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Plato's Cave - The Orlando Philosophy Meetup Group Message Board › How to Love one's self and others.

How to Love one's self and others.

Jairo M.
Winter Park, FL
Post #: 1,347
So the master from which much of Christian thought came from was reported to have said something to the effect of "You should love the Lord with your all. And Love others as much as you love your self." But this, I suspect, implies that we are loving and kind towards ourselves. For if we don't treat our selves well, then we won't have much love to give.

So the first step is to generate love and compassion for our selves. Start with the following prayer:
Sometime in my life I may have felt self hatred, but I may have risen above that. But still today, I am experiencing lingering self doubt, self contempt, regret, and unworthiness. Therefore I need to build my self confidence and love. So I wish that I may develop a friendliness and patience devoid of animosity directed at my self. And through this development, may I be free of enmity. However, it may sometimes be difficult to develop this caring towards my self because of the daily physical pain and mental distress, sadness, grief, and discontent that arises. These experiences wear me down and frustrate me and make me grumpy. So I must pray that I may be free of all afflictions. And also may I be free of anxiety. Ultimately, may I live happily. But this quality of well-being can only arise from a wholesome mind. Therefore I need to meditate more in order to tame and train my mind.

Okay so it is not going to happen overnight, but it should be evident that before we can help a drowning person, we need to be able to swim and pull ourselves out of danger. So we need to take time for our selves. Be calm, be strong, do yoga. Visit­ for excellent Yoga classes at the Guang Ming Temple on Hoffner Ave, a few miles north of the Orlando airport. Or find a yoga class near where you live. Yoga will help awaken you to your body, and your body will appreciate the attention.

But don't worry about how far you have gotten in learning to love your self. Don't think that I must continue practicing loving my self until I can't love my self any more and then I will start loving others. Just love your self a little today in the morning for a few minutes, and then proceed to love others.

So the second major step is to love others as much as you love your self. Obviously the more you love your self, the more you will love others. And also the more you will have for loving God. So remember, the cultivation of loving kindness towards one's self is an important first step, but it is not the full practice; if you stop at only loving your self, you will have failed, and the practice may backfire; you need to expand to loving others.

So how do I love others? I can start by bring to mind a person towards whom I already feel affection for. I can start with my mother, or my girl friend, or my pet dog, or my pet cat, or my hero, or my heroin, and expand this to my best friends, and so on, eventually to my co-workers, classmates, teachers, students, bosses, policemen, policewomen, doctors, lawyers, politicians, foes and enemies. But we need to visualize each of these, one at a time and wish them our best. We need to picture each one individually and wish them the same that we wished our selves. I wish that the person I have pictured in my mind, for starters, my mother, will be free of enmity, and receive all my friendliness, and that others are friendly and kind towards her. I also wish that my mother will be free of afflictions. I also wish that my mother be free of anxiety, and may my mother live happily.

So I just wished my mother all the love I had wished on my self. Next I will do the same towards someone else I know quite well, but towards whom I feel relative indifference. Now I meditate on this person in the same way I meditated on the one I love most. Even though I have no feelings of affection for that well known person, I will consider the fact that this person also is human and has a mother and may have been a mother or caring to someone else. This person I don't care much for, yet don't hate, must have the same yearning for happiness as I do and as my mother does. Therefore I wish him or her the best, and so I wish they be free of enmity, afflictions, anxiety, and may they live happily.

Next I wish the same for someone I hate or have hated or have felt some animosity. So I wish the best for them. And may they be free of enmity, may everyone love them, may they be free of afflictions, free of anxiety, and live happily.

That last person, someone I have animosity towards, is harder for me to give love to, but I will try. And it may help me to love them by remembering that one time they may have been a cute innocent baby who was cherished by his mother or caregiver, and that now the reasons I find them disagreeable is simply circumstances and my point of view, so it is my mind, or my prejudices, that result in my negative attitude towards them, so I have to examine my mind and find out why I don't like them. Nobody is inherently bad, we just believe a certain way, it's our bias, our subjective point of view, not always rational, therefore we can suspect that the person we have difficulty with is really not as bad as we imagine, because it is really all our imagination, our mind that is causing this conflict and inability to love them. So we can put some effort in changing our mind and treating them with kindness, little by little, and see what happens. But for now I can at least wish them my best, and imagine that they are happy.

It may help us to love those we may have difficult loving by remember that things may change, actually all things do change, nothing is permanent, so one day the person you love most may become the person you hate most, and vice versa, the person you detest may one day become a person you love.

This exercise helps me to develop Universal Compassion.
Start by loving self and then expand to love all others, without exception, including cockroaches, ants, wasps, mosquitos, and ugly, annoying animals.

Congratulations! You have practiced the cultivation of Loving-Kindness towards yourself and all others. And very similar to the above practice is the prayer of the Four Immeasurables.
Here is an excellent page on the Four Immeasurables and its practice
Guru Chenresig (or Chenrezig, or Buddha Avalokiteshvara) is the Buddha (or Bodhisattva) of Compassion.
Here is the prayer (common in Tibetan Buddhist practice):
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger. May they abide in this way. I shall cause them to abide in this way. Guru Chenresig, please inspire me to be able to do so.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings had happiness and its causes. May they have these. I shall cause them to have these. Guru Chenresig, please inspire me to be able to do so.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were free from suffering and its causes. May they be free. I shall cause them to be free. Guru Chenresig, please inspire me to be able to do so.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never parted from upper rebirth and liberation's excellent bliss. May they never be parted. I shall cause them never to be parted. Guru Chenresig, please inspire me to be able to do so

So I hope you try this.


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