Friday, December 31, 2010
disclaimer (one): i am not sure i've ever--and i mean ever--followed through on a new year's resolution; that said, here is my vow for 2011.
i take yoga a few times a week, and always from the same instructor. donna teaches in a grassy park at the foot of Runyon Canyon, and her classes feel like an extension of the environs--open, relaxed, bright, powerful. she often closes class with a quote, a word, a piece of music performed live. sometimes donna ends class with the following line: how you treat others is a direct reflection of how you treat yourself.
disclaimer (two): i think that's the quote. it very well might be the reverse: how you treat yourself is a direct reflection of how you treat others.
no matter which direction the quote runs, however, i think the point remains the same. at least for me. but only recently did this aphorism make sense. the first dozen times i heard it, i simply smiled and trusted that some part of my inner-self grasped the quote's meaning, even if my cerebral side was left bereft.
lately, though, i seem to understand that quote. and i have decided it will be my new year's resolution.
the quote--to me--makes the point that since we all are human, since we all are alive and have hopes and fears and feel love and pain, and since that which binds us in common is far richer than that which can sometimes seem to separate us, and since we all have been given the divinity of life, well then the idea of a Self, a thing inside us that is only ours and therefore unconnected to anyone or anything is a fiction, an illusion.
rather, if we must speak of a Self, we will be better served by seeing it as the core part of who we are when we grasp the totality of interconnectedness among us, the power that animates all of our hearts, the qi that courses through all of our souls.
i think the quote is saying that you are everyone and everyone is you. you are both nothing (in the sense that your Self/ego does not really exist) and everything (you are a dynamic thread among innumerable threads in the great tapestry of Life).
i think the quote is saying if you treat others with respect and compassion, you will treat yourself with respect and compassion. why? because the more you see others as deserving of your heart, the more you notice that the line that separates them from you (and you from them) is artificial. and thus, you will begin to treat all people (which, as it happens, includes yourself) with as much regard and truth as you possibly can.
the reason this quote will be my 2011 new year's resolution? i don't treat others the way i treat myself. i treat others with kindness (at least i believe i do), but i don't always treat myself with the same honor and compassion. when i make mistakes, i scream at myself (using my inner voice); when i fail, i often mentally berate myself for my blunders; when i don't accomplish what i set out to, i heap blame upon myself and wallow in discouragement. and so on and so forth.
but i would never speak this way nor even think this way about a friend. so why do i speak and think this way to and about myself? i guess it's because--somewhere along the line--i started seeing myself, my Self, as separate from humanity, from the human condition, from the collective Soul which pulses through every human heart. and, as a result of this binary distinction, i no longer treated myself as a friend, a partner, a divine spirit worthy of respect and honor.
but if i am not--first and foremost--my own best friend, my own soul mate, then i will find it difficult to treat others as friends and fellow souls. or if somehow do manage to treat others with veneration and regard, but fail to extend the same respect to myself, then i am a planet orbiting a hollow star.
my job, my intention in 2011 is to fill that star. to love that star. to generate compassion for that star. to honor that star. to be that star.
to find the humble light inside and radiate with loving-kindness.
one modest candle. lit by a sea of flames.