Linden: 30 year old from Seattle area, brain cancer survivor, at Kokolulu for one month
Part 2: Lessons
*disclaimer – I wrote this out without thinking, so please ignore the grammar 😉
Love Yourself First
I had an experience after my morning qi gong session the other day. I was lying, flat out on my back in the center of the temple at Kokolulu and I was allowing my mind to wander toward what I was grateful for. I wanted to put out grateful energy as I had experienced a magical day the day before and wanted to ‘attract’ more of that kind of magic in my life. I keep getting feedback from the world that my journey is unfolding before me, in the way “its supposed to.” My challenge now, is to stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself.
In this moment, I was experiencing an overwhelming sense of gratitude, one like I’ve never been able to generate before. It was such a unique experience; The flow of love and peace within and all around me, that I had such a huge ‘ah ha’ moment, my life will never be the same.
Many people struggle with the idea of ‘loving yourself.’ The mind distorts the message somehow, as if those who love themselves are egotistical, or self indulgent. There is always judgement when we are not our ‘real selves’ and this judgement shadows what seems (logically) most important. It is why many put themselves last, always putting others first – as if somehow, putting yourself down serves a higher purpose and makes you ‘better than’ someone who puts him/herself first.
That’s just the ego talking, and when you strip the ego away, you are left with your real self and you begin to see that you are, indeed, connected to everything on earth…everything. By not loving yourself, you are refusing to love your family, your friends, nature, humanity, God, divinity, you refuse all of it.
So, in fact, you are at a juxtaposition, your ego thinks it will be rewarded by putting yourself last, that it will bring you love and closer to God, when the exact opposite is actually happening.
I caught a brief glimpse of what that feels like and felt connected and grateful, and totally and completely in love with myself. And there was no ego, only love – a love I’ve never experienced, love for and from myself, God, and everything in between. This glimpse opened my heart to a new understanding. By not loving myself, I was doing a huge disservice to myself, denying the people I love the most love, and of course, denying God’s love.
How can I serve others and be led by God’s will if I do not love them? I had severed this connection, thinking that by not liking myself, I was being humble or perhaps I used it as a way to gain empathy or sympathy. Empathy and sympathy do not move mountains. They do not make the heart sing. They do not inspire, lead, or create. Love is the only answer. Love yourself, first. In doing so, you open yourself up to love others and God and once the gate has been opened, the love flows in like a raging river, sweeping you off your feet an into a world of connection, fulfillment and bliss.
Part 1: “I have a ton of support from friends and family through a Facebook page I started in August last year and I want to give back to them so I thought I’d share some of my lessons. Based on what you (Kokolulu) shared about your experience learning qi gong, I thought I’d share this:
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. – Carl Jung
Since arriving at Kokolulu, I have been inundated with the theory and practice of qi gong. One of the fundamentals I am learning through this practice is to control my mind. In doing so, I have experienced peace like I never knew existed, I’ve started to love myself like I never have before and I understand why I am where I am today, and how/why I got here. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think many may be able to relate to my previous way of being…
Looking back, I was more or less unhappy and unfulfilled as a constant throughout most of my life. My old journals certainly reflect this frustration. Yes; I was happy in moments…during events/vacations, if I met someone new or learned something I found interesting. Basically only if things I perceived as “good” came to me.
What I realize now is that I was always looking outside; I was searching for something to make me feel good. At first I used the basics: alcohol, food and/or TV. All three at once was ideal. I eventually realized I was making things worse so I stopped drinking, ate less and watched less TV. But even then, I was still wanting more, or always felt the need to do more. I wanted to workout more, eat better, earn more money, climb the ranks, ‘become successful’ – all with the end goal in mind of eventually finding happiness.
I am beginning to realize that this kind of thinking takes us out of the current moment – what my teacher calls “your real life”. When you have so much energy focused outward, you are left feeling depleted and not good enough, always falling short. “When I have enough money, a big house (by the water, please), the perfect spouse, a perfect body (nicely tanned), etc. THEN I’ll be happy.”
The that kind of thinking leaves you feeling like you’re always falling short – never good enough. Happiness seems to be part of an unobtainable destination. You get a little closer – a better job, move out of your parents ;), start to workout, date someone who seems right, and all of a sudden the destination of happiness moves again. Now its a bigger house, an enlightened soul mate, 8 pack abs, and a 6 digit salary.
I was talking to my brother last night as he was driving home from Palo Alto and he started laughing…he saw a sign (Ace of Base, anyone?) and it said something that implied that you should live your life, but it would be better lived in a bigger living room. It was an ad for financing a home for 3 million dollars. So if you live in San Francisco, good luck. Our society endorses and promotes consumerism to the point that it has literally become a science. Companies know how to influence us, whether our conscious mind knows it or not. We are always being told we should be skinnier, richer, taller, better looking, more successful.
If that’s what leads to happiness, then why do so many famous people commit suicide? These people seemingly have access to almost everything they could want/desire. Some of the most talented, best looking, highly successful people don’t want to live anymore. One might conclude that in fact, wealth and possessions don’t lead to happiness.
Which brings me to my point: true happiness is only found when we find ourselves. When we finally look inward and love ourselves, as we are, NOW.
Your real life is happening now, in this moment. Love yourself now. Be still, listen. It is uncomfortable at first, but there is incredible peace to be found within you. It is always with you, it is divine love and you literally have to do nothing, go nowhere, be just as you are. You are perfect. NOW.”
N.K. is a vibrant 53 year old man with a great appreciation of life and family. About a year ago N.K. was brought to Kokolulu by a dear friend. He was told by his oncologist that he had 2-3 weeks to live. He had already planned his memorial service. His skin was blue/grey and we had to help carry him from his car into the temple at Kokolulu. He had a 6 cm tumor in his liver, gallbladder and kidneys were almost completely shutdown. Kokolulu’s resident QiGong Master trained and worked as a healer and teacher at the medicine-less hospital in China did several treatments on him over a period of 3 days. N.K. also participated in a 3 day workshop at Kokolulu to learn how to do Zhineng Qigong and continue to see the QiGong Master over the next two months. After a healing circle session in Kokolulu’s temple once everyone had left he approached Karin and I. He said I have something important to tell you both. “I went to my oncologist today and he showed me the lab results. The cancer and tumor are all gone”. N.K continues to come for qigong healing treatments from our current QiGong Master and participates in the twice a month healing circles held at Kokolulu. His memorial that he planned in anticipation of his death became a Celebration of Life
To learn more about Kokolulu’s healing programs – visit Kokolulu Farm and Retreats or call 808-889-9893