Marie and I were talking about the core issue of suffering as being the idea that something should not be as it is. In her case, there are some things about herself that she cannot accept as they are and she wasn't willing to let go of that attitude.
I said "What is it that you want to change in me?"
She said "Nothing".
I said "Why is that? God knows I'm not perfect, so what is it that takes priority over you wanting to change me?"
She paused for a moment and said "Love".
I said "Yeeeeess", and she started to cry.
She said "I didn't know until now that I haven't been loving myself."
I said "You know from your relationship with me that Love heals all wounds, solves all problems. All of life is a relationship; with yourself, with me, and with everyone and everything in your life. Regardless of the question, the answer is always the same. Love is the answer. Get out of the way and let life take care of itself.
First we find peace with ourselves, then with others closest to us, and then with the world. This is the natural unfolding of human consciousness, and if we try to bypass these stages of our development, our efforts will fail. World peace is not possible until there is peace in the home, and harmony in our happy relationships is not possible without self love.
Self love is not narcisism, it's self acceptance, which is not the winning of the battle for self improvement but rather the absence of attachment to a particular self image. There's nothing wrong with self improvement, but self judgment is very much a problem, and is typically projected onto others and resisted, which becomes the primary cause of disharmony in our happy relationships. You are always going to have strengths and weaknesses in comparison to others, and so the battle will never be won. You will never be beautiful enough, smart enough, rich enough so that you can say you have accomplished your goal. Ultimately, you must learn to accept and appreciate yourself for who and what you are. Only then can you potentially accept and appreciate others for who and what they are.
Harmony with Others
Once the battle with perfecting ourselves is surrendered, it becomes possible, for the first time, to enter into genuine, loving, happy relationships with others, but it is not automatically so. Happy relationships with others is a different level of love, and requires that both partners approach the relationship from their own place of self love, as self love is not tolerant of abuse.
In happy relationships there are no expectations placed on the other, and no need since, in the absence of need, there's a natural desire to be supportive. The partner is not there to fulfill our personal needs. There is only acceptance, appreciation, harmony, gratitude, peace and cooperation. This Love flows freely and effortlessly in the absence of the need to make the other anything other than what he or she actually is, and this freedom to be what we are resonates perfectly with our own self love, making the relationship deeply intimate and the heart trusting and open.
When there is harmony in the home, it's natural to express these kinds of happy relationships at some level of intimacy with everyone else in our lives, though it's also natural for some relationships to fall away and be replaced by those which are more alligned with our focus. Ultimately, our willingness to accept others and appreciate their unique perspectives will extend to the entire world, which may also open the way for a deep compassion.
Inner Peace is the consequence of applying what you have come to realize about relating with yourself and others, to literally everything in your life, as this is now understood to be how genuine Love moves in the world in the absence of your personal judgments and fears. All of life is seen to be an endless relationship with persons, things and events, and everything is accepted as it is because it is Love, Peace and Joy that you value above all else.
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