Category Archives: love

Someone asked, “What do you do to practice self-compassion?”

I don’t think in terms of a practice of that. In a deeper sense, compassion or love is a unitary entity and when we really love it radiates out to all naturally and without ego effort includes a right sense of self, or self-esteem—this latter is not the same as “self love.” See my blog post for further development of this: The Paradox of Self Love.

Love is undermined by self-hate, but self-love is not the same as self-esteem and it is a mistake, I think, to emotionalize about loving oneself or to focus on that. See the exposition of the issue here: What the Self-Esteem Movement Got Disastrously Wrong | Dan Sanchez

There is actually some research on this theme: Does Self-Love Lead to Love for Others?, and it concludes with:

“Does loving oneself lead to loving others? The answer is not the simple “ yes ” often noted in popular discourse. In fact, the opposite is often the case. Self-love as operationalized as narcissism is linked to game playing and selfishness in romantic relationships.Narcissists look to relationships as a source of power or control — not as an arena for experiencing and expressing commitment.Narcissism does not lead to loving others in any interpersonally positive sense of the contrast, the implications of self-esteem for loving others are generally positive but are still mixed. High self-esteem individuals may be resistant to negative experiences of love sickness. How-ever, they may also miss the highs associated with manic love.These individuals also report greater passionate sum, the ego can be as much of a hindrance to romantic relationships as it can be a help. Individuals looking to experience love may be best served by turning out toward the other rather than turning in toward the self.”

 

 

Paradox of Personality Light

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The paradox, the yes and no of things is pervasive. It’s not just the transcendent that is intellectually elusive. The child asks, “What is a flower?” How can we answer? How deeply do I know what a flower is? Yet we try to answer.

What is a personality; what is the definition and the limit? We say it is vehicle, that it is a mask, that it’s on the surface of things. Then we say all is one, so the soul and personality are one. But there is time we say, and Saturn’s rule is the root of this separation. Yet we sense that time is an illusion, and for those who love, “time is not.” We find no clear dividing line between spirit and matter, between personality and soul, no place where personality ends and soul begins.

The mask we call personality is deceptive. If the mask speaks of the mask, how could it be other than deceptive? Yet, to the degree that it is integrated with soul, the mask is no longer deceptive. There is no mask in honesty, in wholeness, in unity—and unity is the essence of all. Yet, the most transcendent unified light still uses a form. And if a human form and human symbols are used, a degree of imperfection lingers, an element of deception.

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Where then is personality, and where soul? Among actual humans, I do not know if I’ve ever met a personality. I’ve seen faces in degrees of radiance and faces transmuting pain. But in all this alchemy, no personalities like the mental construct. Today, I suggest there is no category of personality rapport and or soul rapport. It may be convenient to speak of them, but they are not what is before our eyes. The existence of personality is factual, but it is not true. Before our eye is an exquisite play of light and shade, a world of gradations in flowing colors and shapes. The persona and its provincial and cosmic matrix are worlds of dancing lights, bits of energy with star-like distance between the points of illusion. The soul is the indefinable light that holds these stars in place and feeds their life.

The shine of personality is attractive. But it is somewhat like a moon, shinning with borrowed light. Its real beauty is not in the form at all, but in the soul shinning through. Personality is love in disguise. Virtually everyone I meet in the normal course of life looks well attired to me. They do not speak the language of personality only, they speak also the language of the soul. They do not always know they speak it, even when they do it very well. We hear the voice behind the voice. They cannot hide it; it is the nature of things. I see where the gleam in the eye comes from, even though they have forgotten to explicitly mention it.

Human Chaos

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Being frequently submerged in the chaos of our lower emotional natures means we fall continually into an unhappy half-life of existence.  Our semi-conscious thinking makes us subject to the surrounding chaos of life, and our semi-conscious love also deprives us of a happy outcome.   So develops the path of our slow education through pain.  This way stands in stark contrast to a path of actual love and wisdom.  And even when we manage to get our head above water, in this age of intensified communication, we are easily pulled down again into the crush of world chaos. 

How shall we endure the painful chaos of the world?  The pains may spark inspiration and define the direction for our creative forces, but our work is with harmony.  Essential optimism derives from attention to the spiritual depth, while pessimism or realism forces itself upon us in our attention to the chaos on the surface.  Realism is educationally useful, but our main life focus is with optimism because thought creates.  Education is good, and the work allotted to us defines the scope of it, but it would be debilitating to dwell indiscriminately on the horrors of the human scene. 

Self-centered Metaphysics

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Self-centered metaphysics is a contradiction in terms. It’s a curious and often unnoticed fact that most schools and teachings termed metaphysical, place the major emphasis on more or less mundane egocentric concerns:  awaken your psychic powers, get money, exercise influence, find love and romance, achieve personal enlightenment easily and quickly, and so on.  There is a wide spectrum of desire-appeal in these that ranges from the “metaphysics” of winning a lottery to subtler goals like general self-improvement and gaining knowledge.

Given the current nature of humans, such motivations and appeals are to be expected.  But they are not about metaphysics but “physics,” that is, the physics of bodies and their desires.  In the normal course of life, we do need metaphysics to awaken personal powers, get money, exercise influence, and find love.  With the exception of the last—and depending on what level of “love” we mean—these normal human goals are achievable without the confusion of redefining them as a spiritual path.   But in a curious way, selfish appeals and methods get wrapped up in various “spiritual” and “supernormal” packaging.  The seduction of that is that we can go on living an ordinary life while while entertaining the ego satisfying illusion that we are on a special spiritual path.

Goals like self-improvement, gaining knowledge, or getting clear of personality limitations can began to shade up toward something spiritual since they can support a healthy and more integrated personality.   And we need some measure of progressive normalcy before we can expect safe progress toward spiritual or supernormal.   Our practical pursuits are useful training and develop faculties in us that are a fitting prelude to spiritual progress, and moving toward the future our earthly abilities lend themselves to use on higher turns of the spiral of life.  But, as often happens, more or less egocentric concerns saturates the beginning, the middle, and the end of pseudo-metaphysical teachings.

We search for happiness, and real happiness is spiritual sunlight.  When approaching the spiritual, any desire emphasizing our egocentric concerns dims the light, and acts as a barrier separating us from the goal.  We achieve happiness not by grabbing for it, but as a byproduct of love, a radiant sun-like disposition and motivation.  For spiritual things, we achieve is by radiance.  But the ego in us is not radiant, not giving.  It is like a grasping hand, whereas the higher symbol is an open hand.  Spiritual receptivity is like this open hand held out to the sun.  If we try to grab the light, our hand closes on darkness. 

Love, Desire, and Broken Hearts

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We do not want to confuse superficial emotions or sentiments with love and wisdom. Based on various emotions and sentiments we can act foolishly, but actual love is never foolish. Love can powerfully affect the emo­tions, but it is not an emotion—it is the transcendent light and power behind our best decisions. What I mean here by “love” is love-wisdom, a spiritual energy at the heart of everything. This heart is not sentimental, but fiery and wise.

It may satisfy our sentiments to always act sweetly, in ways that make our loved ones and us comfortable, or in ways that accede to someone’s desires. But this may or may not correspond to love and wisdom. A decision based on senti­ment, or imagined love, may just as likely bring eventual harm as help. For instance, although pseudo-love or sentiment may move us to give everything asked for, re­gardless of long-term effects, wisdom knows better. And wisdom knows when to be disagreeable, and when to use a “yes” or “no.” In love and wisdom we find a far-seeing vision that senses the right type and measure of giving.

If we look carefully we may discover that what we sometimes call “love” is not love at all. Instead, we have a desire for love and a desire to love. And we are willing to do all kinds of things to get others to see us as desirable and attractive. We love the im­age and the ideal of love, even when we are not quite sure what it all means. But this psychology is human rather than transcendental and is based on desire and sentiment rooted in self-interest. If we are honest with ourselves, we may discover that much of what we called “love” is really our self-inter­ested desires in disguise.

We see a good example of how emotion can work if we consider the semantics of a “broken heart.” What breaks is not love or the heart, but our persistent and intense desire. We want what we cannot have and cling to desire in the face of frustration until it ruins our emotional life. But such pain is at a self-centered emotional level and not the level of the soul or love. Our so-called broken heart is caused by our desire. Love is the cure and not the cause of a broken heart, and when we really love, and love more truly and broadly, our broken heart is healed.