Loving Your True Self

Love your self. It's a common refrain.

One way to interpret this is loving who you are—accepting yourself just as you are, warts and all; having compassion for your shortfalls, while rejoicing in your gifts. Loving ourselves in this way relieves us of much self-judgment and self-criticism.

We can also love ourselves at a deeper emotional level. We can take that feeling of love, which dwells in our hearts, the feeling that we often connect with loving someone else, and allow it to flow towards ourselves. In this case we are not loving our manifest selves, with all their various qualities, we are simply experiencing love for our self. Culturing such feelings of self-love brings deep ease and relief.

Beneath this individual self there is what some traditions call the "true self." Others call it the pure self, the unconditioned self, the universal self, no-self, essence, pure being, or true nature. It is that which is always there whatever our experience. It is the essence of what we call "I"—something so familiar and personal, and yet on deeper inspection totally impersonal, without any qualities or character. It is the pure am-ness that we know when the thinking mind becomes still, and we rest in primordial awareness.

The taste of this essential self is delicious. Mystics have written volumes of poetry about its blissful nature. Enlightened ones have urged us to discover it, and to soak in the calm and joy it brings. Knowing this true self is so delightful we do need to develop or culture love for it. We cannot help but be in love it with it.

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