There are many areas in my life I have difficulty accepting. I can’t accept myself for not being able to speak mandarin, I can’t accept myself for making mistakes, I can’t accept failing, I can’t accept myself for being impatient, I can’t accept certain characters and attitudes – there may be countless of them each day. Then there are things out there that I can’t accept – I can’t accept delays in appointments, in services, in queues; I can’t accept imperfection in services, I can’t accept dirtiness – numerous of them. The number of unacceptance is reflecting my inability to love and inability for love to come to my life.
If I don’t learn to start accepting myself, how would I expect to love myself? If I don’t see my own warts and shortcomings, how am I able to love myself unconditionally? If I can’t love myself, surely I can’t love others too. To love myself is to accept who I am and who I am not.
First on the list, which is also the last, is to love myself even when I can’t love myself – love the unloving part of me. Then others will follow naturally. I just need to keep reminding myself this. Whenever I see myself complaining, I look at that complaint lovingly, without identifying and continuing its story. Whenever I felt disapproved, I will lovingly recognize that disapproval – paradoxically when I do that I am already approving myself. One of my teachers recommended me the following technique – whenever I felt disapproved I just need to reverse it by saying I am approved unconditionally – it works! I am not lying to myself, but to see that statement as to mean in an unapproved experience I am approving it unconditionally.
I can’t love myself unconditionally if I don’t stay consciously to my inner callings – the calling for love. All negative expressions are a calling for love. Jealousy, judgments, thwarted desires, upsets, fear, betrayal are all camouflages of my need for love. If I were to listen to the call I would have found love at my front door – but I don’t, simply because I give my attention outward, seeing the world as wrong.
I have been hearing knocks on my inner door but I am afraid to open it. I am too frightened to face what is there for me. I have not known what is beyond the door except to hear the plea of the calling. The only way I knew how to face that knock is to escape via the back door, escaping from the reality of what is. That back door is my metaphor of complaints. The back door is my scapegoat. I will keep returning to that back door whenever I am been threatened. It is only when I take the courage to face the call of the front door knocking that I am starting my journey into accepting love coming into my life. Otherwise love is always out there beyond my reach. Not that I am being deprived from love, but rather I am depriving myself to love. That is the reality.
The back door does not exist. It seemingly gives me a way out, but that way out is actually a cave without an end – I can’t find myself in the darkness unless I turned back towards the entrance where light is awaiting me. There is nothing to run away accept to face and recognize that all the warts are love in disguise.
I am near you and yet so, so, very far. I may be closed to you, feel your hugs, talk to you, hold your hands or even look straight into your eyes – but I have never met you at all. I thought I know you inside out but I have never known you, not even once.
Quantum mechanics proved to me that whenever there is a physical contact with anything, the space between that contact is liken to the distance between two planets. In each touch there is no touching at all. It is an illusion to think I am touching.
In the same way when I see you, I don’t see you at all, except my perception about you. In that perception are all the ideas that I think about you. Not once can I quiet myself from ideas and look straight at you without prejudices or interpretations. I am looking at you with the color glass of my perception. I see you as a woman, or a man, whatever. But that is my mind interpreting you. Beyond perception, there are no words, no forms, no designations of any sort, to identify you. I can’t identify you without perception. Thus whatever I perceive is simply perception working. Perception is simply contorting – fabricating from memories of the past. I can’t get over myself. Neither can I get over you. I am of the experience.
Irrelevant whether I am a doctor, a scientist, a writer, a poet, an accountant, a beggar, a prime minister, a rebel, a clown, whatever it is, the inner stuff that is going through all of us have never changed over the years, though our designations may have changed. From a child to a teenager, to an adult, to finally old age, we are still practically locked within our own same experiences of emotions, feelings and perceptions.
Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.
– Gospel of Thomas
The anger I experience is still the same kind of nature, never makes me lighter or joyful. My worries, restlessness, happiness, joy, upsets – everything that is already existing in my mental vocabulary is nothing new to me – they are all recycled stuff that I am entertaining and facing each day, each seconds, each moment. Everything seems new to me each day, but the stuff that is going on in me are all ancient and primitive. When all the roles, titles and designations are dropped, you and me, or for that matter, anyone else, are faced with the stark reality, naked, of ourselves. The same old self. Different packaging, same old stuff.
We are all walking around like a zombie, alone, in the midst of the crowd, talking to ourselves all the time, in our head. Like the dream, where I am the only witness to it, I am also the sole witness to life. I have never shared my life, neither have you – not that I do not want to, I can’t, even if I try.
I laugh alone, talk alone, see alone, hear alone, smell alone, think alone, all by myself – though I am with you. I am sad and I want you to know my sadness – I wish to share my sadness with you. Can I? If I think I can, I am stupidly lying to myself. If my sadness diminished simply because I shared with you, it is not because of you that my sadness diminished – it is because I let go a part of my holding on to that sadness, through sharing. As such we can only be a listener to others’ problem. I can’t do more, except just that. If I start try telling you what to do, I am in fact trying my best to ignore the pain that is in me. If there is wisdom in me, my telling is simply my sharing – not about you, but about me, and me, all the time. As I share my experience, you wake up from your experience. That is all I can do. I am always within myself, sustain by my own ideas.
My journey is to wake up from my dream, provided I know I am dreaming. Or else I am perfectly blind, oblivious to my blindness. This is the one and only intimate relationship I ever will have – with myself, all the time.