Learning to Love Yourself

What is so lovely about the spiritual path is that each person needs to find his or her own way into the holy of holies. What works for one person or group does nothing for another. Some bow, some kneel, some lie prostrate on the ground. Some sit in anatomically baffling positions counting their breath. But each rejoices when a pathway is found into a special clearing where they may stand face-to-face with their own divine Truth.

My pathway begins in the morning. It is unusual for me to wake up in anything less than a funk. For as long as I can remember my day has started out this way: grumpy and self-critical with a dash of anxiety. So when people commend me for having a faithful morning Quiet Time I have to chuckle a bit: "You should see me without it!" It's not so much a question of discipline as of self-preservation. This is not a time of controlled breathing while sitting in the lotus position. It's me still half buried under the covers with a cup of tea and whatever spiritual materials are close at hand. Me asking, "Where are you?" to the merciful unseen companions who will engage in silent conversation if I am patient enough.

What works for me is to have a journal handy. First I unload all the negative thoughts then I ask for help and wait…. It used to be that the wait felt endless, and after a long enough time I'd move on into the day, aware of more peace and acceptance, in spite of the silence at the other end of the conversation. But later I began to feel a sense of subtle presence, always loving and accepting. And with the presence a little thought or image would come, and I would record it in my journal. Over time these recordings have become a volume of lessons, dealing with different themes of the spiritual journey. I love the waiting and the messages. What has been revealed to me is that all of the things I can see and touch – including my own body – will be gone in a hundred years. Only this conversation will remain. That is what makes these messages so precious to me.

Each Person Finds Own Spiritual Path

A number of the recent lessons have been emphasizing self-love. I keep asking for guidance about the trials of the world: wars and sufferings, toxic oil spills and unemployment. But the message returns to me that my internal focus needs to be on unconditional self-love. Some recent thoughts:

When you become aware of the inner voice of doom and gloom, address it kindly but directly: "We want to remind you that all is well - things are not as they seem. Light is everywhere; Love is unstoppable; Grace abounds…. We are not alone: armies of ancestors and spirit helpers are healing this planet…."

Through the positive energy that comes as you wait on us, there will be gifts in these current challenges, but for now you can concentrate on self-love, which is your primary focus. The word for today is 'compassion' – to mine for this rare jewel. Love this physical incarnation – this body who navigates the human journey in her allotted time. When you love her, you create new love to focus and send out within this planet and all of creation. Self-love is a primary portal for light's transforming energy. Isn't it beautiful? What benefits you also raises the vibration of the collective. Today you may reflect upon this very simple illumination: Each time I send love to myself, I enhance the vibration of the cosmos. I am a valuable portal of love energy.

Yes, great horrors have been perpetrated on this earth, but what remains now of all that darkness? Nothing but memories, and even those are fading. The greatest evils the devil has devised are temporary and soon transformed. There is no permanent home for darkness in creation. All is transmuted into light.

Notice the love in you. With hands over your heart, feel and increase the warmth. Experience it. Breathe it. Appreciate it. Feel gratitude. That is all. That is the lesson for this time. We are here.

Clearly, God paints on a larger canvas than we can grasp. What a comfort to know that in the midst of any crisis we can take that journey – each in our way – into the peaceful sanctuary of unconditional love; and that our love can change the world.

Focus on Unconditional Self-Love

Jane Smith Bernhardt is an artist, performer and writer. She is a graduate of the interfaith Guild for Spiritual Guidance. Her book, WE ARE HERE: Love Never Dies, chronicles an extraordinary period of three family deaths and many miracles of joy and forgiveness.