As yourself

Thinking of my love today, and of the great value she holds to me, I am put to remembrance of something Jung said:

“Simple things are always the most difficult.  In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple, and so acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one’s whole outlook on life.  That I feed the beggar, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy…  all these are undoubtedly great virtues…

But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, yea, the very fiend himself-that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved-what then?”

This quote reads like poetry to me.

It impacts me like poetry, too.

I like to read it slowly, savoring.

Simple things are always the most difficult.

In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple,

and so acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem

and the acid test of one’s whole outlook on life.


That I feed the beggar

that I forgive an insult

that I love my enemy…

all these are undoubtedly great virtues…


But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all

the poorest of all beggars

the most impudent of all offenders

yea, the very fiend himself –


that these are within me

and that I myself stand in need

of the alms of my own kindness


that I myself am the enemy

who must be loved –


what then?

Acceptance of oneself.  Why is this hard?  Why do we hold impossible expectations of ourselves?  Why are we  surprised when we catch a glimpse of some darkness, some quirk, some perversity, weakness or vile thing?  What pride keeps  us from seeing ourselves?  What fear?  Only love can tame such a skittish creature.  Compassion.  Humor.  Affection.  Acceptance of oneself, the essence of the moral problem.  You cannot change what you refuse to see.  Acceptance of oneself, the acid test of one’s outlook on life.  How does life seem to you?  Mysterious but magical?  Or threatening and sinister?

Jung pointed out that the outer virtues of loving those around us, even the unlovely, pale next to the simple, difficult art of self-acceptance.  Seeing yourself clearly and not flinching…offering yourself the tenderness of a mother to her babe…

The wonder is that as you bathe yourself with kindness it frees you.  It changes the way you see life as it rushes past.  It changes everything.  It transforms, not just you, but all that you perceive.  There begins to unfold a spaciousness within that translates into a generosity of spirit.  All of life becomes sacred.  No part left out.

Eventually, we all need to be willing to face the deepest, darkest beliefs we have about ourselves. Only in this way can we come to know that they are only beliefs, and not the truth about who we are.   – Ezra Bayda

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