Years ago, when I was in a yoga class, we were asked ‘How much attention do you pay to your hands and feet?’ The instructor went on to remind us that our hands and feet worked for us day after day. But did we ever thank them? Did we ever express our gratitude?
Then as an exercise we were given perfumed oil and asked to find a partner. We were then directed to massage our partner’s hand and feet. I remember thinking that until I had my hands massaged I never realized how much my hands ached for it. The same could be said for my feet. We become so used to our bodies being strained that resting and massaging them seems like frivolous luxury rather than something that should be turned into a daily ritual.
Yet, in the context of spiritual development – self-love has a broader meaning, beyond massages and hot baths, and special treatments.
In the previous posts, we pondered on how our perception of the events and people around us affects our attitudes towards them. In addition, we have discussed how (March 30, 2015, A Calm Mind) ignorance about our real nature distorts our understanding of the world around us.
Meditation is one way to both express self-love and develop and understanding of the world. While this limitation of space in this post does not allow us to delve into ‘understanding of the world’ we can certainly consider the connection between meditation and self-love.
- Time to self: Meditation is not the same as ‘me-time’. Meditation, defined as conscious stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind (Patanjali), allows us to rest and connect with our deeper self, which is quieter, larger and free from the noise of everyday activities. A set time for meditation everyday trains the body and mind to let go of concerns of the day.
- Love for the self and others: Self-love of mediation is not the same as getting massages. Self love that is developed by giving ourselves a little time everyday for quieting our mind helps us connect in such a way that we can be become a source of love and inspiration for others. It has a long-term effect both on our interactions with others and ourselves.
- Purifying perception: with continued meditation, as we express self-love via spending time with ourselves, we become more present and available to ourselves. With time, this makes us strong, helps us be present for others, and actually reduces our dependence on others. When our perception is clear, we recognize ourselves as the source of love that we desire (a long continuous process).
At the beginning of every meditation you may:
- Scan your entire body for tension. Slowly release the tension by deep breathing and paying special attention to the tense parts.
- Silently remind yourself of how much your body works for you from morning to night.
- Express gratitude towards your body.