One of the
highest spiritual teachers I have had is Chief Leonard George, head of a
Canadian native nation. Here is the distillation of his teaching:
do you start to work? You start with yourself. If you can look in the
mirror and admire what you see there, then you have the ability to see
the best of your spirit. And if you can come to love your own spirit, your
spirit can fix anything. If you cannot do that you will not be
able to see the spirit in anything else. You will not be able to respect
anything else, you will not be able to love anything else. You will not
be able to live with anything else if you cannot live with
When I first
clipped this, I kept it in my "think-some-more-about drawer"
where I keep things that make me think but something in me can't quite
accept at the time. It has become clear to me that he is right and I
moved his saying into a page of my journal.
It is also a
sound Christian teaching. When Jesus was asked what was the highest
truth of all the sacred writings, he didn't hesitate: "Love
God...and your neighbor...as yourself." He was actually
saying you will love God exactly to the extent you love yourself.
You will love your neighbor exactly to the extent you love
Both Jesus and
Chief George are saying that loving yourself as a spiritual being is the
way you fix your spirit. Not just your spirit, but
People who put
themselves down are not humble. They are crippled. They haven't
discovered the one tool that will fix life. That tool is to "love
your own spirit."
Even a love for
our physical self is helpful in finding love for our spirit. Note Chief
George says, "If you can look in the mirror and admire what you see
there, then you have the ability to see the best of your spirit."
He isn't talking about some kind of some kind of vanity or peacocking
over how good-looking you are but of finding something you admire. He is
not saying we should see ourselves as flawless but he is saying we
should admire something we see in our bodies. I find it helpful to
remind myself what a faithful servant my body has been alll these years
and being grateful to it for its service to my spirit. We can admire
anything without it having to be perfect. We can love our body
without it being perfect. We can love anything without it being perfect.
People learn how
to treat us by watching how we treat ourselves. They learn how to love
us by watching how we love ourselves.
When our healthy
self-love muscles are developed, we can indeed fix anything.
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