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How do I love myself? Peace guru explains using Buddhist monk wisdom
Read in 7 minutes.
16th March 2023
written by: Ickonic Team
But what about exhibiting spirituality on this physical plane? If we are the universe manifest, what do we do with that information.
I came across a great talk by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh recently.
His explanation is very helpful with regards to enjoying an embodied feeling of spiritual love.
"First of all, you breathe in, mindfully and you become aware that you have a body.
“Breathing in, I know I have a body”
The body is a very important part of yourself, you spend two hours with your computer, you are stressful and you don’t know how to stop and you forget completely that you have a body, during these two hours.
You are looking for something in the future, in your work, while your body suffers. So the first act of love is to breathe in and to go home to your body. Breathing in… ‘I know I have a body’
“Hello, body, I’m home! I’ll take care of you.”
So to be aware of the body is the beginning of love. And when mind is home to body, mind and body are established in the here and the now, and you might notice two things…
With the practice of mindful breathing, the first thing you notice is your body is a wonder.
You have to rediscover that your body is a wonder.
Biologists and others have been trying to understand the body, that is a masterpiece of the cosmos. The body is a wonder, the body is the seat of consciousness, the consciousness of the cosmos, and you don’t know the value of your body.
Your body contains all information of the history of the cosmos.
In every cell of your body you can recognise the presence of your ancestors, not only human ancestors but animal, vegetable and mineral ancestors. And all your ancestors are still alive in your body, with their weakness and with their strength.
You might have taken your body for granted, but it is a wonder. Your brain, the neo-cortex is a very sophisticated kind of organisation.The cosmos has come together in order to produce this wonder which is your body, and if you can get in touch with you body you can get in touch with the whole cosmos, with all your ancestors and all the future generations that are already inside of your body, to manifest later.
Do you have the capacity to appreciate the wonder that is your body?
Mother Earth is in you. Not underneath, or all around you, but in you also.And Father Sun is also in you. You are made of sunshine. You are made of fresh air, of fresh water, and to be aware of that wonder and to value that wonder, can already bring you a lot of happiness. Breathing in, I know I have a body, and you can enjoy having that body, and you can get in touch with the history of life, you can get in touch with your ancestors. Your body contains all information concerning the cosmos.
And that kind of awareness can be healing, can be nourishing. The second thing that happens when you go back to your body, is that there maybe tension and pain in your body, because you have allowed tension and pain to get accumulated in your body for a long time. You have not loved your body for a long time, you have made your body suffer. So, mindful breathing allows you to be aware of that, and suddenly you want your body to suffer less. And that is why you breathe out in such a way that you can release the tension in your body. That is an act of love, directed to your body.
And these exercises of mindful breathing is available in the sutra, Anapanasati.
So, breathing in, “I am aware of my body, breathing out, I release tension in my body” that is an act of love, directed to your body. It’s really concrete, because the question is, ‘how do I love myself? To love myself is to recognise your body and to release tension in your body.
And then, when you breathe in and out you bring your mind home to your body and you recognise the many refreshing and healing elements available. So you can generate the feeling of joy, a feeling of happiness to nourish yourself. That is an act of love, for a person practicing mindfulness it is not difficult to generate a feeling of joy, or a feeling of happiness, basing on the fact that you are surrounded by many refreshing and healing elements. You have so many conditions of happiness available in the present moment, so there’s no problem generating a feeling of joy, a feeling of happiness, by the way of mindful breathing, and that is exactly how to love yourself, to allow yourself to be nourished by feelings of joy, feelings of happiness.
And then, when you practice mindful breathing, you might be aware that there is a painful feeling, a painful emotion arising, and you know that there are exercises of mindful breathing that can help you to embrace, recognise and embrace, your pain and sorrow and help you to suffer less.
One, two or three minutes of mindful breathing, embracing your pain and sorrow, can help you to suffer less. That is an act of love. To love ourselves is possible with the practice of mindful breathing or mindful walking. When you recognise the suffering within yourself you can calm it down and you can go further, by embracing your suffering, listening to it, looking deeply into its nature you might discover the roots of that suffering, the kind of perceptions that have given birth to that kind of suffering and you begin to understand your suffering.
And you find out that your suffering carries within itself the suffering of your father or your mother or your ancestors. Understanding your suffering, you understand the suffering of your father, mother, ancestors. And understanding suffering always brings compassion that has the power to heal and you suffer less. That is also an act of love. And when you suffer less, you can help the other person, your son, your daughter, your father, your mother, your partner, to suffer less also. If you understand his or her suffering, you don’t suffer anymore and you are motivated by the energy of compassion in you to do something to help the other person to suffer less, and when the other person suffers less, you suffer less and you have more joy. That is the way to love yourself.
You will not be able to love someone else if you don’t know how to love yourself, and that is the teaching of the Buddha, and to love yourself is very concrete.
With our in-breath and releasing the tension in your body, you take care of your body, you take care of your feelings and emotions."
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