I treat my body to an early morning walk on grassy areas really connecting to the earth. What a wonderful experience! I discover places where the greenness of Mother Earth abounds... in parks and lovely wooded areas.
These morning walks have become my morning meditation (minus the cell phone, earbuds, etc., thank you!). I find these quiet moments to be the perfect time to tune in to myself, pay attention to my mental chatter, and commune with my Higher Self.
As I was walking the other day, I reflected on the statement, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and how it related to self-love. Part of my Christian upbringing included the teaching that one should put others first and that loving yourself was selfish. Yet, what came clearly to me was that loving yourself is a prerequisite to 'Loving Thy Neighbor'.
Treating Your Neighbor Like You Treat Yourself?
As the song goes, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love..." Yet how can we share love with others when we don't know what love is in the first place? We must start by accepting and loving our life situations and see the blessings everywhere. If we constantly belittle ourselves, criticize our home or work environment, or feel that we're not living up to our expectations, where is the love? To love ourselves fully, we must accept our 'imperfections', our fears, failures, insecurities, as well as the parts of which we approve.
Maybe that is the problem with the world. Everyone is treating their neighbors (whether individuals, whole families, or countries) the same way they treat themselves. In other words, if you criticize yourself, pollute your body, and don't take time to respect your own needs then your "neighbor" is in for a rough time when you begin to treat (or love) them the way you treat yourself.
Love is definitely the solution to all of our ailments and to the world's problems. Simplistic maybe, but true. If we all truly loved and respected other human beings, how could there be wars? How could there be rapes, murders, and other forms of violence?
How to Create Harmony with Our Neighbors and People Around Us
What do we need to do to create harmony with our neighbors and our families? Accept yourself, accept others. Love yourself, love others. If we judge ourselves harshly, it goes without saying that we will tend to judge others with the same yardstick. Once we can accept and love ourselves unconditionally, it becomes easier to love and accept others. If we become 'full of love' for ourselves, then we will also start loving our fellow human beings.
Love yourself unconditionally and let that unconditionality extend to those around you. After all, we are all 'in the same boat'. We all have 'stuff' we have carried around... fears, insecurities, beliefs, etc. And we have an inner drive to strive and re-become our Divine Selves. Yet, in that striving must be love for the confused children we, as well as others, have been and still are at times.
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It is time to lift the veil. Start by seeing everyone around you as children who have been confused and blinded who have yet to see their inner Light. Love them for who they are inside, and shine your Love and acceptance to them so they feel ready and worthy to partake in the wonderful ceremony of life on earth. Invite them to partake in the Love, Light, Harmony, and Bliss that is here for all. We are all souls that have wandered in the desert for years not knowing that the deep abundant well of Love and the support of the Universe was always there waiting for us.
Everything Begins at Home
The first step to reclaiming our Divinity is Love. Yet as with everything else, love must begin at home, within us. We must love and accept ourselves completely as we are now, knowing that we are constantly evolving and changing. Even as we desire 'perfection' seeking to rediscover and express our angelic nature we can accept our 'human self'. Then we can begin to live our divinity and love everything and everyone, seeing within them the Divine Life Force that we all are.
"What the world needs now is Love... No not just for some, but for everyone..." -- including yourself and your neighbors all over the planet.
A Path With Heart -- A Guide through the perils and promises of Spiritual Life
by Jack Kornfield.
A Path with Heart is filled with practical techniques, guided meditations, stories, koans, and other gems of wisdom that can help ease your journey through the world. The author’s own profound—and sometimes humorous—experiences and gentle assistance will skillfully guide you through the obstacles and trials of spiritual and contemporary life to bring a clarity of perception and a sense of the sacred into your everyday experience. Reading this book will touch your heart and remind you of the promises inherent in meditation and in a life of the spirit: the blossoming of inner peace, wholeness, and understanding, and the achievement of a happiness that is not dependent on external conditions.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book (different cover/newer edition). Also available as a Kindle edition, and Audiobook, and an Audio CD.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com