The journey from teaching about love to allowing myself to be loved proved much longer than I realised. ~Henri Nouwen
As a spiritual practice, “allowing” is often described as an acceptance of what is. We sometimes think of this acceptance of reality as not struggling against something that we don’t like. But we overlook the one area where at least some of us are the most resistant to allowing. Why are we so reluctant to believe that we are loved, that we are lovable, that we are the expression of Love in form?
While we are so busy bestowing our gracious acceptance on everything around us, we draw the line at accepting for ourselves the generous blessing of infinite and unconditional love that breathes us to life with every breath. We embrace the concept that we should love others, even our enemies. But we deny for ourselves that same love unless we believe that we deserve it, that somehow we have earned the gift that is already ours, that has always been ours since the first stirring of creation.
How good do we think we have to be to deserve or earn that love we so desire in our longing souls? How do we meet the measure of worth required in order to be cherished beyond comprehension? What virtue do we think we gain by this self denial and self judgment? Does this make us humble? Or does it make us arrogant to think that somehow we have the power to grant or refuse a gift already given to us by Life (God, the Universe, whatever name you prefer)?
When a blogger wrote, “Who am I to be enlightened?” I replied, “Who are you not to be enlightened?” Enlightenment is our natural state, in harmony with the music of creation, joined in sacred union with all that is and with the source of all that is.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Apparently love, like charity, begins at home. A friend of mine had a great idea of getting a loveseat for her living room and calling it an I-love-myself seat. In Emmanuel’s Book, he tells us to walk sweetly with ourselves and find every reason possible to love who we are. Wisdom teachings from all traditions assure us that we are beloved children of the universe, created in the image of the divine, wholly lovable just as we are, and unconditionally loved without exception.
Feel the hands of God (by whatever name you like) cupping your face, see God’s smiling eyes looking into yours, and listen as God tells you how perfect you are, how cherished you are, how brilliantly your spirit shines. Allow yourself to receive the birthright of your existence. Allow the flame of the Beloved to ignite your soul and blaze forth for all to see. In this season of giving, this is the greatest gift you could give to anyone.
Why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences
Open the gate
It may be rainin’
But there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you
Before it’s too late
~lyrics from Eagles song, Desperado