If you are anywhere near as old as me you no doubt remember the folklore story of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. In that story Brer Rabbit – a happy go lucky creature – came across a figure made out of tar who did not respond properly to his greetings. This got Brer Rabbit mad – because he was a proper Southern gentlerabbit who expected his courtesies returned. So he smacked that tar baby right proper and got himself stuck up real good with all that tar and could not free himself.
This was of course a trap laid by Brer Fox, who was hungry and looking to feast upon Brer Rabbit. Brer Fox came out of his hiding place and started musing about how to kill the trapped and helpless Brer Rabbit. He suggested several killing methods, including burning Brer Rabbit alive, hanging him, drowning him, etc. Each time he suggested a killing method, Brer Rabbit kept saying “Sure, Brer Fox, burn me, cut me, strangle me, drown, but whatever you do, please don’t throw me in that briar patch!” After a lengthy dialogue along these lines Brer Fox eventually decided he wanted to do the worst to Brer Rabbit and pulled him free from the tar baby and threw him right into that briar patch. Brer Rabbit then derided his former captor and said “thank you Brer Fox! I was born and bred in that briar patch!” and scampered off, free.
Remember that? Anyway, what point do you think I am trying to make here about love?
Most of us who are not psychopaths give a lot of love and care to our parents, our children, our close friends and maybe even God, Jesus or our spiritual teachers. We learn at a young age that people treat us much better when we are loving and kind to them, and that it feels good to love. Of course that love is sometimes associated with a lot of pain, but most of us keep prioritizing giving and receiving love.
It seems that the hardest form of love is deeply loving and accepting ourselves. Many people seem to have decent self-esteem, but at their core they are not really comfortable being with themselves. Most people go to great lengths to stay busy with activities that keep them distracted from inner connection. There is nothing wrong with reading the newspaper, watching TV, staying very busy with activities and goals, having your senses stimulated and enjoying the company of friends, lovers and family. These are all healthy human activities. But if these were all taken away – how comfortable would you be simply being with yourself? If there was no one to give you love and validation and nothing to distract you from simply being with you, could you enjoy it?
In prisons the worst punishment is solitary confinement. This is truly a form of torture for many people who have never cultivated an inner focus practice.
So its likely that most of us can relate to Brer Rabbit – “That’s OK, make me work long hours, make me deal with loads of stress, make me jog 5 miles a day, but whatever you do, don’t make me be with and love myself!!!”
Practicing meditation is a way to learn to enjoy being with your own core. In my experience meditation is a process of bringing the mind inside over and over again. At first there is usually a lot of mental activity and random thoughts but eventually my mind relaxes and I start feeling the pleasure of my own inner space of breath and pure life force.
When I sit down to meditate my ego self still often says “I’ll think about my work, I’ll do more chores around the house, I’ll do all those unfinished tasks but PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME GET QUIET AND GO INSIDE!!”. But here is the magic – once I do make the commitment to meditate and chant, in a short time I start feeling so good, and once again I realize “I was born and bred in this briar patch (inner self)”.
Is it easier for you to love others than to love yourself? That seems to be the case for most people. What I am going to offer next is a very powerful form of meditation. It involves willingly stepping into your briar patch with love.
Here is a brief guided meditation of self-connection:
Sit down in a quiet place in which you can be in a meditative space. Take some time to relax your body – progressive relaxation is a good way. Tighten the muscles of each leg, then release. Then tighten and release the pelvic area. Continue with belly, chest, each arm, neck and head/face. Breathe deeply throughout.
Close your eyes, tighten your anus and touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Release the anal lock start connecting with yourself. Invoke your soul to guide you in your practice. Feel yourself exactly as you are.
Is your overall feeling within of comfort and pleasure? Is it of tension? Do parts of you feel pained or shut down? Do any parts feel numb? Are there areas of physical pain? Just be aware of yourself exactly as you are – not as you think you could or should be.
Bring your attention into your heart and breathe deeply there. Invoke your own deepest love – that which you may more easily give to your dog, your cat, your children, God, or whoever or whatever it is easy for you to love. If you feel that it is not easy to love at all, simply be aware of this condition and love it unconditionally. Watch yourself from your Witness consciousness, simply observing what is and loving the exact way you are.
As you find any tight, painful or blocked areas breathe into them and radiate your own love to them. Give those parts unconditional acceptance – not trying to fix them, ignore them, deny them or feel bad about them. Silently start chanting “Love melts all blockages” over and over as you bless your tight or dark areas with your breath and acceptance.
You can also offer yourself total forgiveness for any alleged mistakes you may have made that created those painful or blocked areas of your body. Offer apologies to those you have hurt, and forgiveness to those who have harmed you. Fill all your relationships with the golden light of forgiveness.
Continue for a minimum of 5 minutes, although 10 – 20 minutes or more will take you much deeper. You are tapping into the great healing power of pure awareness, breath and self-love.
You may have heard many times about meditating to open your heart, raise your consciousness, feel inner joy, move energy, etc. For this meditation don’t worry about any of those ideals. This meditation is all about being with yourself just the way you are. Practice the essence of Billy Joel’s famous song “I Love You Just the Way You Are” with yourself.
When you are done give thanks to your awareness and your heart.
You can also find a mp3 recording of this Self-Connection Meditation on my website www.drstarwynn.com. Feel free to use this for self-healing.