Consciousness Archives

This post comes originally from http://www.radiantcore.co.uk.

 

“Know yourself” sounds trivial but asks for the truest devotion to the process of learning who you are, including the Shadow Self. It is necessary for personal growth and, in my opinion, it is necessary for a meaningful life.

Knowing is recognising and accepting yourself, your both sides. There is one that comes from “light” and there is the other one that comes from “darkness”. What is “light” and what is “dark” is based on your own moral judgement.

Striving to be good

I used to think that my goal in life was to become spotless. As a young adult, after years of teenage rebellion, I finally come tot he point where I wanted to become honest and moral, living in praise to God. I spent years to approach the ideal, yet I was far from it.

What surprised me was this. The more pure I strived to be, the less holy I was.

How could it be? I could not understand it at all.

I did my best to improve myself.
I spent hours on internal practices.
I put all my heart in.
I dearly cherished the intention to love and do good to others. But …. there was a basic dissonance in me, an incongruence which led astray.

How could it be? I could not understand it at all.

It has taken me countless hours of reading, thinking and testing ideas. Until … one day …. I finally got it.

I “saw” the fault in my reasoning, which was this. I wanted to live by highest morals, but I chose to do it either by fighting or rejecting the shadow in me.

It did not work.

Why?

The answer seems to be a paradox. But … let me explain.

Duality

Our world is co-created by polarities. The duality is ever present.

Day and Night.
Work and Rest.
Heaven and Earth.
Fire and Water.
Individuality and Commonness.
Similarity and Difference.

Do you reject a night and decide to accept a day only? Can you choose not to rest or not to sleep? Can you work 20h a day? You can pretend you are doing it for some time, of course, but it will not work long term. Day and night define a rhythm and the natural way is to live in agreement with it.

There is a duality in us. As a start. The problem begins when you and I choose to fight it.

Shadow and the fight

Every Saint, every Holy person describes the fight with his or her Shadow. And again, the more holy they attempt to be, the more temptations they have. Read any of their texts and you will see it clearly. The Shadow (or Sin, or Alter-Ego, or however we name it) exists, whether you and I like it or not.

Yes, many years ago I used to think that I was called to fight the Shadow and conquer her. But with years and experience I’ve understood that Shadow is a part of me and I cannot truly defeat my Shadow, hence myself.

What Shadow needs is understanding not a fight.

Shadow is part of me and contains all unprocessed fears, expectations, imaginations and wishful thinking. It also contains disapprovals, dislikes, disappointments, perhaps also anger, hatred, social conditioning or traumatic experiences. Or more.

Shadow is part of me which is ugly and I don’t like it.
Shadow only grows in power because I have casted her away and marked as bad.

The truth is that Shadow is a part of me and needs recognition. It does not mean that I need to accept wrong doing that Shadow feels attracted to, perhaps. Instead, I need to give permission to my own negative feelings (as judged by myself) and outlooks, without extra emphasis or importance.

Let go

This is the key.

I simply notice and observe that, say, I am angry or furious at a given time. I allow my unholy thoughts to be there without any unnecessary excitement. I allow emotions to flow. I give permission to myself to find safe ways to let go of whatever comes.

Every emotion is healthy when it flows in a proper way. Sometimes it is necessary to shout and show anger. Sometimes it is necessary to cry. Sometimes it is necessary to be super sad, or furious.

As a therapist, I can testify how emotions (which often contribute to the Shadow) tense the physical bodies. I know how digestion is impaired because of grief, disappointment or stress. The emotions that are either repressed or in overflow. I know because I palpate the body and find the knots, stagnation or blocked valves (say between stomach and duodenum). Once I release the tension, the body fully relaxes. The person extends, smiles and often falls asleep.

It is a powerful moment when healing begins.

The paradox

The paradox is this.

If you want to know yourself, you need to see who you really are. From the tiniest level to the grandest perspective. This includes accepting yourself from all the angles you may pretend they do not exist.

Say, accepting the one who is afraid and small.
The one who is jealous or nasty.
The one who sits in the self-pity pit, mumbles and complains all the time.
The one who is constantly anxious what others would think of her.
The one who constantly blames others for her lack of progress.

So, the paradox is this.

You cannot fight your Shadow.
You cannot reject your Shadow.
You cannot neglect or cast away your “bad” part.
You cannot work on improving yourself by focussing on doing the “good” only.

Similarly, like you cannot pretend the night does not exist, by pretending there is only a day available to you.

You accept both a day and a night and live in congruence to what they bring. You live actively during a day and you calm down and rest at night.

Similarly, you accept both your (Light) Self and your Shadow Self. You choose to become your best active Self, but you also give a calm attention to your Shadow Self.

Shadow and Light

If you want to grow, if you want a lasting change, you need to shine light (which is conscious attention) on your Shadow Self to help her integrate with the Self.

Shadow lives in ignorance and kicks because she demands attention.

The attention is acceptance and understanding.

When this happens, the Self relaxes because she becomes an integrated Whole.

Who shines Light.

Soul - ignorance - knowledge

Welcome to ignorance

Since childhood I have been puzzled by consciousness. I have struggled with questions about meaning and the observable discrepancy between ideas and outcomes. What was possible to experience or achieve was often different than I imagined or worked for. I aimed high and I failed often.

There were times when things went totally off course, revolting my life upside down. I was overwhelmed by my ignorance and the lack of understanding of how life was supposed to develop. Many times I pushed in directions which seemed right, a perfect continuation of my efforts. Despite the initial successes, I later was often failing miserably on the path. Clearly, I missed something.

I desperately needed knowing but I could not put the pieces of the puzzle into a whole.

At times I felt lost in a deep abyss. Becoming a devoted Christian brought me light and additional understanding. It gave me hope when I focused on kindness. Yet, it did not fill all the holes and did not give all the answers I was looking for.

Prayers, affirmations and visualizations helped short term, but the abyss was always returning. Maintaining the positive or re-programming the beliefs were ineffective, even though I learned from professionals and practiced with devotion (I became a coach and have coached myself in the process.). I did hope that I could change the negative by focusing on the positive and following that path.

I was naive.

Years later I understood that I could not fight the unknown in me, neither focus only on the positive and pretend this was to be.

The only way forward in personal growth is to consciously participate in the positive and the negative, including the darkest nights. It is beyond my and your control to change the night into a day. It will happen naturally when the time is right. You cannot change the state of events in the majority of cases, only the attitude. This was a revelation for me.

I had to enter the night, be present in the abyss and experience it.

This is metaphorically described all over the world in fairy tales or legends, when a young or ignorant boy has to go through trails, following the track of the given jobs of increasing difficulty to finally face a dragon. The boy has to go through this alone, but he may be helped on the way. The dragon is defeated either in a direct fight or by a smart trick which the boy might have learned from an old sage. After such a journey, the boy is transformed into a man. He gets a reward: a princess and a kingdom. The reward represents what the man is missing from his Wholeness: a wife and material possession. It is metaphor for Spirit missing his/her Body to create an amazing union.

What is the night?

The night is the time when Spirit suffers from ignorance and blockages.

Spirit is pure Consciousness. It does not have a form. It desperately needs a form to realize his/her potential.

Body is Subconsciousness. It has the Form but is Spirit-less. It desperately needs a Spirit to become active.

Spirit fills the Body, to get a form and to make Body be Spirit-full. This is the ultimate union and the longing between male and female.

Ego and Soul

In my understanding, when we are born, Ego is the initial, immature union of Spirit and Body, limited in view and experience.

Ego has a single point of view starting from here and now. Just imagine the scope of light from a torch shone in the darkness. This is how little Ego is able to comprehend.

The challenge we experience is that Ego acts as a controller and is terrified when he/she lacks safety and predictability of what next. Ego likes the orderly chain of events, causes and effects. When the here and now foundations are shaken, Ego naturally panics.

The goal in life in the process of self-development, as I see it now, is a mature union of Spirit and Body, when Spirit and Body are opposing, complementing and nurturing each other. This continuously leads to a more and more transcended extension of Ego, which is Soul. Hopefully, at the end of life, Ego is fully extended to a mature Soul.

I realize that others would equate Soul and Body, but then you would need a word to capture the amazing co-creation of Body and Spirit, wouldn’t you? For me it is Soul, as it represents the active part of the Trinity: Spirit, Body and Soul.

Soul is not necessarily homogeneous. There are different aspects of Soul, which coexist in one Soul-soup. For instance, on the lowest level, Soul is animalistic and includes our basic instincts (the Chinese call it Po and link to breath and Lungs). On a higher level, it includes our intention, intellect and will. Perhaps on the highest level, it includes drive and ambition (which would be linked to Hun, the ethereal soul in the Chinese view).

The suffering comes, when Ego cannot control what is happening or plans go wrong way. This is usually the time when Consciousness is expending or we are asked to understand more. This means that our false assumptions will fall and the illusions will be exposed. It often coincides with misfortunes in life or a big crisis. We are to be cleansed from various locks and ties to which we adhere.

Trapped Spirit

As in a metaphorical tale, the treasure is to be found at the bottom of the darkest den. In the time of darkest night, the New is there to be found. There are new mental and spiritual potentials ready for discovery and addition to the transforming Soul. With the earlier purge, the mental space has been prepared for new activities.

Day and Night are the basic polarity, the simplest development cycle of growing Consciousness toward a mature union with Body. Day is a metaphor for the light, the time of activity, confidence and courage, unleashed creation and sharing the knowledge.

Night is a metaphor for rest, inactivity, and the time of inward searching and understanding. It is the time to meet our fears and pains that ask for attention. Sensitive people can experience such a release by having nightmares or dealing with Shadows. Such Shadows can even take a form of Bad Spirits or Demons. There might be a threat of emptiness or death, as well as the lack of meaning.

Ego, with its limited perception, appreciates the stable situation, the continuity and the comfort zone. Ego forgets he/she is to be transformed into something New at times, and this happens all over again. Suffering that we experience is the expression of potential Spirit sparks trapped in the Subconsciousness (Body) and the fear of Ego for the jump in Consciousness that he/she has to make.

Relax into suffering

The key to help this process is to calm down and relax into suffering. As strange as it sounds, allowing and accepting it is the first step. It doesn’t mean we are to become victims of the events neither allow to be treated with respect or be torn by emotions.

No. No. No.

By allowing and accepting I mean becoming aware of what is happening and becoming a higher level observer of what is happening. The aim is not to fight it, neither to pretend it does not exist. The aim is to identify what is the potential which demands attention, understanding and release. Whatever we experience it is a part of ourselves. The suffering we feel is because a part of us needs attention and bringing to the light. Perhaps it is an “ugly” part of us. So what? Light represents knowledge and understanding, while true light represents knowing.

Because of our own ignorance and social conditioning, we experience Shadows from ourselves as something bad, alien and external. It is an illusion.

Shadows are real and represent a part of us, which we may negate in ourselves. Or, simply the parts which are new and we (i.e. Ego) are afraid of. Hence we want to hide them away or pretend they are not from us.

This is impossible however. The nature of life is to develop continuously which is against the Ego’s perspective pinned down to a given moment. The more comfort zone you want to protect, the less likely it will happen. As the sages have said through the ages “Everything is in a constant change, in a perpetuation of states.”.

In personal growth, our goal is the development Consciousness towards a more fulfilling union with Body (Subconsciousness). It is exactly the same in a relation – the development of a man and the release of fears by a woman to create a supportive-nurturing, always changing, co-creation.

We do not neglect, eliminate or push against the negative, but change the attitude towards it. We learn to journey through the negative, the crisis, the dark night, with calmness and understanding. The night will still be a night to be experienced. Yes, it’s true. We can make it less dark by shining some stars of relaxation.

When you enter the abyss as if it was your regular walk, calm and relaxed, the dragon will not be as fiercy as you have imagined. It is the understanding of the process that makes the dragon harmless. Knowledge that leads to understanding and intuition, becomes knowing, and power indeed.  The treasure will be found, in the form of wisdom and inspiration, ready to be manifested in life as a new project, task or newly founded love towards others.

The dark night serves a purpose.

Of course, not everybody has to go through dark nights, as these represent the growth of Consciousness towards a new direction or towards a more mature Soul-Self. The dark nights often precede the change in vocation, for instance.

There are many people who do not need this experience as they are already mature Spirits well realizing their potentials in the Matter. These may be regular people, content with their lives, enjoying who they are what they they do. Just in peace with life, experiencing Flow. Or, they may be engineers, medical professionals, teachers or gardeners, fully embracing their paths and consciously working on making a difference.

Know yourself and appreciate

When you experience deep sadness, depression or the lack of sense of living, approach it with calmness and understanding. This is a part of you, yet hidden, asking for attention and recognition. Ignorance is not a bliss at all. Instead of suffering, choose to see the experience as an opportunity for happiness to emerge. There is a part of you ready to be born which is trapped inside because of your ignorance and fear of whom you are becoming.

Get to know yourself.
Understand what is shouting for your attention.
Ask yourself questions.

What is my fear now?
What makes me sad/depressed so deeply?
What is ready in me to be born?
How can I help it transformed into something new?

Get out of the darkness in your mind. It is up to you. The darkness you experience is the manifestation of the lack of knowledge about yourself. Whatever it is there, appreciate it.

The biochemical or neurological changes in your brain or your body are symptoms of your problems. They are not the cause, but the effects. Your physical body manifests what the trapped unexpressed Spirit perceives. She/he wants recognition and understanding.

From the darkest night in December, Light emerges as Jesus, the Son of God, to bring light to Consciousness. See it as a metaphor for your life.

Bless the Soul.
The Dawn is awaiting for a beautiful day to come.

***

Ego and non-duality

Courtesy of DP, age 6

I like jazz, by the way, but these thoughts are about Ego. Jazz is here though ;).

Ego

Some think that Ego is an unwanted part that you and I need to get rid off in order to reach enlightenment or be saved. This was certainly a trap I fell into when I was young.

With years and some grey hair I have come to understand that Ego exists for a purpose. Ego is an integral part of the whole being. It cannot be just cast away as a bug, which happens to wander in your body.

For me, Ego is an individual consciousness from the (W)holy Being (who is both holy and whole, i.e. complete :)), perceived through the “eyes” of self-consciousness.

Ego makes both you and me unique. It gives us color, shape and structure. Perhaps it gives us tasks and challenges too 🙂

It makes the Self possible to exist within time and space. It helps you and me to think and act as an entity not as a mass. And I like it this way, I must say 🙂

Ego is the difference and makes the difference.

It is a part from the whole, which is both similar and different at the same time.

You may pretend that Ego does not exist. You may train yourself to neglect him/her, but You cannot abandon a part of yourself. Deep down you know
he/she is there.

Spirit

Some meditation schools focus on the experience of being an undifferentiated part of the whole, where you stop existing as a physical entity and become unbounded spirit. The Self is united to the whole and you feel as if a drop in an ocean and yet the ocean at the same time. They may also emphasize an experience of being a part of vibrating consciousness which is all around us.

Some schools of thought, say, non-duality, encourage the understanding of the I who is an illusion once its importance is lost.

Such schools focus on the experience of a Spirit, the idea we are all deeply connected, a part of One.

Non-duality

The roles of Ego ans Spirit are both necessary, I think. Even, perhaps, Ego and Spirit are not different creature, ultimately.

How to see that?

Consider a metaphor of a particle. We know that the particle has a dual character, it can present itself as a wave (undifferentiated information/potential)
or collapse to a physical measurable particle. And although we talk about duality in science, for me there is no duality. They are one and the same. It is only the lens of observation which makes the particle the tangible thing.

Similarly, Ego is the filter of perception through which Spirit experiences reality at any given moment, while Spirit is the connection to the Creator,  the Consciousness-Who-Is.

Are they one and the same depending on the lens of perception/observation, which can make consciousness an individual?

Ego allows Spirit to have unique experience. Ego gives boundaries, but these boundaries allow you and me to have specific experience.

Without Ego there is no independent thinking and no independent action. (And I love those too.)

Life purpose

Spiritual development is therefore not about getting rid of Ego, but embracing it, instead. Ego is a vehicle, a mean to your life purpose.

And what is life purpose?

In the daily scheme of events life purpose is self-development through (or thanks to) the integration all parts into one complete you. (Note that in the grand scheme of events you may choose your purpose as being saved or achieving enlightenment). You may make it as specific as you like.

Perhaps being ego-istic serves a purpose, too.

When you talk to great teachers, leaders or achievers, you will learn that their power to make a difference comes from their individual passions which are
shamelessly acted on.

When you talk to great scientists you will learn that their discoveries came as the result of them chasing their own intellectual pleasure of understanding how
things tick.

When you talk to great industrial minds you will learn that their technological advancements came as the result of them chasing their own pleasure of making things work.

When you read interviews with great artists, e.g. Beksiński, you will learn that they create their amazing art purely out of the personal needs to satisfy
themselves, to transform their dreams into tangible form.

It becomes One who chooses to satisfy Self, yet serves to Many.

Seemingly a paradox. But … No. No. No.

This is exactly the key: you can pursue your egoistic dreams, which although realized to satisfy a single mind, will ultimately deliver to many. Perfect deal!

The path

Perhaps the greatest minds choose the path of ultimate self-serving (egoism), which ultimately becomes the path of serving others. Why? Because in order
to walk this path you need to choose to serve others too, as without the interplay between similarity (selflessness, being a part of the whole) and difference (selfishness, being individual), there is no reward.

This is also why great minds and people, with experience deeply enjoy to teach others or to share what they have or know.

The pleasure of Self, of Ego, comes from serving the Others.

And sometimes it is hard to know the direction in which you walk. From Self-Service to Service-to-Others (or from difference to similarity) or the other way around.

Of course, you may also choose the path of seemingly neglecting Ego, the path of service to others, such as Mother Theresa or Kerrie from The Footprints Orphanage.  However, ultimately you can only reach your purpose once you embrace Ego by serving yourself the way you need, as without self-service you will soon become empty, unable to give.

So, we are back to what we know.

The task is to maintain the flow of abundance from giving to receiving or vice versa.

…all that jazz

To finish all these rumblings in the jazzy style now, I will say now:

The best thing you can do in life is to pursue your own dream, go after your own needs, embrace who you are and shine your own light. And in doing so, make the best to help others on your path to grow.

Choose to be the difference not the norm.

world_is_mirror

Photo courtesy Alosh Bennett available at Flickr under Creative Commons.

 

When you are stressed, the whole world seems in turmoil as well.
When you are happy, life seems at breeze.

The way you perceive the world, people and events reflects back to your inner state of consciousness.

I like this idea that the world is like a mirror. Of course, the idea is not new. It has been around for some time. Yet, putting it to test has a great consequence on personal growth.

***

When you live your days constantly on the-go, without a moment to pause and rest, one unfortunate event will lead to another.

Let’s say …

You car has got flat tires.
You missed your bus in the morning and are late to work.
Your kids get ill and you have to take days off.
Your roof is leaking and your gas boiler is broken.
Your cake is a disaster and you have no time to make another.
You slip in the rain or strain your ankle.
Your tooth, stomach, kidneys demand an urgent attention.
Your supervisor / boss / friend is angry at you.
Your important appointment is re-scheduled in a month time.

Can your relate to any of the above?

One unpleasant event leads to another, and before you know, the experience of life become that of survival. Put many of such days and events together, and life seems unbearable. Yet, every single event is manageable if you give it the right attention.

Of course, things do break or don’t go according to plan, at times. You know that. The world didn’t make a disaster on purpose to you. And, yes, sometimes unpleasant events come in pairs. Yet, it is your responses and your own consciousness that colors the events dark.

You may not have the direct control over many events in your life, but you do have control over your inner state. You can change your perception much easier than influence the perception of others in the world.

The world is the reality mirror of whom you are becoming.

You may of course find this idea ridiculous. Even though, you can put it to a test 😉

If your reality mirror reflects messy people, then you are likely in a mess too. Perhaps not concerning your personal belongings or the house you are living in, but your lack of vision and chaos in your mind.

If your reality mirror reflects broken or unhappy relationships, then you don’t likely have a good relation with yourself, missing self-appreciation and self-respect.

If your reality mirror reflects sadness, illness or loss, then you likely suffer from the same.

You cannot change the picture in the mirror by directly influencing the picture there, that is, the external. You have only the power to change the internal, the one who casts this picture.

Look at your reality mirror and observe what you like and dislike. Then look at your inner state and observe how the same aspects reflect in your consciousness. Keep what you like and forget what you don’t. Instead, define what you would like to have instead.

If you wish for more happy people around, start with yourself. Smile on purpose, be kind to everybody and exercise gratitude. Commit to happiness and make a small step every single day. With time you will observe more happy people in your world.

If you wish your beloved ones show more understanding for your newly learned skills / time-out / hobby, show first your understanding for theirs. Help them create the space for their needs, be patient,  appreciate their learning journey and support them. With time you will experience more understanding for your needs.

If you wish to live in a supportive community, focus on the respectful relation with yourself. Then go out and spread the kindness around. With time you will observe how the community blossoms.

The idea simplifies to being a change you want to observe in the world.

Give and receive. It is a circulation of value exchange and blessings.

As within, so without.

***

 

reach_enlightment 

I learned about enlightenment when I was 14. It was presented like a privileged state of being for a few chosen ones. This level had to be attained through mastery of certain practices which included meditation, chanting and a path of inner focus, gratitude and solitude. It was a promise of a life without both desire and suffering.

How interesting it was!

It caught my attention, for sure. First, because it offered a life without pain, as I understood then, and secondly, because I found the idea of belonging to an exclusive group enlightened beings appealing (Being a part of a weirdo’s group sounded good to the teenager me ;)).

I read a lot at that time. I prayed a lot. I also meditated a lot, though it was more of a reflection than meditation, I would say now. The “traditional” straight-spine meditation, hours long, was never my piece of bread.

Over the years I have educated myself and I have made small steps towards enlightenment. Yet, to my disappointment, no cosmic event occurred on the horizon. Not in the way I imagined, anyway, as a profound revelation, cosmic fireworks of bliss, angels with trumpets, electricity running down my spine and an eclectic state of being. No extreme understanding, either.

Enlightenment was about reaching the state of bliss, dissolving (or overcoming) Ego, or becoming one with God. Despite my sincere efforts my Ego hasn’t melted even a piece and she remained as strong as ever. God was with me but I was not one with God. And I had no spectacular experiences, either.

Of course I knew that it might take ages before I reach such a state, but somehow, I was discontent with my little progress. One day, upon reflection, I’ve came to a realization that enlightenment was not what I thought it was. 

It was my first enlightenment, indeed. 😉

Enlightenment is a journey

I looked at enlightenment as a destination to reach. I thought it would be a state of being that I could approach by a process of “bettering” myself through special practices. I understood that Ego was on the way and I had to take it from the earthly plane. The path to enlightenment talked about inward presence and focus, yet the goal remained outer. I was there as if to join God or to dissolve Ego, and hence to stand against a part of myself. It felt as if I had to see a part of myself as an enemy. It didn’t feel right.

Because I like to explore extremes, I carefully considered the opposite thought:  “Enlightenment is not a destination. It is a journey”. And it felt right to me.

A bottom-up approach to enlightenment starts from the daily events, being present in the moment and learning along the way. Enlightenment is an insight, a realization or a deep understanding. It is not a single event but a process – a way to live my life in awe and wonder, understanding and knowing. Enlightenment is therefore ongoing and I hope it will continue for eternity.

As we wake up to a day from the night, en-lighten-ment is a process of entering the light from the darkness. Darkness is ignorance. Light is knowing.

Similarly, as eyes take the time to adjust to the light to see well, an enlightening experience needs such an adjustment too. Enlightenment comes through observation, experience, reflection and conclusion.

I was first pleased with my discovery yet I felt I missed something. I knew enlightenment was more than that. And indeed it has taken me some more years before I’ve finally understood what the other necessary component was.

Since we are part of God, enlightenment needs the Self component, our conscious involvement in it (similarly as in consciousness). Not to be dissolved but appreciated, instead.

It is called intimacy.

Think about it.

“Into-me-see” – seeing into myself and allowing others to see into myself.

It is essential. To be intimate is to be authentic and truthful with ourselves, others and God. Intimacy is about closeness, appreciation, warm affection and simply joy from being in the presence. Of ourselves and others. And we yearn to such an intimate life.

As a result, enlightenment is insight, knowing and knowledge which originates from intimate relation with Self, nature and others. Every day is filled with enlightening experiences, if you welcome them.

What is enlighting?

  • Being grateful for being alive, healthy and well is enlightening.
  • Realizing I have a choice of how to respond to external circumstances is enlightening.
  • Knowing that dark times and difficulties can be a starting point of transformation is enlightening.
  • Recognizing the difference between response and reaction is enlightening.
  • Choosing not to burst out when the anger is called for is enlightening.
  • Enjoying simple tasks such as cleaning is enlightening.
  • Laughing at myself from my own over-seriousness or self-pity is enlightening.
  • Appreciating that God is intimate with me is enlightening.

Do you want to reach enlightenment?

Start from self-insight and self-knowing. Start from caring, intimate relation with yourself, nature and others. 

When we understand ourselves, we will understand others.
When we forgive ourselves, we will forgive others.
When we love ourselves, we will love others.

As simple as it sounds.

***

By the way, one of the definitions of enlightenment is “education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge”.

***

Photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

***

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