I believe the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way!
Show them all the beauty they possess inside.
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.
– Michael Masser (1941-2015) & Linda Creed (1948-1986), from “The Greatest Love of All” (1977)
I had planned today to really get down to the brass tacks of how best to live God’s love. But as I was posting last week’s offering, Whitney Houston began to sing in my mind. When I said something like, “What now?” Thomas said that we never can live God’s Oneness unless we include ourselves among our most beloved. So he wanted us to talk today about how to achieve the self-love that is essential to our spiritual growth.
But this is not my area of expertise! I was what was called a seven-month baby, and perhaps it was to assuage their own shame that my parents reared me to believe I was the most important person on the face of the earth. I figured out when I was college-age that I wasn’t fundamentally different, but by then my sense of my own preciousness was sealed. Would that all children could grow up that way! I tell you this only so you will understand that what I will say here is what I have learned in a decade of helping other people. I am confident about it, but thanks to the love of two dear angels my own growth into healthy self-love was easy.
Learning to love yourself is mostly a matter of removing obstacles to your own understanding of who and what you already are. You always have lived, and you always will live in eternal divine perfection! When you come to earth, you accept amnesia about nearly everything you ever have known, and you also accept a very limited active use of your own mind. You carry a selfish ego whose purpose is to make you desperate to protect yourself so you can stay alive, and you start your life in a material body feeling much-diminished from the life you just left. Unless this infant tendency to see yourself as weak and small is counteracted in childhood with a lot of love, you may well grow up feeling defensive, resentful, inadequate, and riddled with fears. None of these feelings is useful now, but fortunately beneath it all you are already a powerful eternal being. Your task is simply to peel away what is not-you so you can resume being who you already are. Here are your necessary steps, in no special order:
Vanquish Your Ego
We have talked here about the ego, which is a separate gremlin you believe is you but in reality it is what amounts to a parasite. The ego is useful in childhood, when it gives you an instinct for survival that would otherwise be mostly lacking; but once you have learned how to navigate the world, it becomes a barrier to further spiritual growth. It functions on just one me-me-me note. We all have known people who were sadly unable to think beyond themselves, and we have assumed it was because they had “big egos.” But in fact, a selfish attitude is a sign of a pathetically weak and grasping ego fighting for a place in the world. Vanquishing your ego isn’t difficult. It will try to panic you with the fear that its diminution will be your destruction, but if you can ignore that and simply concentrate on the other steps outlined here, your ego will gradually shrivel and fade.
Vanquish Your Fear of Death
The single most important thing you can do to jump-start your spiritual growth is to put in the effort to fully internalize the fact that your mind really is eternal. You always have lived, and you always will live. And for certain, you will live a happier life on earth when you are sure that you cannot die.
I’ve been teaching about the afterlife for a decade now. I have seen the transformational difference it makes for people to take the trouble to learn and then to live the eternal truth! And this week, in time to share it with you, I received an extraordinary testimony from a young man who has reached out to me several times over the past two years. At first he was panicky and fearful. Then he sent further emails asking thoughtful questions. And then there was a silence that was followed this week by a message I am sharing with you here with his permission:
Hello Roberta, it has now been 2 years since I searched for the truth after my fear of dying really hit. I dealt with anxiety for 6 weeks, it was terrible. I thought I would never see my wife and dogs again after this life. My wife found the pets in the afterlife post you wrote and sent it to me. I didn’t believe it but I eventually went back to it and found out you have a podcast. My whole life changed from there and I’ve also found the great Craig Hogan because of you. The two of you, along with many others have helped me realize this: we are eternal, we continue to live on after this life in a beautiful world, we are still with our loved ones including pets, we will remain individuals and there is nothing to fear. The journey like you said took me 1.5-2 years to fully know everything. Took lots of reading and investigation but it was all worth it.
Putting in the effort to do the work and develop a certainty that you cannot die will transform you from a fearful, fighting, life-sucks-and-then-you-die sort of person into someone like this beautiful young man, happy and now fully empowered to make the very most of his life.
Vanquish Your Youthful Traumas
The Christian religion and Western cultures all are fundamentally fear-based, with the result that a great many people suffer unnecessary childhood fears and traumas. For an extreme example, here is part of an email from a fifteen-year-old that was shared with me by a worried pastor: “I had intercourse with my best friend. I haven’t told my parents. Now we think she is pregnant. Please help me pray that I will die.” My pastor friend had no idea how he could help! He felt that his duty was to involve the parents, but he worried about panicking the boy into suicide. I submit to you, though, that in a more family-based and less sexualized culture, this young man’s problem would seldom occur; and with a primary religion less rooted in sin and the judgment of an angry God, no child would suffer as this boy is suffering simply for being inexperienced enough to have acted on a normal urge.
If you are carrying lingering guilt, shame, or fear from a less-than-perfect childhood, the time to lighten your burden is now. Get counseling. Do whatever it takes for you to really heal! Learning Oneness is tremendously empowering, but it cannot be that unless you can first empower yourself to embrace it from an emotionally healthy place.
Learn to Love as God Loves
Since last week’s post, I have had a number of emails and comments that were some variant of, “You can’t forgive this! Some things you must fight!” You will find that the urge to fight will lessen considerably as your consciousness vibration rises, but even before you are fully living the truth it will be essential that you internalize the need to come from a place of love and never fight back. Mother Theresa’s explanation of why we must always be peaceful and loving is brilliant. Now let’s add to it the thoughts of the Greatest American of the Twentieth Century:
“To our most bitter opponents we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.’
– Martin Luther, King, Jr. from his essay, “Loving Your Enemies.”
Truly and forever, nothing more need be said.
Learn to See Yourself More as God Sees You
Learning and living the love of the Godhead doesn’t mean you must give up all earthly delights! God wants us to enjoy our lives. As you continue to grow spiritually, you are going to find that you naturally want less anyway; and you also will find that you are a lot less bothered by life’s daily stresses and pains. You will like yourself better. You will be so much happier! In eternal fact, you are the best-beloved child of an infinitely loving God, which was something that my parents’ devotion made me readier to accept than are most people. Always and forever, you are deeply treasured and safe in everlasting arms.
Only when we have fully internalized the Oneness of the Godhead will we be ready to apply it to our daily lives. And understanding how God’s perfect love might work in every situation does take some thought! Please read again what Mother Teresa said. Read the words of Dr. King above. And let’s begin together to think about how our living God’s perfect love might actually work in the stressful rough-and-tumble of our modern lives.…
I decided long ago never to walk in anyone’s shadows.
If I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ll live as I believe.
No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me.
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve!
Learning to love yourself. It is the greatest love of all.
– Michael Masser (1941-2915) & Linda Creed (1948-1986), from “The Greatest Love of All” (1977)