Last night I found myself sobbing. I was reading the first chapters of the book Wonder to see if it would be a good fit to teach my homeschooled third grader, and it wasn’t the bullying of the protagonist, a boy with a facial deformity, that triggered me, but the struggle of the mother to make the best choices for her child. The words tore the thin scab over what apparently is an insecurity about whether I have done enough to support my kids through this pandemic, and then the sobbing turned into those awkward sob-laughs because I realized the irony that this all happened while I was reading a children’s reader on behalf of my kid for my evening activity. My husband was glancing at me over his computer with his one-eye brow raised confusion.
It wasn’t until this insecurity bubbled up to the surface that I was able to reflect on how hard I’ve been on myself with this issue and the amount of negative internal dialogue that’s been building up that led to that moment and it got me thinking. Why is it that we think this self-inflicted abuse is necessary to motivate us to get things done? Why do we withhold love from ourselves because we think it propels us to improve? Why must we think that accepting the reality that everything is perfect as it is, including ourselves, prevents growth?
This is the key thought, the little dose of truth that most of us are missing. Everything can be perfect as it is and everything can be evolving at the same time. It is not an either/or situation. Think of a toddler. I have one, so this is very real for me. A toddler gets everything wrong. Everything they say comes out mixed up, they try and feed themselves and most of it ends up on the floor, they relieve themselves in their pants, they’re a mess! But they are perfect. All their little foibles are adorable (well, most of them). They are not lesser than an adult because they haven’t evolved to where they can drive a car or solve mathematical equations.
Wherever we are at in our evolution is perfect. Yes, we are all still evolving, even the folks with the perfect Instagram accounts, if we weren’t we wouldn’t be here. It can be harder to accept in those who do harm to others. But then, let’s go back to childhood again. Think of a bully on the playground. From a narrow lens, you may see that kid and think, “Ugh, she’s an awful kid!” But if you could expand your awareness to a wider view and see maybe the neglect she suffered, perhaps being bullied herself, your heart would ache for this child. Withholding love for this bully would not “teach her a lesson” any more than withholding love for ourselves helps motivate us to greatness.
The only path to true greatness is expanding your consciousness. The wider your lens, the more natural it is to see others as self and feel love for everything and everyone, even yourself.
Kristen Vandivier is an instructor of Vedic Meditation and the founder of The Vedic Method and Meditation Without Borders. She is regarded for her ability to make profound teachings relevant to everyday life and her mission of promoting meditation for social change. After completing an intensive curriculum of training under renowned Master Maharishi Vyasananda Thom Knoles, including a three-month immersion program in the Himalayas, Kristen returned to found her practice. She lives in Mill Valley with her husband and three small children.
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Originally published at https://www.thevedicmethod.com on December 16, 2020.