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Back to the Garden Part 3: Self-Love: The War Between the Ego and the Higher Self
by Curtis Lang The importance of Self-love as a lasting foundation for a successful love relationship cannot be overstated. Without true love of self, you have nothing to share with another but your own poverty of spirit. According to the great ancient law of resonance and attraction, like attracts like. To attract a great love in your life, you must have great love to share and that love must first of all be true Self-love, not egoistic love. If you have not yet attained Self-love, by that same law of resonance and attraction, you will
The importance of Self-love as a lasting foundation for a successful love relationship cannot be overstated. Without true love of self, you have nothing to share with another but your own poverty of spirit.
According to the great ancient law of resonance and attraction, like attracts like.
To attract a great love in your life, you must have great love to share and that love must first of all be true Self-love, not egoistic love.
If you have not yet attained Self-love, by that same law of resonance and attraction, you will
Self-love is the necessary prerequisite for all successful sexual relations.
Self-love is the first step up the ladder of love for any individual.
The second step is love for another individual human being, a spouse, a lover, or an intimate friend, a teacher, a brother or sister or child.
The third step is love for humanity, manifest as compassionate actions in the world.
The fourth step is a universal love that is beyond description, a mystical Unity with the Source of all creation.
This universal love allows us to be One with Mother nature, plants, animals, and humans, the greater Universe around us, and with sentient beings dwelling in the spiritual world, including the hierarchy of angels, Guides and teachers, great Saints, Ascended beings such as Buddhas, gods and goddesses, Devas and nature spirits.
We become consciously one with the source of creation -- the Zero-Point field of energy that lies behind and sustains all that exists.
So if you wish to learn to love others, and to love God fully, first love yourself. Love is giving. By giving love to yourself, you give yourself permission to love others, and to be loved.
Western religious traditions tend to emphasize the sinful nature of the human personality, the human ego, and so most of us growing up in the West did not receive many teachings on the importance of self-love.
In the West self-love tends to be equated with pride, vanity and selfishness.
The Higher Self is often called Christ Consciousness by Western mystics or Krishna Consciousness or Buddha mind in the East. Self-love as experienced by the Higher Self is Nirvana.
For the Christ within us to become the dominant aspect of our identity, the egoistic self must be subordinated to the Higher Self, according to mystical traditions of both East and West.
Only then can the Higher Self come to life. Only then will Christ be born within our hearts and minds. Only then will we see clearly, open our hearts and become one with Buddha mind in perceiving the true nature of reality.
It is equally important to strengthen our identification with the Higher Self, with Christ Consciousness, with Buddha mind. In loving that essential part of yourself that transcends the ego, you put yourself more fully in touch with the beauty of Nature that surrounds you on Earth and the sublime harmonies of the stars above.
The Higher Self is the doorway to all that is Divine, and love is the key that opens the door. In the next article in this series, Meditations on Self Love, you'll learn a meditation designed to help you release the ego's grip and bring you into closer contact with your Higher Self and all its Divine qualities.
The Divine Lovers
Love your body, love your mind, love your Higher Self and Divine spirit. And be mindful. Remember, you are a child of the Divine Father/Mother Source, fashioned in the Divine image and likeness.
Twenty-first century science teaches that Nature is composed of two fundamental principles.
But the notion of these two animating and organizing principles as fundamental powers creating and sustaining the Universe is anything but new to mystics in both Eastern and Western traditions.
The polarity between Father Sky and Mother Earth is ancient and widespread. Native American traditions emphasize humanity's primal connection to Father Sky and Mother Earth and it is through these connections that we come to know and walk our path of Spirit.
The marriage between these Divine Lovers is indeed eternal, and we and our universe are their offspring.
For Christianity, God the Father represents the active Will that transcends and sustains all of Creation, operating simultaneously beyond the forms of Nature, and within all that exists in Nature. God the Son, Jesus Christ, represents the Logos, the forms within nature. God the Holy Spirit represents the energy that sustains the myriad forms of Creation found in Nature.
Adam and Eve are born into the Garden of Eden, partaking of a preternatural love, a love that elevates them above the angels, triggering the animosity of Lucifer, the brightest angel, who refuses God's request that all the angels bow down before the Divine Lovers in their Earthly garden.
These Divine Lovers are our original parents, and their original sin is the sin of pride, which triggers their act of disobedient desire in the primal garden, an act of egotistical over-reaching, when they eat the apple of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil in order to become like gods. This act elevates their egoistic personalities above their God-given Divine nature, their Higher Self, and plunges them into the dualistic world of pain and suffering when they are exiled from the Garden as a result of their sin.
Now, here in the West, we are treading an ancient path back to the Garden of Eden, back to the Unity of the Divine Lovers.
The Illusory Ego
Human procreation is a microcosmic version of universal creation. The Father is both separate from the Mother, yet united with her in the moment of conception. Then the child lives an intensely interdependent existence for nine months within the Mother, and is born physically connected to her. The child inherits qualities of both Father and Mother, and remains connected to the parents by blood ties, through spiritual links and via karmic connections that transcend time and space and affect parents and child on the physical, emotional, mental and auric levels.
In this we are greatly blessed, for we are truly children of the Divine Father/Mother Source and we inherit the Divine qualities of our Heavenly Father and Natural Mother.
But as we grow up, as we learn to worship our egoistic personalities, and eventually to assume that the ego is the center of the universe and the sum total of our true nature, we exile ourselves from that blissful Garden of Eden which is our birthright. In our everyday lives, we normally act as though we are isolated, alone, separate from one another and from nature, alienated from the world around us. This everyday consciousness is very destructive, engenders fear, and denies love. This everyday consciousness we can call the illusory self, the egoistic self, or the ego.
Gautama Buddha explored the illusory nature of the egoistic self 2400 years ago and achieved liberation. Buddha found the way back into the Garden of Eden.
By understanding what the self is, and especially, what the Self is not, practitioners of jnana yoga seek to obtain liberation from the illusion of the separate self and attain Self-realization.
To understand the true nature of the Self, Buddha determined to seek the origin of the separate self in the physical, emotional and mental realms.
As we all know, the body reconstitutes itself continuously. Our cells die and new cells take their place. We are literally not the same person today we were last month or last year. Buddha meditated upon this fact of life.
Thich Nhat Hanh in his brilliant biography of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds explains that, "Beneath the pippala tree, the hermit Gautama focused all of his formidable powers of
Buddha discovered that nowhere in his emotions did anything remain unchanged, and there was nothing that could be said to contain a separate self.
Buddha examined his thoughts and found that although both positive and negative mental states appeared and disappeared like leaves in the wind, none of these mental states persist over time, none are permanent, and nothing within the mind could be discovered that constitutes a separate self. In his meditations, Buddha also discovered that although mental states such as fear, anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, and ignorance are the sources of our suffering, the mind is incapable of penetrating to the heart of reality and removing these sources of suffering.
"Mindful awareness blazed in him like a bright sun, and he used that sun of awareness to illuminate the nature of all these negative mental states," Thich Nhat Hahn recounts.The Watcher
When mindful awareness blazed in the Buddha like a bright sun, Buddha achieved enlightenment. Buddha had used a certain aspect of his egoistic mind to transcend the ego altogether. We can call this aspect the "watcher" and it is the source of mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a keystone of Buddhist practice, and of ancient Hindu wisdom.
The Bhagavad Gita discusses the "watcher" in great detail. The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Hindu poem and the most prominent sacred text in the Hindu tradition. Thousands of years old, the Gita recounts a series of battles between two opposing groups of royal relatives in India, warring over control of a precious kingdom.
The entire poem is a metaphor of course. Arjuna is the typical human being. The battle is being waged within his person, which is the precious kingdom. The opposing forces are the warriors under control of the King of the Mind, who represents the illusory self, the egocentric personality, and the warriors under the command of the Higher Self. These virtuous Princes are allied directly with Krishna.
Krishna advises Arjuna to take part in the battle, and of course, Arjuna, Krishna and the forces of the Higher Self ultimately emerge victorious. The poem is told as a report to the King of the Mind, given by one of the Ego Mind's servants, named Sanjay, who is the watcher. Sanjay is totally objective, and he can always be counted on to give an accurate report of anything that happens.
Because the more we identify with Sanjay, with the consciousness, with the watcher within, the more we can detach from our own ego, our own karma, our own mental attachments, sense attachments, and negative emotions.
We can utilize this tool of the mind to achieve liberation if we have an extremely highly developed watcher within. This is very difficult for most people, but it is at the heart of yogic and Buddhist practice. Buddha demonstrated very clearly that this path, the path originally called jnana yoga, is one clear path to total liberation of the mind.
Upon achieving liberation through mindful observance as brilliant as the noonday sun, according to Thich Nhat Hanh, "[Buddha realized] People were caught in endless suffering because of their erroneous perceptions: they believed that which is impermanent is permanent, that which is without self contains self, that which has no birth and death has birth and death, and they divided that which is inseparable into parts," explains Thich Nhat Hahn. "He saw that they all arose due to ignorance."
Our egoistic illusions that we are separate from the rest of the world, in conflict with our environment and all those living within it, and alienated from the subtle energies of the world of spirit can all be overcome through spiritual practice. The mindfulness of Buddha, the love of Christ and the will of Arjuna must all be employed to achieve union with the Higher Self, and subordination of the egoistic self to its rightful role as watcher.
When we have won that spiritual war within ourselves, we will become fonts of love, and we will have so much love to share that we will attract love from all quarters of the world and even from subtle spiritual sources of love beyond our present comprehension.