The measure

What if progress along the mystical path toward God is measured by our capacity to love our own creation? According to what I called “the reflexive principle” a few weeks ago, this love gauges the amount of love I have to offer the world around me; and which sets the bar for my faith in how much God loves me.

This faith has to do with my certainty that my prayers to find Him will be answered; or that He wishes to assist me; or that after asking for something my attitude is not, “Why would He do that for me?”, but rather, “Why wouldn’t He?”

I don’t mean self-love by saying this, which is usually love for an imagined identity rather than the real stuff of who we are; I mean love for all the beauty and ugliness, the imperfections and the things we do well; I mean sitting down to prayer at the end of the day and thanking God for having made this the seat of my awareness.

In a way, it’s about being raazi concerning those aspects of my being which are largely beyond my control. This opens an eye (the eye of a lover, who sees beyond all “flaws”) to who and what we truly are.

The opposite of this is self-hatred, where is most of the focus is on who we might become. In fact, we hate even our efforts toward it, such that we hardly believe we can accomplish the perfections we’ve set for ourselves. We are rotten at the core, and only by shunning our creation, and bending it to some nobler end, can we hope to salvage something from this ruined existence.

Thinking on it, I found that some religious and philosophical institutions have enshrined this mentality, becoming a sort of institutionalized anti-humanism. They see us starting from a point of sin, or lack, or ignorance, and most of the “point of life” is in escaping that original condition. By validating a sense of self-loathing, and indicating that this journey is the only hope of redeeming a being who otherwise shouldn’t have been, they lock people into a fervent wish to escape their own skins.

But by loving our own creation, I mean to say that we began whole and perfect, as a seed begins perfect. Everything the tree is meant to be lies within the seed, it only needs tending and nurturing to bring out all of its fruits. What it needs is warmth and encouragement, not the prodding sense that as a sapling, it’s hardly grown enough. What child would respond well if constantly compared to the adult who it was yet to be?

I wonder even if we don’t halt ourselves along the path of our true growth by that loathing, like a plant hidden in darkness. Can we open our arms fully to the sunlight when we don’t believe we’re worth it? Or is real happiness found in being pleased with what is.