Allowing the Natural Self-Love to Arise

     We want this to be an experience for everybody of simply allowing the natural self-loving innocence to arise in a gentle way – nothing more or less than that. We are not trying to get people to believe in anything or to agree with us in any particular way; but rather, we want to unfold, gently and naturally, a genuine experience that is very simple, pure and elegant in its effect on our day-to-day lives.
     Just allow the attention to be with the breathing, with the front of the body. It is a very, very simple experience. Instead of fixing the attention on thought, which is the ordinary mode of experience, we allow the attention to unfold into the body. We allow it to permeate the body.
     We gather here this morning to share a very simple experience, not a mystical experience, not a philosophical experience, not an idea, not even a change of beliefs. We come here rather to find something within ourselves so simple, so quiet, so serene that we often miss it.
     What I may say may seem to contradict the prevailing point of view, or even may, on some level, seem to contradict what we call common sense. As we allow ourselves to open into this as an experience — and not as a technique, an idea or a philosophy — we will recognize its exquisite simplicity, its genuine beauty. It transcends what we call common sense. It transcends what we might call our philosophical point of view.
     Our only motive and our only goal is to come to an experience of utter self respect. Then we can recognize the changing conditions – existing on the outside and on the surface of the inside — to be that which flows and not that which determines our identity. We are here to have a very simple experience, even if only briefly, where we discover that the truth in us is innocent.
     By innocent, I mean, completely free from the veil of darkness, completely free from the effects of the past. This innocence is our identity in the truest sense. Our belief in another identity, which is fixed and caught in the web of guilt, is a misunderstanding. From this misunderstanding, we need to very gently and respectfully free ourselves.
     Self-love is not an idea. It is not a series of words. It is not a belief we bring to ourselves. It is a truth.Therefore, it doesn’t need to be cluttered with the trappings of ideology. Self-love is, in fact, a natural state. In a very real sense, we don’t even have to work to achieve it. It isn’t the result of psychological manipulation or psychological insight. It is the moment that the insights, the manipulations, the ways we think about ourselves, the ways we strive to get over something, are suddenly dropped. We come to what might at first appear to be a kind of sadness on the inside, a kind of softness.
     If we stay with it, if we allow it, if we bring ourselves and our attention deep into the body, this sadness, this softness will transform itself into the most lovely and exotic flower imaginable. That flower is our gift. It is the way we have come to express love to each other in unique ways. This is our life. This is our purpose. This, ultimately, is our strength — not philosophy, not points of view, not beliefs, but the truth.
     The truth is an experience occurring, without conditions, in the great, sensitive and delicate membrane of the human body, particularly in the heart and the area around the heart. We are so beautiful. Sometimes, it is so difficult to see this. We are so graceful. We are so innocent. We are so mysterious. We are so exotic. Sometimes, we think of ourselves as being dark, filled with shortcomings, out of control, difficult, without purpose. All this absorption in what is wrong is the result of what the mind carries — the conflict in the container mind. It is not the result of some observation of the truth.
     Yet, waiting on the inside, in the simplest and most precious way, something is there that can be felt. It doesn’t have to be addressed as an intellectual abstraction, but it can be felt, realized and recognized. When it is felt, when it is recognized, we remember suddenly that the outside, the world conditions, the changing frames of phenomena, are not what we are. This outside does not determine our value. It not a statement about our worth. It does not say anything about us because we are perpetually, forever, innocent and filled with the possibility of love and creativity. This is the truth.
     What we see as conditions, what we see as phenomena is nothing more than an interpretation of something occurring out there that we don’t understand. And we won’t understand. All we can do with the outside is to bring it home. We allow ourselves to become so warmly intimate with it, that it never appears to be the voice of what we are: Worthy or unworthy, great or small, weak or strong. That has already been determined. It is without reservation. Our lives and our feelings are pure.
     It is possible in a very real way to effect what we are calling external reality — not to manipulate it, but to effect it. This is done by our allowing the great warmth of the innocent being, of the innocent presence — which is the truth of our existence — to touch what we are calling the reality around us. It is beautiful. It is delicate. And it requires a certain amount of understanding before it can occur.
     The primary step in creatively impacting what we are calling external reality — making an art of our lives – is to begin the process of understanding what it means to fully accept our feelings. This does not mean we fully accept the beliefs about our feelings because we have done that already. In truth — and this is a very radical statement and a very beautiful one — feelings are not about anything. They don’t mean anything in the ordinary sense of the word. They are waves of energy. They are radiating impulses moving through the body seeking intimate contact with what is around them.
     Emotions mean something. Emotions are these waves of energy being beaten up by a series of beliefs that have arisen from the past. To accept feelings does not mean to accept emotions. To accept emotions means to accept the belief that is strangling the feeling. To accept feelings means to transcend what we are believing about ourselves and to come to that which is without definition, without a statement about what it means.
Copyright 1993 Estate of Stephen Robbins Schwartz. All Rights Reserved.

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