An insightful guide for consciously bringing compassion and love into your life
• Explores feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and past experiences that block us from loving and receiving love
• Includes deceptively simple yet profound exercises, meditations, and visualizations to support the exploration of your inner world
• Explains how these principles and techniques originated in Roberto Assagioli’s system of psychosynthesis, enriched by the Findhorn experience of living in community
Every person is born with the capacity to love. Over time, however, many of us have built barriers within ourselves as a reaction to painful experiences, and following these, we often develop fears, beliefs, and behaviors that keep these barriers firmly in place.
The primary lesson in life is to learn to love, and this starts right on our doorstep. Often it is self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness that hold us back from experiencing all the love around us. Only when we start to love and accept ourselves with all that we are can we love others freely and fully. Learning to love requires an intention to change and a willingness to take action. Once we understand how to work with our doubts and fears and learn how to change our beliefs and behavior, our barriers will melt away and we spontaneously open up to connect deeply and harmoniously with the full flow of the river of life.
In this simple yet insightful guide, Eileen Caddy and David Earl Platts detail the down-to-earth practicalities of exploring feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and past experiences that block us from loving and from receiving love. They show how bringing more love into our lives is not a mystery but often a journey back to ourselves and our core values. The authors examine the feelings of acceptance, trust, forgiveness, respect, opening up, and taking risks, among others, within a framework of compassionate understanding and non-judgment. Deceptively simple yet profound exercises, meditations, and visualizations support the reader in examining their inner world and implementing these vital concepts into their lives.
The teachings in the book are based on popular workshops that Eileen, co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation Community, and David facilitated for years in and outside Findhorn. Many of the underlying principles and techniques originate in the system of psychosynthesis, devised by Roberto Assagioli. Learning to Love invites you to make a free and informed choice to bring more love into your life, and then helps you implement this choice step-by-step with confidence and joy.
In this chapter we examine our personal identity as being a composite of the many different images we have of our self and that accepting them all is an important step in choosing to love.
WHAT IS ACCEPTANCE?
The chapter title Choosing to Accept means accepting our self as we are accepting all parts of our self--without judgement, criticism or condemnation. It is also accepting others as they are without wanting them to be any different than they are.
Acceptance is not denial, tolerance or resignation. We can certainly change the parts of our self we wish to improve, but only after we accept them.
Otherwise the parts of our self we do not recognise and accept, both our positive qualities and our 'negative' ones, we tend to project onto others; and therefore we do not see others as they are, we see only our projections.
Consequently as we are more able to accept our self, we are more able to see and accept other people more clearly and genuinely. Thus accepting all parts of our self is a necessary step towards loving freely and fully.
We all have many different parts. We can call them images or identifications that we have of our self. However each one is only a fragment, a partial image, because we are always changing and expressing different ones at different times. Each image we have of our self then is only one composite piece of our total personal identity.
We have countless other pieces, other images--so many that it would be impossible to list them all. For example most of us can honestly say:
In addition are many other images we have of our self at one time or another. A few of the more obvious ones relate to our:
• Gender • Family • Nationality • Political persuasion • Home responsibilities • Work • Religious/spiritual persuasion • Hobbies and pastimes • Attitudes, beliefs, desires • Physical body/sensations • Emotions and feelings • Mind and mental processes
This brief survey represents a very small fraction of a rich and ever-changing mosaic comprising our personal identity. It only hints at a colourful cast of characters we carry within us waiting to be accepted and integrated within our sense of self our sense of wholeness.
One powerful Psychosynthesis method which aids self-acceptance is known as Identification. It invites us to explore various parts of our self directly and fully. It entails facing them squarely, examining them freely from all sides and accepting them completely as a part of our self. Identification is one part of a two-part process. We present the other part in Chapter Seven.
Identification takes several forms. One common form has five steps. The first step asks us to visualise a relevant need, desire, trait or attitude in symbolic form, such as a person, animal or object. The second step then asks us to explore the symbol for whatever qualities it expresses to us. The third step invites us to make a drawing of the symbol as a means of anchoring it within our awareness.
The fourth step calls for us to interact and dialogue with the symbol to learn more about the part of us it represents. The final step asks us to become the symbol, that is, to imagine our self as actually being the symbol, identifying with it completely, to gain insights about how this part of us feels, thinks and behaves--that is, how we feel, think and behave when we are expressing this part of our self.
Another Identification technique invites us to imagine an image or identity we have of our self as being a separate person, with its own name, personality, feelings, thoughts and behaviour. We call it a subpersonality, as it is only a part of our personality, not the whole of it. It is only one of our inner cast of characters.
Each subpersonality has its own unique expression. For example, whenever we are feeling helpless and victimised (and therefore expressing our 'Victim' subpersonality), we stand, sit, feel, think, move, talk and act differently than we do whenever we are feeling, say, assertive, strong and powerful (perhaps expressing a 'Leader' subpersonality).
Subpersonalities may be likened to musicians in an orchestra. They each have their part to play and their contribution to make to the whole. For many people, however, it is an orchestra without a conductor, and so most of the musicians consider themselves to be star soloists, have their own music to perform and take the spotlight away from all the others whenever they can.
Conflicts abound. Rather than all playing the same music and blending harmoniously together, they sound collectively more like the pre-concert tune-up. They are undisciplined and uncoordinated. They need a leader, someone to take charge, directing and harmonising their talents and all they have to offer to the whole.
In the same way, parts of our self compete for attention and expression. When we experience ambivalence, indecision or conflict within our self, we can say that two or more of our subpersonalities are in disagreement. For example one part of us wants to be in a committed loving relationship, while another part wants freedom and independence above all else.
Eileen Caddy, MBE (1917-2006), was the co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation, a thriving spiritual community in the North of Scotland. For more than 50 years, Eileen listened to and shared her inner guidance, inspiring millions around the world.