Loving Yourself
an except from Key # 1

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You are like a flower blooming in the desert. The ground is dry around you,     yet somehow you are drinking from an underground supply. You bloom     because you breathe. You shine because you are connected to the source of love and life. 
        Einstein said that his greatest discovery was that the universe was friendly.  It was his way of acknowledging a higher power that sustains us in ways that  we cannot possibly know, no matter how much we try to understand our place in the universe. 
     All of us were children once and we naturally look to our parents to love us and provide for us. When we become adults, we look for love from our partners and our friends. We seek love from the outside and we depend on finding it there. Unfortunately, this strategy of finding love works at best for a short time. It is a temporary experience, not an eternal one. It has a beginning and an end. Love from others comes and goes. It is not steady. When it is there we are happy. When it is not there we are sad.  Sometimes we even feel mistreated or betrayed.
     But most love that comes from others is conditional love. People love us because we are meeting their needs at the time. When we stop meeting their needs, their feelings change and they find another object for their affection. 
     Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are some people who love us unconditionally, but they are rare in our lives. And they are able to love us in this way only because they have found the source of love within.

The Source of Love

The Source of love is deep inside us. It is like an underground aquifer that hydrates the plants in the desert. The Source is always there. It abides in our heart of hearts, but we do not often notice it. It is like breathing. 
     Breath sustains us, but we do not know from what or whom the breath comes. It is some kind of exchange with the universe that we participate in unconsciously. We do not even feel grateful for it, for we did not ask for it and did nothing to earn the right to breathe. It simply came with the body. And the body itself is a mystery.
    You and I are a mystery. We do not know why we are here or how we came to be. We were given the gift of life, but we do not know it is a gift. On a cold day when the wind rifles across the desert, we wonder if this fragile life we have is a gift at all. 
     In the freezing air beneath the steely light of the full moon, we feel exposed and vulnerable. We question whether the universe is a friendly place. We wonder if our needs will be met.   All this derives from looking without for love, comfort, acceptance. And, as I have said, all that comes from outside is conditional, or let us say unpredictable. Sometimes it is hot and sometimes it is cold.  sometimes there is draught and other times the rivers swell in the monsoon rains and overflow their banks.   
     Life in the desert is tricky. It is risky. It is uncertain. You cannot really depend on anything. The same can be said of conditional love. 
     If all we knew was conditional love, our experience here would be frustrating. Our expectations would be raised up only to be smashed. We might even believe that we live  in a cruel and heartless universe. 
     But beneath the surface of life, there is a spring that runs deep. There is a capacity for love that each of us has that is completely awesome and miraculous. The great ones like Jesus and Buddha have showed it to us. The same spring that nurtured them runs in our hearts. 
     In this world, the heart may seem to be a lonely hunter, but it is its very nature to give and receive love. You and I are here to love. It is our purpose and our destiny. 
     What we do not understand is that love begins and ends in our own consciousness. It flows through us to others and back to us again. If we do not offer love to ourselves, we cannot give it to others. And if we are waiting for others to love us first, we may wait a very long time.
     To receive love we must give it. And to give it, we must receive it. That is the simple formula.

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