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Meditation is knowing thyself and loving thyself

Love is an undeniable truth. It is felt by everyone. People respond to it when they feel it. But in 2008, I had divorced it. Always the go-getter, I had started to give up on life. I had been attending hearing-after-hearing in a courtroom, for 6 months. With no hope of a speedy resolution, I began to blame myself and felt surrounded by people whose words and actions hurt me constantly.

‘Be thine own palace or the world’s thy jail’, they say. And my self-defeating thoughts became a prison of my own making. I started to hate my existence and wondered how things turned out this way.

Little did I know that what was most needed in that situation was love. Above all, self-love. Without love inside ourselves, we cannot be happy in relationships. When we do not love ourselves, people around us feel drained by our energy. It is as though we are asking them to fill a void inside us that they cannot fill. It is because another person (in the context of a relationship) cannot fill our need for love, that they feel pressured by our need. Even if we are the givers of love, but do not have enough self-love, the love we give becomes encumbered with conditions and expectations. When we have enough love for ourselves, we can freely give it to others.  Consequently, we get treated badly by others, but worst of all, since we do not love and care for ourselves, we allow the behaviour to continue.

And in my case, the lack of love in my life had deteriorated to an extent that my personal relationships had started to break down. And for me, it started when I decided to shift into something I called the ‘try-it zone’. I decided to try to change my life. I wanted to go out into the world and change things. I wanted to become a professional and stand on my own feet. I took the bull by the horns and faced my professional fears. I made plans for after my court case and started preparing myself.  In due time, the court gave its judgment in my favour and after much searching, I got work as a voice and accent trainer at a reputed call centre.

Many of us think, loving one’s self is self-centeredness or selfishness. But this is not true. By loving our own self, we become able to extend this love to everyone else. Otherwise, we can’t love others. Or life. Loving ourselves is an act of kindness. It is kind, not just to ourselves, but also to others who receive love from us. The night is darkest before dawn breaks and in my moments of deep despair, without knowing it, I took my first steps towards loving myself. Self-love is a commitment to bringing hope to our lives. It is an attempt to fill our lives with emotions, practices and people that inspire and uplift us.

If we love ourselves, we will care for our body, care for our mind, care for our emotions. We don’t actually carry on negativity within ourselves. If we love ourselves, immediately we deal with problems that need to be dealt with. If we love ourselves, we will progress spiritually, emotionally and physically.  ‘Soif de Vivere’,  a French phrase, meaning ‘Lust for Life’, is the desire to live fully. It is the intention to create a life filled with joy. I was far from ‘Soif de Vivere’ing, but my journey had begun. God had given me this life and I accepted it with deep gratitude for the big man up there.

As I began to practice self-love, doubts began to surface. “How can I love myself? Is it funny to adore yourself?  And most of all, how do we care for ourselves?”

I started my practice of self-love by paying attention to my soul, through a basic key called ‘meditation’. What is meditation? Closing our eyes, looking inwardly and recognizing the inner light, the inner being, the inner self. The Atman, the soul, the consciousness. Connecting to that deeper source in ourselves.

But it was no Coup de Foudre (love at first sight). The initial stage of meditation required a lot of concentration. My mind used to ponder in every instant.  I thought meditation was a useless activity. Sitting in one place doing nothing and by myself seemed like a total waste. But something inside me told me to continue. Initially, my meditation was ad-hoc. I would meditate on a whim, or relegate it to one of my ‘I’ll do this later’ buckets. Like some people, I too started believing that ‘when you meditate, you are selfish’. You can invest this time for others.

But this is a misperception. The time we spend on meditation nurtures and nourishes us. It increases the store of love we have within, so we can share our love with others. We can actually give more to others when we are nourished and nurtured fully. We can give authentically and selflessly because now we have enough to give. If we do not love ourselves, we have no love to give to others.

I had also read somewhere how meditation is a critical tool towards self-development & growth. Even over the deafening chants of pessimism, I heard a whisper, “You can change this?”  Meditation became a part of my happiness. It was a joy I earned for myself. I began to consider it a celebration. I started meditating daily. Just 15 consistent minutes a day. I equated an idol in a temple to my soul within my body. And I saw Meditation as a path to giving love to my soul.

It was through PLR therapy that I was able to start meditating. With it, and with time, I gained confidence, and my anxiety attacks reduced in intensity. I became less bothered about the little things. I also started to spend more time with people who were on the same path, looking for their own truth and meditating with regularity.

Very soon, I started to feel a positive change in myself. - I started looking younger. My sons would say - “you look more like our sister than our mother. ” And my friends would ask “How come you look so young?” I had been through lows in life, but as I started loving myself, my looks improved. This is the power of self-love. Meditation had a positive effect on your body, mind, and soul. It was, I found, a great skin care solution.

Another positive development that happened was that my sugar levels had gone up to 400 and I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetic on 23rd of Oct, 2017.  However, I found myself disappointed and in a hospital with an illness. My diabetes, which was only one of the medical conditions was at 400. I started to meditate regularly. And I really started loving myself more. In addition to meditation, I also focused on affirmations and self-care.  but by December mid, I had become perfectly fine. The doctor was amazed at my progress. He could not believe I had healed so much.

If we really love ourselves, we do not delay our evolution. We do not delay in taking decisions that can bring goodness and happiness to ourselves. not postpone. We care for our body and heal ourselves. This is the evidence of self-love.

And somewhere along this journey, I espied that you get only one chance to live (unless you are a cat of course who has nine lives) and that life is despite its struggles, can be Beautiful! I started nurturing myself and loving all that I have. As I started to know myself more, my desires for the simple pleasures of life, like  Gucci Bags and iPhone Xs gave way to deeper joys such as watching Arvind Swami’s movies and following celebrities on Instagram.

I began to feel that I could handle life. I learned to do affirmations with intent. This is not the end there are miles to go before I leave, living a life fulfilling my dreams I  am a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, not knowing what I will become, but cooperating with the process of change, honouring the fire that burns within.

When we find our own love by loving ourselves, our love becomes unconditional. We are able to love people as they are. We are still there, giving a helping hand to everyone, but there is no expectation. So friends, “help yourself, love yourself and  - Be a Meditator.”

Gauri Chadha is an award-winning teacher and facilitator in English and Dramatics. She along with her students has won numerous awards for dramatics, academics and documentary filmmaking. She has been meditating regularly since 2017.

Saurabh Madan is the Editor of Be A Meditator. He can be found on YouTube, talking about Meditation and his other passion . He gets to contribute to most of the creative work that happens at Be A Meditator and is grateful to all those who care about this mission. You can read more about him here.

1. Lecture on Self-love by Dr. Newton Kondaveti:
2. Image by bosmanerwin at Pixabay:

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