As I slept last night, the simple words, “Accept yourself as you are where you are,” spoke within me as if in a dream, as if someone was speaking those words directly to my heart. And so I sit this morning in meditation chewing on these words.
That is my desire I believe, to come to that place within me where I do accept myself freely, unconditionally, lovingly, as I am, to feel the truth inside of me that I am good. Yet there is always this wall, this barrier, this “but” that holds me back, jails me in and nags me that I am not yet who I want to be.
What is that voice, that critic that speaks to me of my own inadequacies and drowns out the inner voice of love? Is it the voice of my siblings who constantly teased me, challenged me, failed to affirm me as a writer and as a strong, loving man? Is it the voice of my own expectations that continues to drive me to do more, be more, reform myself and the world around me? Is it the voice of fear which is worried I don’t measure up, I’m not good enough and possibly because of that I won’t make it to the other side at the end of my human life? Or is it the voice of guilt which says I should be doing this or I shouldn’t be doing that because good men like you need to be better than that.
Perhaps it is all of the above, a combination of those voices that make up my inner critic who seems to challenge my ability to simply love myself as I am where I am.
Well and good, but now that I have recognized my inner prison, how do I get out of it—how do I allow these inner walls to fall down so I can live my life more freely, joyfully, lovingly?
I can look to scripture which reminds me that God created the human person and told each one of us we are good. I can look to the deeds I have accomplished in my life to affirm my goodness, the people I have loved, the relationships I have sustained, the lives I have touched with my own for the better. All of these outward signs of my goodness are fine but they don’t seem to drill down inside of me from my head to my heart.
Perhaps I am asking the unanswerable question, “How do I love and accept myself unconditionally?” and simply have to accept the fact that I cannot move beyond the inner walls which bind me. Is the quest, the inner journey to know who I am and like who I am, a pathway to love that simply unfolds for the rest of my life—the narrow gate I must follow to find my true self at the end?
My impatience will not accept these circular answers. I want to break through. I want to turn a corner in my life. I want the inner critic who thwarts me to simply cease, be still and know that I am good.
“Be still and know that I am good”—these words poured themselves onto this page much like the voice I heard in my dream. They ripple through my chest and flutter in my stomach bringing a sense of peace within me. Their mantra intrigues me with its truth like a key unlatching the door to the inner chamber I have mentally tortured myself in all these years.
“Be still and know that I am good”—Is it that simple? Is it that easy? Are these the Word made fresh which have unlocked the door for me?
I believe they are. At least they seem to have connected my head with my heart for now. And so I will hold these words, ponder this mantra gently. I will let them speak to me and replace the condemning words in my mind. I will allow these words to become the inner voice of truth and love, let them transform me as they spill over my mind and heart much like water gently spills over river stones carving new faces in and on them.
A mantra to hold for the day: ”Be Still and Know that I am Good.”