Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Last night, I saw a documentary on the comic actor, director, and producer Mel Brooks.  At one point, he says that his comedy comes from knowing how much we each love ourselves.  I suppose it could be added that comedy arises because we love ourselves and don't really know it -- because comedy requires a disjunction of some kind. 

Adyashanti interprets the Biblical passage, "Love another as yourself" not as it's usually interpreted -- as an admonition -- but as simply a fact:  because we are in fact one, we cannot do other than love others as ourselves.  But perhaps the more usually interpretation also is profound because in fact, we usually are not aware of how very much we do love ourselves.

We are taught very early that being narcissistic is bad.  This is part of socialization.  "Don't take all the cookies for yourself:  give Johnny half of them."  If we weren't taught that, I don't know if we would learn it anyway as our brains matured, or not.  But the way that lesson is conveyed can make a difference.  The nonverbal message, "You are a selfish pig," can easily be slipped into the overt message about sharing.  And then we start to dislike ourselves.

I'm not sure it's that simple, but it is patently observable that babies love themselves, so self-hate seems to be learned.  And once we learn that we should not even be dedicated to our own selves, all hell breaks lose.  We worship others or ideas outside ourselves, and at the same time we hate anything in the world which seems to reflect our own self-hate.

Really, all love starts right here at home, in my own heart, and it starts with loving myself.  And if I can't do that, nothing else I do is going to benefit anyone. 

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