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, the criticisms we’ve taken to heart lack any practical value. To flourish, we need to start from a foundation of self-esteem, an awareness of our worth. 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 look at ourselves, the unity of our minds, hearts and bodies, more clearly. We usually take for granted the thousands of wonderful things we are and do. If we pause and reflect, though, we may well be gratefully astounded by ourselves.
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 Four 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?