Loving yourself

Yesterday I wrote about supreme happiness, and the way to achieve that was by forgetting yourself.
And I do firmly believe that if one focuses on the happiness of others, our own suffering disappears.
But there is a caveat to this, that I forgot to mention
You must first love yourself unconditionally. With kindness, gentleness and compassion, you must first accept and love yourself.
If you do not love yourself, you may do things to benefit others, but this will be with an expectation.
The act of loving kindness and compassion, truly without any expectation, is Parami (Perfection).
I think most of us believe that we act kindly and for the benefit of others on a regular basis. And you probably think you do it quite often without expectation.
But if you really look at these actions without delusion, you will see that they always had an attachment to something that would benefit the self.
It was only about 5 months ago, that I experienced this first hand.

yourselfI had previously befriended a homeless young man, and wanted very much to help him and see him get on his feet.
Though I tried many times to help and encourage him, each time I saw him again I found that I had failed. I finally became aware that I was suffering because I had an expectation. I thought I was acting with loving kindness, but in fact I was trying to serve the self. I wanted to feel better by helping him.
Finally, the last time I ran into him, he told me he had just been released from the Hospital for attempting suicide.
My heart just broke hearing this. I realized, once again my attachment and expectation were present.
At that moment, I let it go. I realized that if I truly have love and compassion for him, then I do so freely without expectation.
I wished him the very best, and walked away.
Ten feet away, I had the thought to give him some money for food. I thought to myself, what if he just uses the money to buy drugs?
Again, I caught myself having an expectation. I let go of this, and walked back over to him.
I handed him the money, with love in my heart and no expectation. I said “please get yourself some food with this”, and walked away.
A moment later I felt someone touch my shoulder. As I turned, it was the young man and he threw his arms around me. Hugging me tightly, with tears in his eyes, he said “thank you Dave”.
For the first time in my life, I felt it. I felt what it is like to truly love without expectation.
It was a bit overwhelming actually, but I saw this and let that go too.
I quickly saw that this beautiful young man had actually given me the gift. He was my Teacher.
I am so grateful for this gift and this lesson. Because now I understand.

Love yourself completely and without expectation, then forget yourself and love all others.

May you each be well, happy and peaceful.