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Self-Love: Compassion's Greatest Work

Boxing Gloves

Beside Restful Waters

A column by Greg Hermann

Here we are, with a new year upon us with frequent discussions of a ‘new year resolution’. After considerable reflection, I decided not to consider a resolution for 2015. I recalled the frequent self abuse from failed resolutions of my past. In recent years, I tried to set myself up for success by resolving to accomplish something that I could do easily. These seemed to be the most difficult failures with the most severe self judgment.

The year 2014 was a year of miracles. It began with a challenge to be gentle with myself. Hmmm! For most of my 60 plus years, this thought was no more than a cliché shrouded in a variety of literary foliage. It sounded pretty, but there was little intention of practice and there wasn’t much in the way of instruction. Just how does one treat oneself gently?

Personally, I discovered that offering compassion and gentleness to others was much easier than turning these gifts inward. Further, I discovered that I set specific expectations of myself. When I didn’t meet these expectations, then I would judge and sentence myself to thoughts of disgust, failure, and degradation.

My practice of yoga intensified significantly this past year with greater commitment to meditation. I observed over time that negative thoughts began to decrease in frequency and intensity. Positive thoughts also began to increase in frequency and intensity. While I have yet to experience the “bliss” that I have read about, I am experiencing changes in thoughts, attitudes, and expectations.

As 2015 came, I realized that I was beginning to practice a change in lifestyle that required daily intent, an act of will which opens my spirit to the subtle observation of miracles. I haven’t observed fireworks or earth moving events. I have witnessed subtle events that stir my spirit to the awareness of Divinity. These events have expanded my knowledge of life in a fuller capacity. These events have resulted in action with less emotional and physical effort, a more natural response.

Life is becoming more restful with higher lows and lower highs. Stillness is more noticeable. Divinity is more present. I am grateful to the many people who have been the key actors in the miracles. I pray we continue to share the restful waters.

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