“Gratitude and Loving Yourself” a Commentary from Richard

Self-Love. Some days this is really difficult. Rosemary writes everything is perfect just as it is right now in this moment; everything is in agreement with The Plan; everything is unfolding just as it needs to, bringing the perfect Plan into reality. Yes, we have lessons and are learning lessons, everyday, with every unfolding moment. And as we learn these lessons we move into next moments that are also perfect because we have experienced (maybe even learned) these lessons.

And the first step toward self-love is gratitude for self and the lessons being learned. OK, then I have a lot to be grateful for! Examples abound every day. I just got back from the post office, went to get my reading glasses out of my pocket (where I “always” put them) only to come up short; no glasses. So I search every pocket, in the car and various places I may have left them. No luck. I get angry, especially with myself for misplacing my “stupid glasses”! (As if they were suppose to remember where I left them!)

Over-reaction? Of course! Yet another lesson in – what? Patience with myself, always putting things where they “belong”, mindfulness? I’m reminded of a Zen story about a monk who goes to his master believing he is ready for the test of enlightenment. The monk dashes through the rain and puddles with his trusty umbrella to his master’s hut, bows and humbly kneels before the master fully prepared. The master asks: “On which side of the door did you leave your umbrella?” Unable to answer the monk even more humbly withdraws to meditate on mindfulness for another 7 years!

Gratitude for the lessons is one of the lessons! I am alive and healthy and unharmed. I can return to the post office tomorrow to see if I left my glasses there. Meanwhile I have a spare pair. And they are only “drug-store” reading glasses; easily replaced. Were they worth the anger and upset at their loss? Of course not. Did my anger at myself gain anything other than upset that extended to others in my presence? Not at all. Did I learn a lesson here? Maybe. Will I lose something in the future. Certainly. And will I learn the lesson today so that the next time I lose that thing I can let it go, forgive myself for the lapse and move on? Only with continued practice!

We are all every moment of life practicing at being alive, being fully present, being conscious in every moment. This is what the lessons are all about: our opportunity to practice. And when we get pretty good at one lesson we get a new one to practice. This is where the acceptance comes in. This is where the self-forgiveness enters. When we are grateful for these opportunities we do, in fact, begin to move toward self-love.

I would add a second step toward this practice of self-love; the next step after gratitude is trust. We have to trust the Plan, that there is a Plan, that there is a purpose to it all. And we have to trust that our lessons are part of this Great Plan, that we are alive at this time with everyone and everything around us in perfect order and proper unfolding of the grand structure that is in process of becoming. I have to trust that losing my glasses today in some small, almost infinitesimal way, contributed to the process of becoming. One more opportunity to practice self-love in spite of my frustration with myself contributes to the Scheme.

This trust is part of the mystery. How can I possibly believe that my loss and my lesson on patience and self-forgiveness, self-love contribute to the Unfolding Perfection? There is no proof here; there is no evidence, not even a shred, that this incident is significant. But I trust that it is. And because I trust I continue to practice. And because I continue to practice, learn my lessons, I am ever so slowly improving myself, taking steps on my journey. And maybe, just maybe in some completely mysterious way, that I may never understand or realize, the world will be a better place.

Self-Love. Not a simple path. It begins with gratitude and moves to trust. And there is so much more…practice, practice, practice!

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