Yesterday I read an article by Ram Dass entitled “I am Loving Awareness,” in which he talked about a meditation practice that can break the spell of ego’s perceptions. There are many such practices, but this one called to me. I am going through a bit of a physical challenge (another bout of vertigo) and I have also felt a lot of stress lately (I am a world-class stresser), so as I went to bed last night feeling dizzy and trying to relax my tight muscles, I took his instructions to heart:
“I focus my attention in the middle of my chest, on the heart-mind. I take a few deep breaths into my diaphragm to help me identify with it. I breathe in love and breathe out love. I watch all of the thoughts that create the stuff of my mind, and I love everything, love everything I can be aware of. I just love, just love, just love…I am loving awareness… “
I closed my eyes, felt the slight tremor of dizziness and said, “I love you,” to my uncomfortable self. I paid attention to my breath and said “I love you” to my breath. I felt my exhale hit bottom, which always feels abrupt when I pay attention to it…the space before breathing in again. I felt the urge to inhale quickly, the moment of brief panic that I sometimes feel when I pay attention to the spaces between breaths, and I sent love into that tiny panic. I felt my neck muscles, shoulder muscles and spine, and breathed love into them. I caught my mind skittering into thoughts, all kinds of thoughts, too many and too fleeting to name, and I sent love to the thoughts.
That was the most challenging part of the exercise for me. Catching my thoughts and actually blessing them, instead of trying to get rid of them, just loving my thoughts no matter how stressed they were, how quickly negative or judgmental they could turn. But I blessed my efforts at blessing my thoughts! I went to sleep in that mindset.
It may sound strange to say, “I love you,” to yourself, but I see that it is a wonderful practice. It points up, first and foremost, just how much we DON’T love ourselves, because there is such an effort at first in being able to say it authentically. The idea of SENDING love to ourselves, though, gets us in touch with the One who is sending us love every moment of the day. And the idea of then RECEIVING our own love, gets us in touch with receiving God’s love.
In my spiritual community we have been working a lot with the vulnerability, the innocence of receiving. Can we receive our own unconditional love? Can we receive God’s unconditional love? Can we receive healing? Can we receive answers that are beyond our mental conceptions? Can we receive the beauty of this world?
Sending and receiving love. It is a huge, mind-blowing practice!