Self-Love and Relationships
Knowing what the Buddha knew, what Christ knew, and what Arjuna knew (see Self-Love: The War Between the Ego and the Higher Self), understanding that the egoistic, separate self is an illusion, you know that although you may be beset with personal failings such as lust, anger, jealousy, fear, greed, envy, and doubt, these qualities are not representative of your true nature.
Your true nature is a mirror image of Divine nature. Your true nature is a mirror of Christ's love, Buddha's diamond mind, and Arjuna's spiritual courage.
Hermes Trismegistus, the legendary Magus from the time of Moses who is considered to be the fountainhead of Western esoteric spiritual wisdom teachings, explained this idea at length in his book The Emerald Tablets of Thoth, which is considered to be a recipe for the alchemical preparation of the philosopher's stone. "Verum, sine Mendacio, certum et verissimum: Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius. Et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius."
Egyptian Relief of Thoth, God of Wisdom, Writing and the Moon
"Truly without Deceit, certainly and absolutely: What is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that whichis Above corresponds to that which is below, in accomplishment of the miracle of the one thing."
As above, so below. You are a microcosm of the Universe. The Universe is contained within you. There is a Unity that exists beyond the appearance of duality in the Universe. This is the Truth that conceals itself in the manifestation of this Universe.
Hermes Trismegistus continues, "Pater eius est Sol; Mater eius est Luna. Portavit illud Ventus in Ventre suo. Nutrix eius Terra est. Pater ominis Telesmi totius Mundi est hic. Virtus eius integra est si versa fuerit in Terram. Separabis Terram ab Igne, subtile ab spisso, suaviter, magno cum ingenio."
"Its Father is the Sun; its Mother is the Moon. The Wind has carried it in his Belly. Its nourishment is the Earth. It is the Father of every completed Thing in the whole World. Its Strength is intact if it is turned towards Earth. Separate the Earth by Fire: the fine from the gross, gently and with great skill."
The One Thing is Divine Love. Divine Love has many aspects. This living, conscious, loving energy manifests as Solar energy through our Sun, which gives light and heat to all creatures without exception, in a grand demonstration of Universal compassion. This same solar energy manifests in human beings as the sexual energy flow, which arises from the flow of the kundalini energy that itself rises from the center of the Earth, hence is nourished by the Earth. Kundalini, which is normally stored in three coils in the region of the triangular sacrum bone, rises up through the human chakras when aroused, stimulating human beings' sexuality, power drive, egoistic personality development, emotional tides, mental activity and transpersonal experiences of compassion, as well as direct perception of Higher Worlds through the development of the Third Eye and other subtle sensory organs, and finally precipitates attainment of Cosmic Consciousness.
This conscious loving energy manifests on the astral plane, ruled by the Moon, as a very subtle energy that creates entire worlds of imagination, and infuses human beings with emotions which ebb and flow like the tides of the Moon.
This primal energy displaying a loving consciousness also manifests as the breath of life, known to the Hindus as Prana, to the Chinese as chi, and to Western alchemists as Universal Life Force Energy. Thus this conscious, loving energy, which is the foundation of the Universe and all created things, is carried on the belly of the Wind, and is the Father of all that is created.
If this energy from Source is directed by the conscious activity of the spiritual aspirant toward the Earthly plane of existence, it can be used with great care to separate the less developed aspects of the Self, such as the ego, the animalistic passions, negative emotions and purely rational mind, from the higher emotions, Higher Mind, and Higher Self, and to develop those more subtle or finer aspects of one's being, while allowing the more gross aspects to wither away.
"Ascendit a Terra in Coelum, ilerumque descendit in Terram, et recipit Vim superiorum et inferiorum. Sic habebis Gloriam totius Mundi. Ideo fugiet a te omnis Obscuritas. Haec est totius Fortitudinis Fortitudo fortis, quia vincet Omnem Rem subtilem, Omenmque Solidam penetrabit."
"It rises from Earth to Heaven, and then it descends to the Earth and receives Power from Above and from Below. Thus you will have the Glory of the whole World. All Obscurity will be clear to you. This is the strong Power of all Power because it overcomes everything fine and penetrates everything solid."
The Magus, Tarot Trump I, the Thoth Tarot Deck
Here the Magician rises upon a column which is clearly the spinal column, forming a caduceus, with its emblematic twin snakes surrounding the central Sushumna channel of the spine, representing ida and pingala, the other two channels through which Kundalini flows. Through the action of Kundalini, the Magician ascends to Higher Worlds.
It is the power of Love, a living, loving, conscious light, which is the Supreme Power. Hermes Trismegistus calls this Power "telesma", and it is Love. Initiates enter deep meditative states to connect to the Source of this Cosmic Energy, and they seek to capture it and bring it down into their bodies to feed their cells, their minds, and their hearts. Initiates perform spiritual practices to arouse the Kundalini energy from its Earthly slumber in the perineum area, and to direct its flow upwards in the spinal channel called Sushumna, to open up their seven chakras and activate the subtle sensory organs that can only operate when kundalini is flowing through them properly.
When initiates have succeeded in directing this energy in these ways, they experience the Power as an ecstasy, as loving wisdom, as oneness with the Universe, as Unity Consciousness.
Working to achieve that which the alchemists call The Great Work is what we mean by Self-love.
Give yourself permission to love yourself first by following the path of the yogis and the alchemists. This is not selfish, egotistical or easy. Self-love is not a part of mainstream culture. Don't condemn yourself. Don't put yourself down.
See God in your own eyes. Remember that you are a child of God, of the Divine Father-Mother Source. Be grateful for who you are. Cultivate attitudes of love and gratitude and choose again and again to surrender to the Divine plan for your life.
Through meditation seek unity with the Higher Self, with Christ, Krishna, or Buddha Mind. Call upon your Spiritual Guides, teachers, angels, and other allies in the higher realms to assist you in your practice.
Men – and women -- seeking to achieve a balanced state of sexual affinity within can benefit from meditation upon nature, the forms of nature, the natural elements, and all beings within nature, especially the stars. This will connect them to their inner feminine principle. The Divine Mother who sustains the natural world, and whose beauty shines from every form within nature, also lives within each one of us. Men can often connect with her more easily by contemplating the beauty of natural forms than by meditation upon her.
Women -- and men -- seeking to achieve a balanced state of sexual affinity can benefit from meditation upon the sun. Reflect upon the sun’s power, the sun’s wisdom, the tremendous outpouring of vital energies that sustain life on Earth. The sun pours out these energies without thought of recompense. This is a form of exalted wisdom and unconditional love by a very advanced spiritual being. This will connect them to their inner masculine principle. The Divine Father lives within each one of us.
Recall that those closest to you also have a Higher, Divine self, which is their true nature. The failings and imperfections in your relationships, which you often attribute to others, are simply the imperfections of the egoistic personalities of the individuals involved, simply the workings of karma between them.
When interacting with your lover, keep the conscious intention to connect with the best and highest aspects of that dear one, and to integrate these aspects and talents into yourself.
In this way, you reinforce your own Divine qualities and talents, and the Divine qualities and talents of your loved ones.
As you identify more and more with the Divine qualities found in your Higher Self, you weaken the grip of ego and bad habits lodged in the personality.
Trump XIV, Art, Thoth Tarot Deck
Here is depicted the synthesis of male and female, solar and lunar qualities within the aspirant during alchemical union. The picture shows a hermaphroditic angel with an arrow speeding upward through the heart of the angel, in the middle, Sushumna Channel, representing the rising Kundalini energy. The Latin inscription reads "Visit the Interior of the Earth, and there you Will Find the Hidden Stone.
As you identify your lover more and more with their Divine qualities, your lover gains the strength to overcome bad habits ingrained in the egoistic personality.
As both of you resolve to absorb one another's Divine qualities, you begin to do the hard work of true soulmates -- helping one another on the path of spiritual progress.
Through this spiritual form of love, you can help one another achieve true Self-love, and as you both achieve greater Self-love, your relationship will automatically improve in many ways.
A person rich in Self-love has many admirable qualities that they display in loving relationships. Such a person is humble and modest, unattached to those they love, seeking to liberate their loved ones rather than seeking to attach themselves to loved ones, possess them, or drain them of energy.
The person rich in Self-love seeks gratification through purification, meditation and the pursuit of the light, not through consumption.
The person rich in Self-love is not critical and judgmental, blames no one, but rather forgives. Forgives him or her self and forgives others.
The person rich in Self-love enjoys sharing with others, rather than seeking to take from others to fill the void within.
The person rich in Self-love is patient with him or herself and with loved ones rather than being overly concerned that they conform to his or her needs at each moment of time.
The person rich in Self-love does not seek the agreement of loved ones, because self-confidence and inner spiritual guidance make such agreements unnecessary.
Remember that these Divine, loving qualities are the qualities of your true self -- and the qualities of your lover's true self. Help one another become lovers strong in Self-love and you will receive many blessings, your hearts will open and you will be astonished at how much you are loved.
How to Meditate
To enhance self-love, find a suitable spiritual practice and devote yourself to it.
Loving oneself is the constant byproduct of a spiritual practice that brings you in direct contact with inner spiritual guidance through meditation, prayer, chanting, song, dance and visualization.
This inner guidance comes from your Higher Self.
As we learn to connect with and identify with the Higher Self we find ourselves increasingly filled with feelings of joy, faith, unity, peace, compassion and true self-love.
This form of self-love is the antidote to ego, pride and mindless self-gratification. This form of self-love overcomes all feelings of separation and loneliness, as we begin to know, to feel, and to experience the interdependence of our own being with that of the Earth and the heavens, with both the seen and the unseen forces that create and sustain our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.
Begin to realize that you possess Divine strength and virtues within you, because you are a child of the Divine Father-Mother Source, connected to the Divine Source and partaking of all the Divine qualities.
Jesus Christ incarnated, taught, loved, suffered and died to open the doorway to Christ Consciousness for all who follow him. "God became human in order that human beings might become divine," said St. Thomas Aquinas.
Reflect on this. Sit quietly and spend five minutes each day reflecting on the divine qualities you have inherited from the Divine Father/Mother Source.
Reflect upon the true nature of Christ Consciousness, manifest in the forms of Nature and in the qualities of your Higher Self.
In this way, you will release your attachment to your egoistic self and by attuning your mind, heart and will to the Divine; you will attract the qualities of the living Christ into your own being.
If you want love in your life, first fill your own cup with self-love and then offer that cup to your Beloved, offer that cup to the Divine.
Like attracts like, according to the eternal law of resonance and attraction.
If your cup is empty you will attract those with empty cups. If your cup is full, then, and only then, will you attract those beings, Earthly and Divine in nature, who have much love to share with you.
Meditate on these things. In this way, you can heal your inner wounds, release your karma, find abundance within, connect with heavenly realms, and become One with that Higher Self which is your doorway to the experience of transcendence, bliss, and unity.
Five Minute Meditations
Begin by choosing one of the Divine qualities for which you have a special affinity or attraction. Some of these qualities are love, faith, patience, light, beauty, omniscience, happiness, joy, abundance, bliss, and peace.
If you have previous experience with a spiritual discipline or religion, or personal knowledge of higher worlds, call upon the spiritual guides, teachers, divinities, or angels you most admire to join you in this celebration of the Divine.
If not, simply equate the Divine with the great Field of quantum particles that vivifies, sustains, and underlies all of creation, and ask the Universe to be your Guide.
Now, pick one of the sample meditations given to you below. Read one to yourself while sitting quietly. If you have an altar, perhaps you'll want to light a candle or a ghee lamp connecting you to the light of the Universe, burn some incense as an offering to the Divine, place with some flowers on your altar and connect with the natural beauty of their fragrance. Add a little water as an offering and a crystal, and you will have elements of Earth, Fire, Air and Water. Just add Spirit!
Altar with Medicine Buddha figurine, Tibetan medicine bundles, picture of Shri Anandi Ma
If you have a favorite relaxation CD that is just music, without any words, you can listen to that CD while you meditate. So go ahead and put it on your CD player and turn it on.
Now, get into a comfortable meditative posture. You can lie flat on your bed if you like, but be sure to keep your spine straight, to optimize the flow of energy throughout your body. So don't use a pillow, just lie back on the bed.
If it's comfortable for you, sit cross-legged or in a half-lotus position with one foot up on the opposite thigh, and the other leg tucked underneath. Keep your spine straight and sit erect, to facilitate the flow of energy up and down the spine. Let your hands rest relaxed and open, palms up, upon your knees.
Close your eyes, and begin to breathe slowly and rhythmically from the solar plexus. Breathe in to a count of five, and exhale to a count of seven. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply in this same way.
Concentrate on the Divine quality you have chosen for today's meditation, one of the qualities in the sample meditations below, or a quality of your own choosing.
Continue to breathe slowly and deeply for five minutes while you concentrate on the many manifestations of this Divine quality you have encountered in your life.
Contemplate the times when you or a loved one or friend has demonstrated this same Divine quality.
Experience the warm feelings that accompany these memories deeply and completely. Then affirm that you possess that same Divine quality in abundance, here and now!
Affirm that you manifest that quality in your daily life and experience it all around you, here and now! Always end your meditation with a period of heartfelt gratitude for Unity with the Divine.
The following day, pick a different quality and perform the same five minute meditation. Do this for a week, picking different qualities each day. If you feel an affinity for this practice, repeat the next week and the next, until you feel joy within and the urge to celebrate the beauty and Love present within all creation.
You are now on your pathway to Self-love.
Here are some sample meditations.
The Divine is Love. Love is Divine.
Love is Unity overcoming the illusion of separation.
I am Divine Love in Unity with all that exists in heaven and on Earth.
My existence depends upon the sun, the rain, the air I breathe, the earthworms that turn the soil into nutrient-rich food for the plants and animals I eat to survive.
My life depends the complex web of nature, and upon the myriad of human beings who created the culture I have inherited, my family, my Mother and Father.
Sunset Rainbow Over Winston Salem, North Carolina, photo by Curtis Lang
My body re-creates itself every couple of months completely out of the elements in the world around me, and the energy that streams in upon me from the sun and stars on high.
I am inseparable from my surroundings, from the people around me, from my ancestors, from the world of spirit, and from the natural world.
I am never alone. I am always loved.
My nature is to give and receive love.
My work on Earth is to learn to give and receive love, unconditionally, unimpeded by anything.
As I work to uncover my own true, Divine nature, I find it easier and easier to share love and affection with others in my life.
As I share more love with others, I find that I receive more and more love and affection from others.
This is a fact of life and a feat of Love.
Reflect on specific times when love filled your heart. Recall specific places you and your loved ones visited or lived in -- places which you cherish the most. Remember the gifts you gave one another and the way it feels when someone understands you in a way that almost no one can really understand.
The Divine is Light. Light is Divine.
The Universal Life Force that sustains me is composed of Light.
Light is the basic building block of the material Universe, according to quantum physicists, who posit a Zero Point Field connecting both seen and unseen realms and who now find that our cells and DNA communicate and structure our bodies through propagation of electro-magnetic waves, not by chemical reactions or through genetic blueprints.
Universal Life Force energy is composed of light, a living intelligent light that the ancient alchemist Hermes Trismegistus called "the strength of all strengths", the alchemist's stone, Divine Mercury in his masterpiece of esoteric wisdom, The Emerald Tablets of Thoth.
This living light is Divine Love, and is equivalent to the Holy Spirit, which is God's aura. God's aura is loving wisdom, and loving wisdom infuses all that exists in the universe, including sentient and non-sentient beings, all of nature, even human beings. I am the child of this universal loving wisdom, and this universal loving wisdom is the prana, the chi, that fills my aura and courses through every cell of my body.
The Universal Life Force energy is the same energy that filled the Apostles of Jesus Christ on Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them as a white dove. This Universal Life Force energy is the energy in the sacred syllable "AUM", which forms the foundation for universal creation.
I am living within the field created by this intelligent, loving Divine Spirit and this energy connects me with all that is.
I am never alone.
I am always loved.
I am always connected to the ultimate source of Divine Wisdom.
Loving wisdom is my true nature, and the true nature of the Universe manifests as loving wisdom incarnate.
Reflect upon the thousands of years that energy healers, shamans, priests and priestesses, yogis and spiritual scientists around the world, on every continent, have utilized Universal Life force energy to heal the sick, access a source of wisdom far beyond their own rational understanding, communicate with the dead and with spiritual beings in higher worlds, create inspirational artwork, establish great religions, and enter into communion with the Divine.
Reflect upon specific times in your own life when you have met such inspirational individuals and remember how you felt in their presence. Reflect upon times in your own life when you felt a superabundance of life force energy fill your being, enabling you to achieve athletic excellence, attain exceptional mental insights, or to tap into inner wisdom that helped to heal a sick person or animal, or to achieve your spiritual goals.
The Divine is Forgiveness. Forgiveness is Divine.
Jesus forgave those who crucified him. You deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness is your birthright.
Buddha says that all sins, all vices, stem ultimately from ignorance. Ignorance can be forgiven, must be forgiven, so we can evolve to higher states of consciousness and clarity, so our emotional wounds, mental misconceptions and karma can be cleared.
Forgiveness is not a prize to be attained, or a great gift to be presented to someone we love (or hate). Forgiveness is the natural reaction of the awakened mind to pain and suffering caused by oneself or others.
I forgive myself and my loved ones, my friends and my enemies, the lovers in my past who disappointed me, my parents, my children, my brothers and sisters, because forgiveness is my true nature. I forgive myself and these others.
Forgiveness is my key to spiritual freedom.
By allowing my Divine nature to exhibit forgiveness I release myself from the negative emotions, negative patterns of behavior, and negative thoughts that have created an illusion of separation between myself and others.
The Last Judgement by Michaelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Rome, Public Domain
I realize that the conflicts I have had with others, the failed relationships, and the pain and suffering, all stem from ignorance of my own Divine nature and the Divine nature of others.
I realize that my disappointments in love stem from imperfections in myself and others, and in my own inability to see negative behavior patterns and conflicts for what they are -- the extension of bad habits ingrained in the ego from past traumas, misunderstandings, and other mistakes rooted in ignorance.
I freely forgive all these mistakes and misunderstandings. I now extend my love freely to all those currently in my life, and to all those who have passed through my life in the past.
Reflect upon the suffering of Jesus Christ, the difficult spiritual struggles of the Buddha, the austerities and sacrifices of Arjuna and other famous yogis.
Imagine how these individuals felt when confronted with enemies who wished them harm, because at those crucial moments these higher beings practiced non-violence and forgiveness, and extended love to their enemies.
If these great beings could forgive those who wished them great harm, cannot you or I forgive those with whom we have shared great love, and yet through our mutual ignorance, harmed one another?
Reflect upon a loved one with whom you have or had a problematic relationship. Recall the specific moments, times and places, where you shared loving experiences that created a bond between you. Think upon how beautiful it would be to put aside the burden of anger, recrimination and mental calculation that creates a separation between you now.
Allow yourself for one minute to picture the two of you sharing a happy, loving moment free from the burden of the past. Feel the release of tension and allow yourself to freely give the love you have been witholding from this loved one. Love is for giving. In forgiving another we take the first steps to forgiving ourselves. By forgiving ourselves we open the door to Divine love.
The Divine is Beauty. Beauty is Divine.
I affirm that as I am a creator of beauty, I am one with the Divine Mother.
I resonate with the harmonious energy of the Holy Spirit, which creates and sustains this body and this Universe.
I recognize that I am one with the beauty manifest in creation, and that as a co-creator of this beauty, I am increasingly in touch with Divine love. As I create beautiful forms and share them with others, I sense the Divine beauty and love within them, and I enjoy feeding the Divine within them with the beauty I have created.
Sharing these works of beauty with others brings me into harmony with the Divine Mother, who birthed me and who birthed this beautiful Universe.
Sinead O'Connor Goddess Invocation, by Jane Sherry
Reflect upon great works of art you have seen that moved you emotionally, mentally or spiritually.
Picture these works of art, whether paintings, sculptures, phtos, videos, movies, cathedrals, temples, houses, tools, clothing, music, or books you've read.
Imagine the joy creators of these inspirational artworks surely felt as they completed their works of art.
Feel the connection they must surely feel with the artists who have gone before them, and with their culture, that creates the context within which their work can flourish.
Reflect upon their satisfying connection with the audience that feeds their creativity. Meditate upon how their own spiritual nature empowers them to do their creative work.
Reflect upon the similarity between the creativity of human artists and the spiritual power of transcendent spiritual teachers.
Realize the correspondence between the human creative impulse and the infinite variety and beauty of the myriad forms of nature endlessly created in our universe.
Remember moments in your own life when you felt this creative impulse take hold of you as you worked on a creative project. Feel your own kinship with the continuum of human culture that feeds this outpouring of creative beauty in all cultures of the world.
If you feel a special affinity with these Five Minute Self Love Meditations, please know that they were inspired by a slim book on meditation practice by Roger Lanphear, entitled Unified: A Course on Truth and Practical Guidance from Babaji.
The Power of Love
These are only a few of the Divine qualities that comprise your own true nature.
Through your practice of mindful self-love, unite with these Divine qualities in your meditations and in your prayers.
In your daily life recognize these Divine qualities all around you, and express your gratitude for all that you receive as your birthright.
Gratitude will increase your ability to perceive beauty, forgiveness, light, love, and other Divine qualities.
Gratitude and increased mindfulness of the Divine virtues present in the world around you will increase your ability to receive increased illumination, insight, forgiveness, peace, love and light in turn.
To love yourself in this way is to take the first step toward transcending the petty mental considerations, congenital emotional defects and limiting viewpoint of the ego personality.
These self-imposed limitations are an illusion to be sure, simply bad habits and left-over patterns of thinking, feeling and being that we have inherited from the collective unconscious, from our historical and cultural milieu, and from our own past misdeeds.
Nevertheless, these illusions, including the ego personality, must be recognized for what they are and left behind on our journey to unconditional love
If you hope to truly love another, or to love and know God, or to achieve enlightenment, you must love yourself first, and surrender your ego personality in favor of the Higher Self.
This requires the courage of Arjuna, the spiritual warrior.
When we begin the work of subordinating the egoistic self to the Higher Self, the ego reacts with fear against our spiritual quest. To the ego, which is used to being in charge of our life, to accept the guidance of the Higher Self is tantamount to death.
Thus the ego will fill us with fear, doubt, anger, jealousy, stress, and strife, telling us that the Higher Self is an illusion, that higher spiritual worlds do not exist, that Spirit itself is just an impersonal energy.
We will find that it's difficult to forgive, difficult to begin to follow our own intuition and inner spiritual guidance in the face of "logic". After all, didn't our ex-wife do horrible things to us? Weren't our parents hopelessly egocentric dependent vampires, demanding our time and energy to heal them, while ignoring our own needs and identities? And so forth.
Hermes Biker by Jane Sherry
But we must persist in the effort to win the war described in the Bhagavad Gita, the war between the ego and the Higher Self.
Through the strength of sincere, focused intent and consistent, diligent effort you can transform your defects into virtues, overcome feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and isolation, and fill your cup with that Divine elixir of Love that is the true universal medicine.
There is no recipe for instant satori, for achieving true Self-Love. But for now, please reflect upon this beautiful teaching by the Bulgarian spiritual Master Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov. It is most relevant to the work we are doing together today.
“Love represents an extraordinary power to those who are able to understand it and are able to demonstrate it,” says Omraam. “Love alone knows everything and is able to cure everything, because Love can initiate and project unsuspected forces.
It is said that God is Love. But when we look at the tragic consequences love brings human beings we begin to understand the amount of work they still need to do, the distance they still need to travel to reach this divine love.
But it is worth the hard work, because love is the true mage, the all-powerful mage. Invite love to set up house within you and your love will, like the flame that shines through the glass of a lamp, shine all around you, wherever you go.”
READ NEXT CHAPTER: Chapter 5: Sunrise Meditation