"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
We live in challenging times. Perhaps the challenges are greater for some than for others -- or so it might seem -- but the challenges are there, no matter who we are.
As the pace of life intensifies and the demands and challenges that we all face rush towards us like waves on a beach, the words of the Buddha are more relevant than ever.
But how do we do it? How do I show love and affection for myself? I suppose there are many answers that could be given to this question, but for me, the most important aspect of all would read something like this:
No matter what is going on in the world or in my own life, it is up to me to stay true to a place of calm and assurance within myself so that my mind and body have a "refuge" upon which they can depend.
This does not mean that fear will not arise in me. It doesn't mean that I will not become impatient or resentful at times. It means that when such currents do come up I will remember what it is that is most important -- and be true to that.
It's a mundane example, I suppose. But I have to admit that as I begin preparing for the move JoAnn and I will be making to Denver this spring, feelings of anxiety and stress have definitely been coming up. For example, both of us have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Since one of the reasons for this move is to downsize, there's the question of what to keep -- and what not to keep.
Then again, there is the tricky little balancing act that will be required to sell our house successfully within a certain time frame while at the same time finding a suitable townhome that we can afford.
There’s also the fact that with all the will in the world, we are not getting any younger. We run out of steam, as JoAnn puts it, a bit sooner than we once did. So in this new cycle we have to watch we don’t make unreasonable demands upon ourselves -- but as the Buddha said, show love and affection for ourselves.
I am thankful for the Buddha’s timeless words. But most of all, I am thankful for the timeless truth within us all that in the midst of a changing, violent world, is forever unchanged, untroubled, and at peace -- a source of love that never fails.