I know that Valentine’s is a day normally dedicated to romantic love, but I want to bring it back to love in general. And I want to also bring it back from thinking about others to thinking about Self. No, I am not being selfish here, I don’t say myself, I say Self. I do think quite a lot about myself, I admit, and I think most of us do. But what I am much more interested in right now, is Self.
So what is the difference you may ask?
Let’s start with self.
This is me, Claudia. I’m somebody, a person doing so and so, and I see myself in relation to others.
Then there is Self.
As a wise man in a forest in India once pointed out to me, Self is consciousness, or the One that contains all. Including the bundle of self-images that I take to be ‘me’. The question is whether I see through the illusory self, the bundle of self-images and related stories and identify with Self, or remain stuck in self-identification.
When I first stumbled upon the concept of Self vs. self
This man in the forest asked me, “Who are you?” And I told him about myself: My elevated position, my prestigious title, my career. Adding a few words about the globetrotting, the pressure I was under and how much I loved it all. As well as being happily married, on a more soft note.
His answer? “None of that is who you are”. He said that who we all really are is Self, only we can’t see it. To my clueless face, he elaborated on the ‘myself self’ being but a cluster of images, a collection of stories that the mind keeps polishing and yet is unable to produce a gem.
Years down the line, I am still only grasping this, but a lot has shifted in me since these eye- and heart-opener lines were delivered and started to sink in. You too have the ability to shift your perspective and see patterns that you live that may no longer serve you. And here’s an idea: Give a Valentine’s card to yourself (Self) this year!
What to write on this card? Whatever comes! Because much less is fixed in life than you might think. Even Valentine’s does not need to be for romantic love only.
I know romantic love, I have been blessed with it and I am grateful. But I yearn to experience more of unconditional love and joy. I long to realize my pure Being, what I truly am beyond division and strife. I think that these are the kind of topics that will shift our experience of life, including our experience of romantic love, much more than any of the latest gadgets and expectations.
Will I keep running around in circles, trying to woo others, dating, trying to do things right, advance… forever? Or will I stop for a moment and question even my deepest beliefs, such as the belief that I am separate from Self, the One, all that is?
A Little More on Vedanta and I
No, Vedanta is not a new man in my life, Vedanta is a prominent school of Hindu philosophy which upholds the real nature of every human being as the luminous Self. According to it, our true essence is pure consciousness, a state of being beyond identity. This is always true, and the realisation brings unconditional love and joy. Sounds great, right, unconditional love? And understanding more about all this has become more of a priority of mine since that conversation in the forest.
One of my Self-care rituals is reading good books on spiritual topics. I have a few more rituals, but rather than being limited to ‘self improvement’, for me it is about ‘Self discovery’ now.
Why not make a start this February 14th of the year 2020 and look with fresh eyes. Yes, it may feel strange, heavy even, but it might just be worth it. Not to say that trying to woo others, dating, trying to do things right, advance… can’t be done, but perhaps, at the end of the day, we won’t be feeling like we’re running around in circles. That is, if we have come just a little bit closer to the kind of calm detachment that a shift in understanding of reality offers.
Yes, this year I will write that card to Self, to myself. The text? “Dear Claudia, You are the luminous Self, pure consciousness beyond identity, may you see this and dwell in unconditional joy.”
The moment you love yourself (Self) unconditionally is the moment you can love “others” too, for who they truly are. Or, as Ramana Maharshi said, “There are no others”.
Take Care and Love Self!
P.S. My guided journal leads you through the journey from self to Self and will be out soon. A 28 days Journey to Self Love is available on pre-order HERE.
To receive bi-monthly Soul Snippets to your inbox send me a message HERE.
About the Author: People want to feel healthy, happy and more deeply connected. Claudia’s aim as an author is to bring meaningful spiritual wisdom into modern context making it accessible to those longing for a full experience of Self, one that goes beyond the current hype of self-development.