another, or even to judge their progress, no matter how subtle we may express them – this is a hallmark nature of delusion as it does not see that whatever it comments outside itself, is but its own, in comparison. It will be easy to notice whether there is delusion if one was to be honest and lookout in their mind for meanings of superiority, inferiority or even equality – for they are all pride of different levels. Until wisdom fully blossom, it is important to learn about the different nature of the mind in this world – thus agreeing to disagree is a useful attitude to have in our journey towards awakening, to maintain our inner peace. Others do not matter anymore.