Last week, I shared the first three principles for our road to self-love + complete acceptance — if you missed them, check them out here! Now, we continue on with the last 4 principles of loving-kindness + how you can experience them through your commitment to a meditation practice.

#4] Equanimity. This is by far the most challenging for me personally. I am someone who experiences the highs as serious highs ++ the lows are just as extreme. Staying even + balanced in all situations is not my strength — I allow myself to be worked up by outside energy really easily! Where I’ve been starting to find my equanimity, has been again — through meditation.

Viktor Frankl says, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” I believe that our power is our choice of equanimity. Our choice to remain in our truth, grounded in authenticity, + to act from a place of love rather than fear is what distinguishes us as living from our highest selves.

We live life on such autopilot — allowing our emotions to run the show. We blame our responses on our emotions rather than taking responsibility for our thoughts that have created those emotions. We also tend to live life in the fast lane — we barely have the time to admire the *sacred pause* that comes between stimulus + response. Use your meditation practice to observe the thoughts that are creating an emotional response in your body. Connect the dots — which thoughts are leading to the feelings of shame, inadequacy, or general fear? Which thoughts are leading to the feelings of hope, fullness, + abundance? Use your meditation practice to observe the sacred pause that lies between a stimulus + response so you can slow it down when you’re in the moment. You have the choice to slow down + honor the pause ++ choose your reaction to any circumstance life throws at you. Meditation will only help you find the pause + use it to make the decision to respond from light rather than darkness.

#5] Everything is always changing.  The world around us is constantly changing. I used to find so much anxiety in this — the dread in knowing that the things that are going well for me [job, boyfriend, family] will eventually change — who knows if that change will be something that I perceive as *better* than before or *worse*. Then, I had another *a-ha* moment — the so-called *good things* in my life are always changing, but so are the *bad*. The things that are causing me discomfort or pain will also change [or force me to change — which is the real beauty]. Finding comfort amidst the change isgrowth. It means you’re movin — you’re not stuck. Without change, we become a stagnant lake — blocked. The life within us dies. With chang — we are fluid, able to bend with the curves of life, access the power of flow.

A woman in the class at this point asked a question — she mentioned how uncomfortable it was to her that things were always changing + she was having a really hard time accepting that everything changes….

Bhante’s answer was so simple, “What other choice do you have?”.

The only guarantee in life that we have is that our physical life on this planet is limited! Everything else is subject to change. I know these changes won’t necessarily be the changes that I want however, they will be the changes that I need. It’s better to accept them + learn to love whatever circumstance I’m going through — because after all, what other choice do I have?

#6] Let go of the ego. The ego is the part of ourselves that reminds us of our *separateness*. How different we are, how unique or special we are, how no one can really understand *me*. It’s the voice in our head that seems to narrate our lives. Our ego lives to the chant of “me, me, me” because without “me”, it’s not alive. Without our separation into a false self, the ego is dead. It can only exist in our false selves.

Our ego will see itself as the *protector* — when trying to live from a place without ego, everyone hears the whisper, “you’re going to allow people to walk all over you!”. The ego needs you to believe that without it, you’ll be abused, taken advantage of, + forsaken because it needs to feel alive. It feeds into the stories of fear of what *others* will do to us if we live from true love + faith in the collective *us* instead of *me*.

Use meditation to weed out the ego’s lies. You will not be taken advantage of, because when you live from a sense of your truth, you have more confidence. You will not allow others to *walk all over you* because you will not be spending time with people who want to walk all over you! You will be able to stop others + their negative energy before it affects you, without the poison of your ego + with only the abundance of love from a place of truth.

When you let go of your ego, you truly live from a place of authenticity, creativity, love, connectedness, + abundance. You are able to speak your truth + go out ++ live it! There is no striving to please others, no questioning your motives, no tension between what you want + what you need because it is the same.

#7] Judgement. This is something I’ve decided to dive even deeper in through reading Gabby Bernstein’s, Judgement Detox. We all make judgements every day, there is no denying that. You could even argue that judgement is needed sometimes! Gabby suggests that rather than thinking of what to eat or who to date as judgements, we think of them as personal choices or discernments or even our *intuition* — which also applies to figuring out what feels safe or what feels morally right to you. We can develop these without being judgemental, which contains the differentiating factor of condemnation. Here’s an example;

I have personally chosen not to smoke cigarettes. I made this choice because it feels right to my body + I’ve seen the detrimental effects it can have within my own family; however, just because I have chosen not to smoke, does not mean I can condemn those that do — I am not going to label people who smoke as *disgusting* or *bad* — because that would be creating judgement. Those labels are only projecting more fear + negativity into the world + on the person who has made a choice that is different than my own. Whatever I am putting out into the universe or projecting onto others has to start somewhere + that somewhere is me! I am projecting these stories of judgement + fear onto the movie screen of my life because I don’t fully love + accept parts of myself.

I can still disagree with their choice while still treating them as my equal + my friend! I can still honor my own choice without having to tell the world that their choice is *wrong*. We can pause + reflect on the judgements that we make + ask ourselves what benefit they are really bringing to our lives through meditation. When we make these judgements we are often acknowledging a part of ourselves that we haven’t fully accepted.While making judgements can often seem like a milli-second thought, we can cultivate a relationship with our judgements through taking time to evaluate them + see them for what they really are. More to come on judgements + how to evaluate them when I’m finished with Judgement Detox ; )

Put it into practice // Meditate for 2 minutes every day for the next week [preferably in the morning]! I encourage you to focus one of the principles outlined above + really embrace that for the day. Every evening, take time to reflect [whether that’s writing in a journal, creating some art, or just taking time to sit with yourself!] + ask yourself how you did that day with channeling more self-love for that day.

The road to self-love is a journey. I believe learning to love yourself as a whole, authentic, worthy part of this universe is a life-long journey [I think it’s a part of what we are here for!]. We are all just trying to walk through this journey + learn through it together. I’d love to hear some of the principles you’ve learned thus far on your journey of self-love too!

++ Sarah

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