“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” I don’t know about you, but this quotation simply doesn’t sound like what we typical hear from Buddhism, and especially from variants like Zen. And yet, here we are, face to face with a teaching, “love yourself,” that is both powerful AND surprisingly consistent with what The Buddha surely knew to be true.
What could The Buddha have meant when we said “you” and “yourself”? Whom or what was he addressing? These are very important questions, because to someone who absolutely knew the true nature of what we are, it would be difficult to assume he meant “love yourself” in some new age, cliché way. He would have had a deeper meaning, one more rich …
The way to truly love someone and thus begin setting yourself free is to first acknowledge exactly how you are experiencing this person. Do you love them? Or do you hate them? It is imperative to know exactly how you feel, think about, and see the other person.
You can’t let go unless you know! And you simply must let go of everything you think and believe about this seemingly other person.
Choosing to Love
Once you fully get into how you feel and how you see this person, then you can choose to love them regardless of how you think you feel. You can say, “Yeah, he treated me like shit, and I hate his fucking guts!” And then choose to love him, love him because he treated you …
I had a client once who asked me to explain further a comment I made to him during one of our sessions:
I have seen, in many contexts, the idea of accepting, allowing or welcoming one's experience. It seems to me that this is a crucial step to letting go or healing any issue. But these terms, welcome, allow, accept, really don't go far enough in my experience. They do help, but they don't have the force, the utter radicalness that brings incredible freedom and power. The more radical approach for me is to love my experience.Let's say that you experience a bit of hardship or unpleasantness, something like a break-up in a relationship. You are experiencing sadness, unhappiness, a sense of loss and rejection. The question I would often ask a client is "Could you accept or welcome the sense of rejection or loss?" This question helps the client to get in touch with the feeling, to experience it more fully. From there, it is possible to feel a spontaneous release or freedom around the feeling. And that is very good....
When you can for just this moment, just for this one moment, completely, utterly totally, beyond accept, love your experience right now, then you have the power to do something about it.