In my Meditation Today: The hardest lesson to learn is to allow for my imperfections. If I cannot love myself through my imperfections, how can I expect anyone else to love me unconditionally? I had been less than generous to a loved one in a recent conversation. I hated myself for it. My inner critic was having a field day – ” You call yourself a good person?!” ” How could you be so mean?” ” You should be ashamed of yourself!” The feeling of scrunched-up energy in my center indicated that my body agreed. My mind was unfocused. It is so easy to hate ourselves. The challenge here is to love ourselves unconditionally. That is our true purpose. Understanding that we are all manifestations of the divine is the way to do this.
The Sapta Shloki consists of seven verses from the Devi Mahatmyam – the Grand Story of the Divine Mother. Reciting these seven verses is considered equivalent to reciting the entire 700 verse scripture.
The fifth verse in the Saptashloki is
Sarvaswarupe Sarvese Sarvashaktisamanvite
Bhayebhyasa Trahi no Devi
Durge Devi Namostuthe
Sarvaswarupe – You who exists in all forms / You who are the essence of all forms
Sarvese – Controls everything
Sarvashaktisamanvite – The embodiment of all Power
Bhayebhyas Trahi No Devi – Remove our fears Devi
Durge Devi Namosthuthe – I bow to you Devi Durga
This verse reminds me that all forms are manifestations of Durga, i.e., I am a manifestation of Durga, and therefore by definition, I am the embodiment of all power. The sense of not being enough or judging myself as not good enough and therefore withholding approval for me is equivalent to withholding it from Devi.
Have you noticed what happens to you physically when you are judging yourself? For me, it is a sense of emptiness in the center of my being. My shoulders hunch upwards, my chest moves inward, and my whole upper torso is bent forward as if to protect the hole in my center.
It does not take much to hollow out my center. A raised eyebrow from my husband, a response to my text from one of my children that is not as effusive as I expect it to be, an off-the-cuff remark from a colleague that I take as an indication of my not being valued is all it takes. A hundred different things during the day when I am telling myself that I am not quite enough.
Recently a casual comment from a friend suggested that I was too involved in my adult children’s lives. My interpretation of her comment was that I was a mom who did not allow her children to make mistakes and grow from them. Interestingly, she had never actually said those words.:)
I often use this yardstick to judge other parents. It was no wonder that I was triggered.
In any case, the comment hit home, and I carried it around for days. My insides felt hollow, my shoulders hunched up, and my self-judgment was relentless. After several days of wallowing in this mess, I was exhausted. I set the intention to heal as I started my daily meditation.
As I recited the SaptaShloki and came to this verse, I felt my shoulders move down and back, and my chest thrust forward. I became aware of three separate parts of me.
- There was the ME who was wise and centered and settled into my relaxed shoulders and open chest;
- There was me in miniature who occupied my center and had curled up in a ball of shame, and
- Then there were the judges, tiny forms of my children, standing upright a little off-center and wagging fingers at the crunched-up me.
As the meditation progressed, my wise and centered self, the Devi within, took the crunched version by the shoulders, stood me up, and hugged me. She also turned me towards the wagging fingers of my children. Then, as I looked at them with Devi’s arms around me, I realized that they were just creatures of my imagination, reflecting my constant fear of not being a good enough parent. The judgment melted away. I was Devi manifested in form. I could not be anything but enough and good and good enough.
The energy in my body which had fragmented into the judged and the judge merged with my wise and centered self. I had healed and was whole again.
I use several techniques like the one described here to help you learn to love yourself fully.
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