What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Press play to hear an audio enhancement as you read.
True self-love is not egotistical, it’s the natural experience of knowing that we are one with Source.
Spiritual confidence emerges the moment we truly love ourselves. This requires being in the present moment because it’s the only place we truly exist. As Emerson said, “what lies behind us” – memories from the past – and “what lies before us,” – dreams of the future – “are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
What lies within us emerges moment by moment as the reality of our true selves expressing Source energy. Anything else is arrogant pretentiousness, attempting to be something separate from life. When we fully accept ourselves, knowing that who we are is enough and that we are complete for the moment (but only for the moment, which is, fortunately, eternal) then a deep satisfaction soothes our souls. The search is over.
Humans are naturally ambitious. We’re born with the desire to learn, to grow, to create and experience. But because we’ve disconnected ourselves from life with beliefs of separation and abusive behaviors that have produced disastrous results, personally and globally, we now find ourselves in a dangerous predicament where radical corrective action is required. How can we re-focus our ambition, our drive to fully live, in a more positive direction?
First, we must expand our awareness. That’s what’s happening in these moments as you read. And, it’s natural. In fact, this lies at the heart of desire. We have been programmed to want things but we really want depth, the increased experience of a certain kind. What kind of experience, exactly? Love.
There was a popular Country and Western song performed by Johnny Lee called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. He sang, “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, lookin’ for love in too many faces, searchin’ their eyes, lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreamin’ of.”
The first place to look is in the mirror. Interestingly, that’s exactly what another famous singer did in a moment that changed her life forever. Queen Latifah remembers, “When I was around 18, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself.’ And I decided to love myself. That changed a lot of things.”
What lies inside us is … Love! But Love is more than romance, more than an emotion, more even than a state of being. Love is a word that describes the nature of life throughout the universe. Love is the way things are. Yes, countless scientists and science fiction writers believe that the universe is dangerous, that there are malevolent forces out to get us. Why do they believe that? Is there absolute proof? The only irrational threat comes from us! As Walt Kelly, author of the Pogo comic strip wisely said, “We have found the enemy and he is us!”
Self-love is natural because it’s how we experience the delighting, blissful nature of consciousness itself. All of us have touched this, during physical lovemaking, listening to a symphony, marveling at a work of sacred art, being in a holy place, sitting with a true master, or alone in our meditation when our thinking totally stops. We know the experience of Love but our habit is to assign the cause to other people and circumstances.
This misconception is what drives the insanity of The American Dream. We pursue happiness, because it’s something to get… or so the dream says. No. The truth of happiness, of fulfillment, of spiritual enlightenment, of Love, is a reality right now. We live in an all-encompassing environment of unconditional love. What we have touched in moments of ecstasy are not rare incidents to spend the rest of our lives hunting for, “lookin’ in their eyes, searchin’ for traces,” but a blessed emergence into conscious experience of what is always available, and increasingly accessible, as we turn away from the glittering distractions and self-doubt that have obscured the truth of Love.
Now is the moment, this is the moment, Love is here. Remember this the next time you look in the mirror and it will help you make the same choice that Queen Latifah did, to love yourself. Then notice what you see when you do look at others. What will you see? The same love in others that you are feeling for yourself. Because, we are all One.
That tired cliché becomes a vibrant reality when you learn to love yourself.