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The Art and Practice of Happiness: Give Self Appreciation a Chance

feet-walking-streetEvery morning I get up at 6:00 am to take a brisk walk through the neighborhood. My wife marvels at my persistent habit of rising early, but for me it’s an important meditative time when I can enjoy the quiet and look at what’s happening in my mind — my trances. Most days, the egoic mind wants to present its latest plan to improve me, my life . . .  or my wife.

You don’t have to get up at 6:00 in the morning to have this experience though, do you?

Through our attempts at self-improvement, it is definitely possible to create gaps in our mind-trances, and through these gaps we can experience the happiness of our innate purity. But as long as we identify these experiences of beauty and openness as the product of the mind, as the product of our own efforts, we will miss the fullest appreciation of ourselves and our lives.

We really don’t need self-improvement. Our happiness is assured, if we’re willing to learn, and practice, true self-love and self-appreciation.

This already happy state exists within us in its fullness and shines constantly through us despite our egoic trances, not as a result of them. Our egoic mind can never bring us to this state, because we’re always already in it (even when we’re not appreciating it).

Contemplating Self-Love

Self-love-hug-blonde-woman-wind-purple-RContemplating that we’re always already happy and don’t need to be improved, does lead to self-love and self-appreciation. Just remain passionately open and curious, free of any standard of success. It’s important to be free of fear or hope that you will or will not be successful at being happy.

To maintain this view, remember that you’re doing this contemplation purely for the sake of learning — learning for its own sake. You’re discovering that even so-called success or failure is merely a label for a kind of learning whose fundamental value lies beyond these conditioned judgments. Learning is not something you do with your head; it is a whole body/being process.

To be fully engaged in the process of learning is to be fully alive, moment by moment.

To experience being fully alive is the ultimate goal of the Finding True Magic courses and of my work with Lucid Heart Therapy and Life Coaching clients — to be awake, free from all trances of the egoic mind.

This kind of freedom has the quality of an easeful, effortless self-love and self-appreciation that extends to all others. In this way, the ultimate experience is not about self at all. It’s about our essential connection to all beings, including what we call our “self.”

Practicing Self-Love

bird-looking-in-car-mirrorSounds good, but how can you practice this every day? You begin by letting go of the habit of self-improvement . . . and the self-criticism that tags along with it.

You can think of it this way. Every time you’re tempted to criticize yourself, at the moment you have the thought that something is “wrong” with you — be kind and encouraging to yourself instead. This is a simple and yet powerful way to practice self-love on a daily basis. And that self-love will gradually become an experience of freedom.

When your response to every mistake, mishap, or shortcoming is kindness and encouragement, you begin to welcome these events as enriching moments of learning.

When you treat yourself well in the presence of the “bad” things you do, you discover a growing sense of cheerfulness, and a willingness to engage fearlessly in any situation.

You’re fearless because you know your response to yourself and others can always be kind and encouraging.

I love practicing this on my morning walk. If I awaken in a dark mood, I begin extending kindness and encouragement to myself as I walk, and gradually the dark mood dissipates. By the time I’m back at my doorstep again, I feel quite joyful and enthusiastic about life.

A Simple Way, Every Day

heart-pink crystal-rocksFor starters, pick one situation in which you almost always feel bad about yourself. Think of all the reasons you’re supposed to be feeling like a schlub in this situation. You might even want to write them down. Go back over each reason, recognizing that each one is an opportunity to be kind and encouraging to yourself.

This is only one way to practice self-love and self-appreciation. It’s the source of our ability to extend our caring to all others as well.

For support and deepening of your self-appreciation and self-confidence, consider my popular hypnosis recording, Become Fearless and Compassionate, as well as Awakening Inner Wisdom and Love. And of course all of our trainings offer an in-depth, transformational experience of opening to your best and most fully awake self!

Do you have a favorite way of practicing self-appreciation? Share it with us on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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