With each day of my spiritual practice, I am coming to more deeply believe that all of our perceived issues come from our illusion of separation.
This is not the separation and division that is perceived between countries, states, cities, races, cultures, genders, etc. All of that separation is a product of true separation.
This is the separation from ourselves.
Lesson 79 of A Course in Miracles states:
A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is. Even if it is really solved already, you will still have the problem because you cannot recognize that it has been solved. This is the situation of the world. The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved. But the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized.
Everyone in the world seems to have his own special problems, Yet they are all the same, and must be recognized as one if the one solution which solves them all is to be accepted. Who can see that a problem has been solved if he thinks the problem is something else? Even if he is given the answer, he cannot see its relevance.
That is the position in which you find yourselves now. You have the answer, but you are still uncertain about what the problem is. A long series of different problems seem to confront you, and as one is settled the next one and the next arise. There seems to be no end to them. There is no time in which you feel completely free of problems, and at peace.
The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved. The world seems to present you with a vast number of problems, each requiring a different answer. This perception places you in a position in which your problem solving must be inadequate, and failure must be inevitable.
No-one could solve all the problems the world appears to hold. They seem to be on so many levels, in such varying forms and with such varied content, that they confront you with an impossible situation. Dismay and depression are inevitable as you regard them. Some spring up unexpectedly, just as you think you have resolved the previous one. Others remain unsolved under a cloud of denial, and rise to haunt you from time to time, only to be hidden again but still unresolved.
All of this complexity is but a desperate attempt not to recognize the problem, and therefore not to let it be resolved. If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter what form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance. Perceiving the underlying constancy in all problems which confront you, you would understand that you have the means to solve them all. And you would use the means because you recognize the problem.
When you are connected to yourself, connected to the source of energy that flows through you, you can only love yourself. And when you love yourself because of this recognition you cannot hate another. When you go within and experience the true nature of being, you come to realize you are so much more than you could have ever imagined, and you know this to be true about each and every individual on this planet. You come to understand that you and every living soul are worthy of a beautiful life, and most importantly, worthy of your own love.
So, let me ask you,
How often do you sit with yourself? Just sit and be, in stillness?
How often do you try and connect with yourself, with your soul? How often do you dig down deep within and see what is there? How often do you recognize all the good that you do and already experience? How often do you congratulate and applaud yourself for all your hard work? How often do you say kind things to yourself about yourself?
And most importantly, how often do you tell yourself I love you?
Self-love in the truest sense is not yet a common practice. Much of what is projected within our external environments is that you need things outside of yourself to make yourself loveable; ego. Many of us become conditioned from a very young age to believe that our self-worth is defined by how many things we own, friends we have, how much money is in our possession, what kind of job we have, etc. When instead we should think of self-worth as defined by how much we love ourselves.
You see this concept of loving myself is new to me too. Up until recently, I too was searching outside of myself for a reason why I should love myself. I held myself up to seemingly unrealistic expectations and when things didn't go as planned, I turned it around and said nasty negative things to myself about myself, things I would never dare say to another human being. But you see, this was only because I was disconnected from my true self, the one source within.
Through meditation, in the silence, I have been blessed to bear witness to the beauty that we all are. I have come to recognize the source that flows through all of us and I have learned that nothing is more important than the love we have for ourselves.
Through this love for yourself, you will unconditionally love those around you. You will recognize yourself in everyone and everything and will experience greater love for all living things because you will know the connectedness of it all. Through this, you will know that any perceived problems come from human addiction to the ego and the separation from the source within.
When you begin to love yourself, you will begin to free yourself. And through this liberation, you will free all things around you.
Self-Love - Going within
But how do we even begin to love ourselves, when we have been surrounding our life with conditions for years? The answer is, we must be brave enough to get still, to go within. Many call this meditation. Though it seems that the word meditation has a stigma attached to it. It is thought of as a practice that is only for some people; the yogi, mystic, hippie. Though I like to think of meditation as a state of being, where everything we do in an effort to quiet the chatter of our own minds is a form of meditation.
What I mean is that each day when we are focusing all of our attention on something, whether that be work, kids, television, youtube, music, reading, a favorite hobby, working out, sitting in stillness, etc. We are meditating on whatever we have our attention placed on. Whatever our attention is will arise an emotion depending on our association with it and our reflexive thoughts around that activity. Thus, whatever we have our attention on will either allow stillness to arise or it will give the egoic mind more power.
So it is important to understand that activities in their various forms are not created equal. Each form of meditation will influence how you feel and ultimately assist or hinder you in creating the reality you are living or want to be living. For instance, it is one thing to watch television, read books, and listen to music, but when the content within those activities fills your mind with more drama, more thoughts of lack and separation and your body simultaneous experiences feelings associated with drama, lack, and separation, you are bound to look for and find more drama, lack, and separation within your own life.
So if we think of all things in our life as, in one way or another, meditative, then we can consider how important it is to make space in our lives for activities that facilitate a natural state of being. These conscious efforts to produce moments of stillness and work to quiet the chatter of our mind - maybe we even focus on breathing will help you to begin bringing in small moments of awareness in your day to day life.
If you want to experience true change within your lifetime, then I challenge you to go within. Begin your own soul journey into yourself, into your soul.
The only way we will ever change the world, is if we are bold enough to change ourselves.