our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.
And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!
Have you ever done the assignment to write the love letter you’ve always wanted to receive, and then to record and listen to it?
If you haven’t,
and do it right NOW,
before reading any further.
To listen to this love letter is a powerful experience, perhaps because it’s the only time we get to see OURSELVES through the eyes of love. It’s a truly spiritual moment, an encounter with the Divine, the immediacy of Life witnessing Life and experiencing the wonder of recognition.
We write the love letter not just as a practice of “compassionate comprehension that dissipates delusion” but also to reveal what veils that clarity. What keeps us in identification with ego and “ignorance of our True Nature” is self-hatred. It has nothing loving to say about the “person” being written about. In fact, from its perspective, “not only are you unworthy of love, you don’t deserve to exist.” It’s that strong a force of negation. Most of the time we’re unaware that these voices are subliminally coloring our perception of who and what we are or that the message they deliver is always “there’s something wrong with you.”
If you don’t believe that self-hate is always operating under the radar, pay attention the next time someone says something nice to you. Do you find yourself deflecting the compliment, being self-deprecating, or acknowledging their words outwardly while listening to and believing something inside you reciting all the reasons why you don’t deserve appreciation? Isn’t it your experience that you can acknowledge that you are loved but you cannot say, without reservations or qualifications, that you’re completely lovable?
That’s because you believe what self-hate says.
Anyone who has ever listened to and believed the voices of self-hate (and if you are human and have a pulse, you have!) knows what a devastating experience it is to be subjected to this constant hatefulness. Whether its flavor of the moment is mild or vicious, the message of “your” inherent worthiness is cruelly, dispassionately, and coldly delivered as the absolute, unequivocal “truth.”
Before we come to Practice, we believe the voices of self-hate and identify with the lies they spew. Even with practice, identification with what self-hate says is so ingrained that we find it almost impossible to “see” and claim our True Nature. We may catch ourselves in a rare moment of grace, feeling “good” about ourselves, but the experience of our goodness is temporary. In minutes, the verdict from that voice in our head, that “fantasy of authority,” has dissipated our expansive energy by pointing out that the only reason we received “approval, validation, love, acceptance” was because of what we did, said, offered, thought, or produced. Self-hate is quick to reinforce the conditional nature of our well-being and negate anything that reinforces our inherent goodness.
Everyone possesses Buddha-nature. Don’t demean yourself. – Dogen.
Life is. All of Life is acceptable to Life. We could say the spiritual journey is developing the “seeing” that allows us to be present to Presence, unconditionally. Conditioning dulls our “sight.” Self-hate is more debilitating! It blinds us to our True Nature. It robs us of our ability to experience ourselves as a unique expression of the Divine. This is why we say, “spiritual practice begins when the beatings stop.” As long as we’re willing to entertain even an iota of self-hate, there is one element of existence that is outside the circle of acceptance: “You.”
This is why “going beyond self-hate” is the foundation of the practice of recognizing our Buddha Nature. With practice, we’re usually able to discern egocentricity in action. We can even be present to the Buddha Nature of all things. But accepting our intrinsic purity is difficult unless we let go the self-hate that say’s there is something wrong with “you” for having an ego. This is why we practice Unconditional Love and Acceptance. We embrace in Conscious Compassionate Awareness every aspect of the human being, including what sometimes identifies with ego. We widen the circle of acceptance until it is ALL inclusive and our intrinsic wholeness and goodness is not in question. This makes us less susceptible to the habit of identifying with ego.
Love is a mode of knowledge. - Aldous Huxley
It is only when we see with the eyes of love that we can be present to what is. It’s a glorious process to discover and embody the specificity of Buddha-nature manifesting in form. What I am becomes a clarion call for Life. Instead of identifying with and being negated by self-hate, and therefore denying what is, we practice being in the joyous process of affirming All that is us while honoring the individual expression of All in “you” and “me.”
Happy Birthday Cheri
We celebrate the Guide’s seventy-fifth birthday on April 18. Her gift to us has been an invitation to drop self-hate and experience ourselves the way Life sees us. The invitation is embodied in this song, based on Cheri’s book There Is Nothing Wrong With You, written and sung by Trish Bruxford-Coligan:
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
How free would you be, how deep would you love, dear?
What would you hear if you listened to your beautiful heart?
What if you lived with your soul as your pilot?
What skies would you fly, how wide would you open?
What would you sing if you gave voice to your beautiful heart?
Self-punishment does not lead to self-compassion.
Self-compassion opens to self-compassion
Opens to compassion for all
Opens to love
Be gentle with you
Who would you be if you came out of hiding?
What name would you claim; will you rise for your entrance.
How would you dance to the music of your beautiful heart?
What if you bathed in an ocean of roses?
What if you swam in a river of joy?
What if you breathed in the notion of forgiveness?
What if you opened to an ancient flow of Love?
Do one of these practices on April 18, the international day of no self-hate.
Practice not listening to and believing the voices of self-hate.
Stop identifying with the “self” that is hated.
Embrace in compassion all that is deemed unacceptable about “me.”
Cultivate an intimate relationship with the Wisdom, Love, and Compassion that is our True Nature and practice “looking to it” for what is so.
Choose Unconditional Love in each moment to calibrate our vision to “true seeing.”