Love your neighbor as yourself

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

These are word easily read but not easily practiced for me. They are words whose point I missed for much of my life and to this day I have difficulty loving and caring for myself. I frequently put myself down. It is a false humility, a pride in reverse that invites me to think less of myself. Today I was having a field day judging myself harshly because something went wrong. We were reimaging computers, dozens of them, when suddenly I realized that we needed an older version of Internet Explorer installed. Immediately my gut began to churn, I stopped living in the present moment and instead began to recriminate myself and pity myself. Neither of these is healthy activities. When I engage in this mindless behavior I also violate the principle of ahimsa. For many years I have admired Mahatma Gandhi and the principle of ahimsa, but it was not until I began to practice yoga that I realized that “non-harming” applies to self too! Tonight following dinner and in the gathering twilight I began with a forward bend, downward dog, mountain and a couple lunges. I began to return to my breath and to love and care for myself as yoga teaches us. Once again I saw the union between this ancient practice and my prayer life. I lift my eyes and my arms toward heaven and touch the cosmos and feel the warm healing energy flow in my body and spirit. It is in these moments that I sense a connection with the cosmic Christ, the alpha and omega of the universe. God is love and he expects us to love each other and ourselves too. As C. S. Lewis says, “humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.” There is a divine paradox in that axiom.