One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Buddha is:
You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection
Why do I keep coming back to this quote? Every once in a while I get an intense deeply felt sense of the waterfalls of love available to us – pouring out from the sky, the earth, the trees. Some call the source of this waterfall of love the Divine, others Allah, others HP, some just the beautiful silver maple on the main road at the Arboretum. Sometimes, when I catch a whiff of this abundance of love I am transported, and I can feel the connections, interconnections, possibilities, and oneness. Other times, I notice the experience of Love is almost unbearable – I can’t completely let it in. If I were to let it in, to truly and fully hold myself in a place of being beloved, I would then know/feel/trust/be in the truth that each and every person is held in this ocean of love as well. Being in that truth is still, at times, more than my humble human heart can truly bear, so I dip my toe in, let go of whatever self-recriminations I can, step into the present moment, where the past and the future do not exist, and open myself to however much my heart can hold.
In this toe-dipping process, I catch a glimpse of how every choice, act, decision, skillful or unskillful at the time, was my own version of how a plant seeks the light, how a flower follows the sun. At each major juncture, I have been reaching for the understanding of how to be – how to become conscious of who I came into this world to be, what my family offered and what they were not able to give, ways in which my blind spots took over, times I had the courage to be my authentic self, choices to shed layers upon layers of stuck habits, old beliefs, and unconscious patterns.
“Deserving love and affection” can sound soft or undemanding. However, in this human being process, it is actually one of the most demanding paths of all – to love ourselves – and others – no matter what. To turn a mirror towards ourselves and notice the painful truths of our imperfections and inadequacies and missteps and still choose to love ourselves. To know that each time we stretch our capacity to love ourselves we also are more able to love others. In choosing love, we can listen, consider others’ points of view, be patient, and find forgiveness. In choosing love, we can set limits, create boundaries, speak up, and take action. The waterfalls are available to us – if we have the courage to step under.