The theme I am presenting for consideration at our workshops and camps this summer is: "Don't waste one precious moment of your life doing anything that is not loving!" We had a discussion about that this morning. Ellika says she tends to feel bad about herself if she can't live up to such a command, and you can't command yourself to love, and so on. That was good, because it sent me back to another teaching that I have been neglecting. About altering our perspective and the direction of our consciousness.
The fact is that love is our essence, and whenever we are not engaged in loving: loving what we are doing or what is presented before us, loving the moment, loving any person, or just loving life, we are contracting, moving backwards in our evolution, sliding toward the end of the spectrum of consciousness where paranoia lies - everything is "out there," and they are all out to get me, "in here" - pure fear in some form. We are always moving on that spectrum in one direction or the other. At the other end, of course, there is no "in here" or "out there" - we are one with it all - cosmic consciousness, pure love.
We are not often at the extreme end either way, but generally always moving towards the love end or towards the fear end. And how the universe appears to us depends on which way we happen to be moving. Contracting is painful, expanding is blissful. To turn our direction around and start moving toward love and away from fear what we must do is recognize that we are not loving just now and decide to love ourselves - love our selves right where we are. Love ourselves for not loving. Love ourselves for not loving ourselves. And that, I am convinced, is always a choice we can make.
We can make it because love is truly our essence. We came into the world that way, knowing that. I have seen that in the eyes of newborns, and I just saw it at the Waldorf kindergarten where I told stories the day before yesterday. Watching those little ones, all the different little personalities, safe and free and cared for - so not having to close up and defend themselves but only to be themselves- running free and wildly joyous, or sometimes sitting quietly watching, absorbing the moment around them. I saw the curiosity, the play and learning and creating that is who we are purely, and I saw the love. I saw it when they played with Armin and Claudia, the teachers, how they completely trusted and loved their teachers. And every now and then one or another would come to me or turn to me and level a concentrated look, a look of pure love for me so strong I could hardly stand it. It almost knocked me over, every time, and it happened often.
Inside me was turmoil - I wanted to weep for such a wonder of who they are every one, and who we are, every one, and how we don't understand that and mess it up for them as it was messed up for us. And I wanted to shout my joy that we are beginning to get it, that there have been people like Rudolf Steiner and Maria Montessori and Alice Miller and Harvey Jackins, and Joseph Chilton Pearce*, and so many like the co-counselors and our Circle Way folks spreading the knowledge of who we are, insisting on our goodness, our love and connectedness.
So when Jesus wanted us to love God and our neighbor, it really isn't as hard as we have made it. Perhaps it helps to know we are God (He also said, in the Gospel of John, "Ye are Gods." Also to understand why the Buddha understood compassion to be central to enlightenment) and where it can and must begin is in loving ourselves, being compassionate to ourselves. Loving ourselves is loving the Creation, loving the Creator. We all did that naturally until we were three or four or whenever other people's distress began to confuse us.
I envy Armin and Claudia, being able to be in the middle of all that excitement and play and growth and freedom and learning and love every day. (It's exhausting too, of course, but bless them for that important work of love they do, they deserve all the rewards of it.)
So perhaps when I tell folks not to waste a precious moment of their precious lives doing anything that is not loving, I should also add that if you find yourself in a moment when you are not loving, just remember to love yourself where you are, love yourself for not loving. That's where the universe put you just now - it's not your choice, but you can choose to love yourself instead, and that will change your direction.
Of course, as Ellika points out, it's not always that easy for everyone. A lot of junk gets in our way. That's why we use and teach the Art of Supportive Listening, a simple, easy-to-teach easy-to-learn way of prying out the junk in the way of our living the essence of who we are in joy and in love.
And it works. I tell everyone how it keeps working for me, I see my own growth in love and compassion, my distresses fewer and fading, and I see the growth in all my friends who counsel, and I see that all the people I know who are teachers and leaders of Re-evaluation Counseling, who have been at this process for years, are altogether the most relaxed, friendly, clear-thinking, interested, easy and fun to be with, compassionate people I have ever met. Which is why I love co-counseling workshops and reading PRESENT TIME, where I can be fed and nourished with that consciousness and can feel supported that many are going at this stuff full tilt in their lives and giving it to others.
Still, I’m not rigid. What we are teaching is the best thing I have seen so far, and it’s working so I will keep on with it – but I keep looking, listening, learning, and the moment I find anything better than what we are doing now I will go for that.
It's a great time to be alive. There's a lot to do, but thank goodness for that - and what else could possibly be as much fun!
(* See all his books, especially MAGICAL CHILD)