The way I see life is that we humans are rather like fish who live in an ocean. When the they are swimming around in the ocean, they probably don’t think too much about it, it’s just so obvious to them.
Similarly, we have our existence in an ocean of consciousness whose very nature is silence, peace, love, bliss and Divine beauty. Absolutely Divine beauty.
This beauty is our very nature and is the ocean within which we live, all of us, every single one of us. And it’s not just that within which we live, but it’s actually a very ground of our being.
We are not separate from this ocean, we are not different from it in any way. Even our bodies, even our physical bodies are fundamentally composed of the same essence of this beautiful ocean of Divine consciousness …
“Heartful Self-Compassion” – What does this actually mean?
The principle has come to me over the last four to five years. Since Jenny died, I did quite well at looking after my house, my car, my garden and my computer. I offered help to my friends. I worked for a year without pay to help my son get his new business off the ground.
But I did not look after myself very well at all.
My eating patterns degenerated. I fell into periods of not exercising fully, and so on. More than anything else, there was a tendency to beat myself up with my own thoughts despite everything that I knew; because the pain of my beloved dying a very, very painful death in extremely difficult circumstances knocked me sideways.
I had to dig deeper inside myself than I had ever dug before to find what I’m calling Heartful Self-Compassion … for myself.
I could be compassionate for other people. That was pretty easy. But to be compassionate for myself … Not quite so easy. Not easy at all in fact.
Eventually, I saw that my lack of self-compassion emerged primarily from my childhood experience. Before my body was born, still in the womb, it was unloved and unwanted by my mother and I am convinced that the foetus soaked up her extremely negative, toxic energy.
In a very real sense, I was unloved and unwanted. I was born 16-17 years after my brothers. My parents were quite old when I was born; my father was 50, my mother was 40. Back in the early 1950’s that was very old to have another child.
I was conceived as an accident. And when I think of the quality of my parent’s relationship, I don’t quite know how it happened at all. 🙂
My mother in particular proceeded to make it very clear to me how unwanted I was. She had a lovely line that went, “I wish I’d drowned you at birth like I was going to.” Said to a very young and vulnerable child her words didn’t exactly do a lot for the little Leo’s self-esteem, as I’m sure you can imagine.
All of that accumulated pain was sitting down in the basement, we could say, and was impacting my relationships with people; men and women, and in particular of course, intimate relationships with women.
Eventually what I discovered, the most wonderful discovery, was that when I allowed myself to fully acknowledge, completely, that I felt unloved and unwanted – and to love myself even when knowing that I really was unloved and unwanted, the transformation was near instantaneous.
I had to, first of all, dig down deep and acknowledge and feel how unloved and unwanted I was, which was very hard. That was the hardest part of the process of becoming free from the past, because, like most people I would imagine, that pain was the last thing I wanted to feel. And it was the last thing I wanted to think about myself.
Who wants to think that they are unloved and unwanted? Who wants to feel unloved and unwanted? I don’t know anyone who would want that.
But once I was able to love myself I discovered that Conscious Love is the master key to freedom. I found it by asking myself, “Could I love myself while feeling, and even being, unloved and unwanted?”
The answer is, “Yes!”.
The metaphor I came up with to describe this is thinking of waves on an ocean. If we think that, on an ocean, waves arise. And imagine that the waves were to be suddenly frozen in time.
The waves becomes frozen in place, in a particular moment in time and in a particular form – and from that point on the wave never changes.
At a deep level in my psyche it felt just like that. It was as if the “thought-waves”, we could say, in my deep mind had become frozen in time by the trauma of my childhood experiences and the trauma of being unloved and unwanted.
When I finally got to the point of being able to love myself while feeling unloved and unwanted, the heat, the warmth of my own love, rapidly thawed the frozen thought-waves.
Imagine if, in the physical world, if there was a frozen wave. If we apply heat to it, what’s going to happen? It’s going to melt.
And as the wave melts, it melts back into the ocean. But the substance of it, the water, doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t stop existing. It just changes its form.
It’s like the law of physics, the Law of Conservation of Energy, which says, “energy can neither be created nor destroyed but it can only be changed from one form to another”. It’s rather like that.
When I was able to love myself and love these thought waves that were deep, deep, deep down inside, the heat of love, the warmth of love, of kindness and compassion, melted the frozen thought waves, which then effortlessly merged back into the ocean of Consciousness from which they had emerged.
From that point on, I have never felt unloved and unwanted. I’ve still got the memories of the events of my childhood, and let’s be clear, it’s not like having a pre-frontal lobotomy where we forget everything and we cease to exist in some way.
No, I’ve still got the memories of my childhood. I’ve still got the memories of being unloved and unwanted. I’ve still got a memory of all the emotional and mental abuse that was hurled at me by my family and my family environment (not just my parents, but both my brothers).
But there’s no emotional charge left. It simply melted away. When I was able to love myself while feeling unloved and unwanted by others the emotional charge simply melted away, sometimes instantaneously, and always very quickly.
As I got to see more clearly, I became able to realise how the knock-on effect that my childhood traumas had affected my intimate relationships, in my case with women.
I realised that the problems I’ve experienced were entirely due to what had happened at my birth and during the formative years of childhood. My suffering was entirely due to this very, very deep belief about myself, that I was unloved and unwanted.
And of course, if I’m unloved and unwanted, and that’s what I believe about myself, how could I possibly expect anybody else to love and want me?
How could I expect my human beloved to love and want me if I felt about myself that I’m unloved and unwanted? It’s crazy. But my entire experience changed as soon as I felt, “Oh, yes, I can love myself despite everything”.
This love, this Conscious Love, is Heartful Self-Compassion. This Love is unconditional Love. It’s not conditional upon anything happening or anything changing. It’s not conditional upon my suddenly becoming a different person.
What do I have to do to be able to love myself? Do I have to have a different childhood? Well, that’s not possible. I’ve only got the childhood that I had.
So when I love myself and include the childhood I’ve known, and love myself while acknowledging the truth of having experienced all the pain that I have experienced, the frozen, traumatised, thought-waves simply melt away.
All that remains now is love, peace, silence, or whatever name we want to give this vast ocean of Consciousness within which we all have our existence, our beingness.