Many of us search for years if not our entire lives for love. Were convinced--or at least hopeful--that it out there, somewhere.
As the Waylon Jennings song laments, however, most of us are looking for love in all the wrong places.
Tragically, not many of us would think to look in the mirror for love. Or, if we do consider it, we usually dismiss self-love as mere narcissism. We are certainly urged to do so by many of our social institutions. The constant message: Self-love is selfish.
Nothing could be further from a fundamental spiritual truth.
Most of us are aware that Jesus admonished his listeners to love their neighbors. Yet we generally ignore the phrase that followed this teaching, as thyself.
In other words, Jesus gives as much weight to self-love as he does to loving others. The two are equally important and depend on each other. Hence the phrasing, .
love thy neighbor as thyself.
What most of us do not yet realize is that many of our problems and issues with loving others and being loved in return stem directly from our problems with loving ourselves.
Since we have not yet laid claim to true self-love, we do not truly possess love to give to anyone else.
If we do not own something, we cannot give it or even share it, much as we may want or try to do so.
Living without true love, we struggle as best we can with our own and others ambivalence, fear of commitment, unsatisfying serial relationships, and lifelong loneliness.
Indeed, much of the childish, self-absorbed antics of modern dating and romance are the effects of our lack. All we have to offer, in the absence of true self-love, is the appearance of love: the form without the substance; the longing without the fulfillment.
So what now? Where and how do serious spiritual seekers separate the chaff of self-absorption from the kernel of true self-love?
Those of us expecting some esoteric journey to far-off places that are supposedly more spiritual than other locales most likely will be disappointed. All we need do, really, is venture inward, to our own hearts.
The heart space within our own consciousness is unique and critical to our spiritual development. It is the one place within self where mind, body, spirit, and feeling meet. Only within our own hearts may we find our own self-love, reconnect with it, and experience its healing embrace.
Only then we will even be ready to give truer love to others and be open for love to come into our lives.
This journey to the heart is the most critical spiritual voyage we can make and will yield benefits not only for us, but for everyone our lives touch.
There are, however, many obstacles to making this voyage and along the way. These barriers and hindrances are by no means insurmountable, but its best to recognize them so they will not delay us for any longer than necessary.
About the Author (text)Candace (C.L.) Talmadge is the author of the Green Stone of Healing(R) epic fantasy series http://www.greenstoneofhealing.com and a political columnist syndicated by North Star Writers Group http://www.northstarwriters.com.
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