Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it. – Thaddeus Golas
Often, I find I am somewhat at odds with myself.
If I’m doing X, I run a muttering stream of criticism telling me that I should be doing Y instead. If I’m feeling X, the mental commentary points out that if I were a better person, I really would be feeling Y instead. If I said X to a certain person, I could expect a review seconds later indicating that I’d been insensitive or ignorant or dumb and really should have said Y instead. If something happens as a consequence of whatever I did, felt or said, then that mental chatter becomes the smuggest, most self-righteous bastard on the planet.
It gets pretty uncomfortable, being at odds with the one person whose company I’m permanently stuck with.
Then a few weeks ago, I got struck by something that in hindsight should have been obvious from the start. I’ve often heard that each one of us contains the universe as much as the universe contains us. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of my favorite-est people on the planet, said:
“…[W]e are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.”
Of course, he was talking about the atoms and molecules of our body, which were birthed in the fiery centers of high-mass stars. But if we dare to think of it in a spiritual sense, or heck, maybe even a literal sense…whoa.
Our conscious minds are limited only by what we know, or what we choose to know. The rest of us—our imaginations, our unconscious minds, our spirits—are limitless. Sometimes I look up at the night sky and imagine that the universe I see out there—with its more than 170 billion observable galaxies alone, containing approximately a septillion stars (or 1 followed by 24 zeroes)—is mirrored within the space in my heart. That within me is a perfect reflection of the universe without me.
I am the universe, temporarily wrapped in flesh and bones and skin.
And if I am the universe, then surely, surely there is space enough within me for doing both X and Y, for feeling both X and Y, and for having said both X and Y. The universe isn’t just about duality—up or down, left or right, black or white, either/or. The universe contains All—the diverse, weird, crazy, spectacularly beautiful All.
And so do I. Q.E.D.
So here’s a new thing I’m learning to do: When that inner sour-faced governess of mine starts up again, I close my eyes and think to myself: “In the universe of my heart, there is space enough for shame, for guilt, for anger, for annoyance, for fear. Just as there is space enough for acceptance, for forgiveness, for peace, for joy and for love. I simply choose to focus my telescopes on love instead.”