I was wondering where to start and then I thought where better than love?
Matt Kahn is one of my favourite spiritual teachers at this point in my journey. His philosophy is that whatever we are feeling, thinking, or dealing with – we love that. Sounds simple but it’s very, very hard to remember and put into practice, as I have personally found.
As humans we are hardwired to want to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Well, of course we are. Who would want pain (unless they’re a masochist)? Avoiding it ensures our survival as a species. Plus no one wants to feel bad. I have several chronic illnesses and HATE feeling unwell and limited. We often don’t like emotions such as anger and jealousy and consider them negative and unspiritual, coming from the ego rather than the spark of Divinity that we are. We may try to stuff them down and focus more on so-called positive emotions such as happiness and joy. That’s natural.
The problem may arise when we resist aspects of our experience so much that we create more suffering for ourselves. We may feel angry or jealous and get upset with ourselves for feeling that way, thereby adding another layer of suffering on top of the feelings we are already experiencing. In my case, struggling with feeling exhausted and unwell and wishing I was healthy creates resistance and more suffering. But lofty spiritual ideals such as ‘accepting everything that happens’ don’t really work for me either. Do we really have to accept everything? Really??
Matt Kahn’s answer to this is to love. If we are feeling angry, notice it and love the part of us that is angry. If we are in physical pain, love the part of us that is hurting or, if that is impossible, love the part of us that can’t love the part that is hurting. The answer is always love. I don’t have to accept my illnesses but I can love the part of me who cannot accept them. I don’t have to accept the suffering in the world but I can love the part of me who cannot accept it. This works because the relationship with ourselves is reflected out into the world and vice versa. When we love the supposedly unlovable parts of ourselves we set them free. Not only does this bring us to greater internal peace, it is the key to a more peaceful world.