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Loving yourself?

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by enlighteneduk, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. enlighteneduk

    enlighteneduk Member

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    Maybe off topic, but I still struggle with this concept. I respect myself, yes, and have a great capacity to feel love for others, but I read repeatedly that I cannot truly love another, if I do not 'love' myself. I have been trying to understand this for years, but never seem to get any further! I read my yahoo stars this morning, which is what prompted me to write this topic. They said:

    You have a lot to offer, dear Gemini. Everyone really does appreciate who you are and what you have to contribute. Yet you have been unable to give yourself credit for all that you've accomplished. It would be worthwhile for you to take some time contemplating why this is so. You have a strong need to be loved, but you must first love yourself. Yes, we know it's a cliche to say; nevertheless you know it is true. Your family and friends will support you, but first you must support yourself.

    Yes, I have accomplished a lot, in my work within the equestrian world, to try to make the lot of the horse, an easier one ( there is so much cruelty, often through ignorance, and I try to educate the masses to realise this) but never feel that it is of any great pride, more that it was something I have always felt that I was born to do! Anyone with any thoughts which might help in this matter?

    Heather
     
  2. Itlandm

    Itlandm Member

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    Can you get wetter than a waterfall?

    When love runs through your life, from the endless source above to the endless need below, you will always be filled with it. Love is not a scarce resource, but people who can bring it down to earth are few, and this is the bottleneck.

    There are those who don't believe in a Higher World, perhaps because they have yet not met a saint in this world or not believed their own eyes when they saw selfless love. In such a situation it is surely better to love oneself than to try to coerce or guilt-trip others into showing one respect. But if you have surpassed this, there is no need to go back.
     
  3. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    I needed to learn to love myself also, and what i do these days, is to "fill" me up with love from my heart chakra while im meditating. Because i believe that thoughts are or have energy, i fill myself (my "energyfield" or what you want to call it) with the thoughts i want...with feeling of love, healing and all i like to.

    Maybe this is help for anyone reading this.
     
  4. enlighteneduk

    enlighteneduk Member

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    I have been lucky to witness selfless love on a number of occasions, itland, and I can truly say I have never felt the need to coerce or guilt trip anyone into showing me respect. I have never asked for it, nor crave it, with animals (and especially the equine species!) if you have ego, you are likely to have it flattened pretty sharpish!!

    But it is not 'selfless love', I am enquiring about, it is 'love of self' with which I have problems with the concept. I suppose I was brought up to believe that to love oneself was narcissistic, and of the ego, and maybe this is what has coloured my idea of this throughout my life. Now in all the self development work I have undertaken, I am told I must first love myself before I can love another, and this is the concept that I struggle with, constantly!!

    Heather
     
  5. Itlandm

    Itlandm Member

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    The body needs to be maintained. The ego has infinite needs. The Self has no needs. So which one is it you plan to love?

    How do you plan to practice this love? Love is the power that unites. This is its definition. When you love someone, you want to be close to them, in body or in mind. When you hate someone, the whole world is not big enough for the both of you. Hate drives apart, love draws together. How do you plan to love yourself all alone? It is not possible.

    There is no worth in listening to the advice from people who think they will get happier by getting your money. Listen to the guiding lights of the human spirit through history, those who lived and died the way they preached, filled with love for everyone in their path. They were beyond illusion.
     
  6. enlighteneduk

    enlighteneduk Member

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    I dont think you quite understand me, Itlandm. I am far from alone, and am fortunate in having a great deal of love in my life, that of my family, friends, my animals, and also the wonderful community that is my own internet forum. I have endured many tragedies in my own life, and hope I have learned compassion from these traumas, and which I try to put into use by helping others in similar situations. I long ago learned that hate is a divisive emotion and it has no part of my life- I do not hate, or feel bitterness or jealousy towards anyone.

    I am merely trying to understand the concept of 'loving myself'. I have no trouble in feeling love for another, quite the contrary, but cannot feel the same strength of emotion for myself.

    Heather
     
  7. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Loving yourself means for me in first place
    to accept everything you are, and the fact that youre here.

    We are reflecting ourselfs every day in the people around us,
    and if theres something we dont accept (we dont like) in us,
    we dont like it also in others. Thats what i understand with loving
    yourself in first place before beeing able to love others.
     
  8. enlighteneduk

    enlighteneduk Member

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    Ah, many thanks Pan- that is a very clear and simple way to think of it.

    Heather
     
  9. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Im glad i could help. I always try to be as simple as possible :)
     
  10. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi Heather, searched through the community and found the following link - it's a little exercise I suggested and Beth (who's achieved fantastic results) experienced this:-

    http://www.project-meditation.org/c...x/486-daring-test-love-leapyear.html#post2030

    If you try it, make sure you are not disturbed because it's a very personal exercise.

    Our true being is actually an infinite source of love - often hidden because of the busy mind that we identify with constantly. Because it's hidden we can feel as though we have a void within ourselves and we tend to search for an "elusive something" Often when we are shown love from others we can tend to cling on to it.

    If you have a child, you probably understand the unconditional love you have for your child. You can learn to love yourself unconditionally instead of criticising yourself and putting yourself down.

    Try noticing how you talk to yourself (with your thoughts) when you make a mistake etc. You'll probably realise that you wouldn't be harsh with someone else if they made the mistake - so it makes sense to be kind, understanding and compassionate with yourself too.

    The amazing part of observing through meditation is accepting the sensations within your body that accompany fear and other negative emotions and simply observing them until they just dissolve.

    This is probably the most freeing exercise I have learned to do.

    Until you master this just keep affirming to yourself that you like and love yourself - with practise you will discover the infinate abundance you have to share with others and when you are given love from others you will deeply enjoy this , although you won't need it :)

    You can also incorporate this into the gratitude exercise too - e.g. "I am so greatful that I truly like, love and accept myself just as I am" I hope this makes sense and is of help to you. I wish you an abundance of love, joy and peace on your continuing journey of self discovery :) :) :)
     
  11. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    Hi polly,

    I wonder if this exercise you´ve linked, rather feeds the ego then the true self. Of course it would be beneficial to tell yourself such positive things, but in the end isnt it only the ego which is feeded by this method and doesnt it cause pain in the end, to be afflicted with the ego (because it never gets enough)?

    Just my 2 cents.

    Btw: im always trying to keep it simple because my english isnt the best *gg*
     
  12. Eady

    Eady Member

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    I once read on another forum I'm currently on says that shouldn't hate or dismiss your ego it is neither bad or good it is neutral. What would be beneficial for the ego though is to cultivate it so you could learn to love and accept yourself.
     
  13. Panthau

    Panthau Member

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    That makes sense Eady. Maybe feeding the ego but "beware" of doing so and dont overfeed it, is a good way :)
     
  14. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    I'm just catching up after my hols...

    Hi Heather,
    To love oneself can be narcissistic and of the ego, but first we must understand some things...

    What "self" is it that we are aiming to love?
    What is the "ego"?

    The ego is the attachment of our True Self to things in this existence (material, emotional or whatever). When this attachment occurs it creates a belief that these things are "ours" or belong to us in some way. Once we have this belief of "ours" and "theirs" we are living in a dualistic world created by our mind. This dualistic belief causes us pain when attempts are made to change it i.e. when we lose something that we believe is ours.

    As Itlandm and PollyAnna mentioned above, the True Self does not need to be loved, as it already is the source of all love. We are all love covered up by our dualistic ego minds. Love is the natural in-between and exists already between us all.

    The self that is talked about when we hear the saying "before you can love others you must learn to love yourself" is referring to the True Self, not the "self" that is created in the dualistic understanding of the mind. Believing we love others but can't love ourselves is a trick of the mind, holding us in this dualistic view of "them and us". When we come to truly recognise our True Self (from the practice of being present and letting go of thoughts and dualistic beliefs) we become the love and, by the very nature of our True Self this love pervades all, so naturally we are already loving "others".

    Pan,
    I think, as Polly said on that other thread, that the exercise comes from "feel the fear and do it anyway". I guess it depends on how you do the exercise. Some people, already with a large ego control over themselves, may just use such an exercise to add to their ego and, as you say, this would just feed it.

    For most, the exercise will allow the person to experience the fears they have (a lot of people fear looking at themselves or have judgement about themselves "too fat", "too ugly" etc.) and rather than feed the ego with positive things (which mostly they wouldn't believe about themselves anyway because the negative feelings would still be there), the intense focus on the self can actually dissolve the false reality the mind has created and allow us to become aware of the True Self. It is very much like bringing oneself into the present moment. In the present moment, the thoughts, judgements and emotions cannot exist as they can only exist in the past and the future, which in themselves are not truth.

    Eady,
    You are correct, the ego is neither bad or good, as such labels are emotional attachments we place upon things.

    The ego is "ahankara" in sanksrit. The Ahan (Aham when used as a word alone), is the True Self. Kara is, as my teachings refer to it, anything in the creation. When Ahan attaches to Kara it creates Ahankara which is the ego, thus, when our True self becomes attached to anything, creating a sense of "mine", this is ego.

    To "dismiss" ego (if I understand your intention of that word), would simply be the mind's way to try and cover up the acceptance that we have attachments to things, in order to protect itself. Our mind fears that when we BEcome our True Self, that it will be lost forever, but our mind is attached to time and time does not exist in the present, so in a sense, yes it will become lost, until we return to our existence in time. Many people will say that they have no ego, but in truth, without the ego, we would not exist in this physical existence. We all have ego, just that some let it take control of them more than others. Becoming aware of what the ego is allows our True Self to use the mind as the tool for which it is intended, rather than letting the mind and ego cover over our True Self.

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  15. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Brilliant post Giles !
    Maybe this can help make things even more clear:

    "Ego" is in itself just a name for the image we have of ourself. Based on our reactions and events in our past. The problem is that when you start to believe that image, when you think that this image about yourself has to be true, you will most probably become unhappy with that image, and try to improve it. Kind of funny, because your recollection can NEVER be complete towards everything you might have said or done in the past.It's impossible to recollect everything at the same time. So, your self-image has to have been formed from incomplete memories, and thus it has to be false. You picked out those memories you like best, and place them against those memories that seem to haunt you most, hoping to create a balance.
    All this to get a general idea of who the heck you are.

    But how many times have you said or done something that totally surprised yourself ? I bet everybody has had this experience once or twice that you asked yourself " Now why the heck did I go and do a thing like that ? "
    You weren't planning on telling that particular thing to that person, because you know that he always tells everybody, but you couldn't stop yourself.

    In Holland, commercials for companies that provide in stock-exchange packages that might give you more interest than a normal savings account, now have to say " Results from the past are no guarantee for the future " and that is how it is with your ego ( read "false self image" ) as well.

    We try to make ourselves believe that we are in control of ourself, by creating the ego.
    By completely accepting the fact that we say or do things anyway, your ego will be recognised as non-existant. You will now see that what you used to believe to be true about yourself, is nothing more than a thought arising in the moment.

    Practice this if you will: Just try to observe yourself once, while working. Your mind is thinking, your hands are moving, your body is breathing, your heart is beating. You might think that you are the one controlling the movement of your hand. But all you do is order it to go to that and that location and grab something, and all the muscles will be activated just at the right time, by itself ( or by the Self ) or maybe you feel more comfortable with the term "sub-conscious" for now. Are you really in control ? Try to watch your movements as if you are watching a movie, starring you as the lead actor. You might even feel some small curiosity to what you will do next, what you will think next, what will happen next. Allow your body and mind to do what they think is needed, make appointments, work, do some chores. And just observe yourself doing it, as if from a distance. Accept whatever thought arises. Whatever feeling arises. It is just a manifestation of life, appearing in the Now-ness of your consciousness. A movie to be watched.

    So, it comes down to this: when you want to "dismiss the ego", that is based on the assumption that you even have one. You create an image in your mind of your ego, and then you try to dismiss it...

    Oh, and very importantly, DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT I JUST SAID !!!
    Instead, try to prove me wrong ! Investigate in yourself if what I said is true.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  16. enlighteneduk

    enlighteneduk Member

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    Giles and Edwin,

    Your posts have clarified the concept absolutely and I understand this for the first time ever. Absolutely brilliant, thanks so much!!

    Heather
     
  17. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    :) You are welcome.

    Most people think you have to get all spiritual for enlightenment, but actually it is sensible self-inquiery that get's the job done.

    Check out Mooji on Youtube, you will love his satsangs.
     
  18. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    *hugs*

    Happy to have clarified it for you. :)
     
  19. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Here is a teaser for you:

    If you have tried my blue exercise, and fully understand what I have said ( read: not just intellectually, but completely ) what have your really accomplished ?

    I know that, ever since I saw that the ego is non-existent, all I have been doing, my real I that is, is "watch the movie" like in my blue exercise.

    At first I thought I was in control, but now I know that everything that happened, including all my actions, happened by themselves:

    I have not done anything my entire life

    and even more boldly:

    Neither have you !

    You are under the impression that you accomplished something. Who accomplished something ?
    Your True Self, the source of who you are, perfect and total Love ?

    Or that false self-image called ego, that thinks it needs to "do" something ?

    Now you might wonder what the point of life is anyway if this all true.
    Why should there be a point ? A point is a destination, you want to reach something.

    Who wants to reach a point ? And why ? And what if you would reach that point ? Would you be fully content, and stay that way, or is that just an illusion ?

    This is the treadmill called "ego".

    Sorry for shaking your ego ;)
     
  20. Itlandm

    Itlandm Member

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    Noooo! Don't listen to that Edwin guy! I mean, he isn't even there!

    :)
     

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