It begins with me

Growing up, my Mom was very good at teaching me not to be selfish. Being kind and considerate towards others, and thinking of others first. This was the person that my Mother always was to everyone. She was a beautiful example and teacher of loving kindness, compassion, equanimity, and sympathetic joy.
But as I began my meditation this morning, the thought arose that I may have been trying to put the cart before the horse in my practice.
You see I often talk about no-self, and gaining an understanding and acceptance of no-self. But in the saying of Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (suffering/dissatisfaction), Anatta (no-self), one can see that the last part is no-self. I see that it is the last realization that I may come to. I first need to realize, understand and accept impermanence. Next is to see and understand dissatisfaction in my mind and the cause of this suffering that I create. Then perhaps, I can begin to see that there is no-self.
But all of this process truly starts with “me”. “I” have to sit on the cushion, and “I” have to give myself loving kindness, compassion and acceptance.
These disturbing emotions are the suffering that “I” create in my own mind, and can be the cause of suffering to others.
But it all begins with me.

So my Mom did teach me so many wonderful lessons, and served as the most beautiful example of love to me. But I am now seeing that there is another lesson to be learned, and that is one of self-love. And that this is not at all a bad thing. In fact it is vitally important in our practice.
The way I now see it, is that the more we love and accept the self, the more we have to share with others. And my Mom must have loved herself, as she always showed so much love to all others. This was simply an unspoken lesson that I did not begin to understand until today.

I hope that each of you will take a little time today to love yourself. Be kind, accepting and compassionate towards yourself. All the love you have in your heart, just allow it to rain down on you. You are completely deserving of this love.
And as a person that is so filled with love and gentleness, how could others not be graced and benefit by your presence.
May your thoughts, words and actions be of benefit to the self and the benefit of all other beings.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.