Once, someone important found you lacking. Perhaps this person honestly intended to help you, not criticize you. Or maybe they were just taking something out on you. Someone further back hurt them, and they passed it along.
Now in the present, this internalized criticism lacks any practical value. It’s not interested in solving a problem or improving something. If you’re no good, you might as well not even try to change some imperfection of heart, mind or body. You can’t pull good out of bad.
To flourish, we need to start from a foundation of self-esteem, an awareness of our value. We all know that. But how do we clear away the shame messages and remember that at our cores we are glorious? Whole, shining and alive?
One way is to see ourselves, the unity of our minds, hearts and bodies, more clearly. To reflect on who we are. We do thousands of wonderful things that we see as no big deal.
How would we get through our days were it not for our minds directing us? Minds do the big things: create systems of roads connecting all parts of a country. Enable us to walk onto airplanes and move through the air. Work out peace treaties. Think up games. And little, vital things: we check e-mail and get dressed in the morning.
Our desire to listen to people and heal ourselves and throw birthday parties springs from our hearts. Part of us feels connected to the melting polar icecaps and picks up little kids when they cry. We send money to Doctors Without Borders. We put our arms around our friends and play with our pets when we’re tired.
Our hearts and minds can move around in the world doing interesting things thanks to our bodies. Without our bodies to act, we couldn’t read books to kids. Nobody would go to aquariums and watch sharks. Fabulous brunches wouldn’t matter. Or even exist.
Think for a moment about all the amazing things our bodies do, things we never think about. Our brains coordinate the complex business of keeping us alive. Our blood carries carbon dioxide to our lungs that we breathe out and nourish plum trees with. We experience the extravagance of the sunlight on our skin because we have nerves.
How could a creature who is and does all these things be anything less than magnificent?
In the next post we’ll continue to think about these things in light of a Meditation on Five Aspects of Being. In the meantime —
Readers: How does your mind give to the world?
How has your heart spoken to you this past week?
What do you enjoy doing with your body?