There are those very dark and gloomy days, the ones where everything seems to fall apart. Absolutely everything. You’d go stick your head in a hole and stay there forever – if only you could find a hole, if only you could bear a minute more of the chaos. What do you do? How do you deal with life’s most disastrous moments?
Here is a recipe for healing: Go into the bathroom and close the door. Turn on the light and look into the mirror. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel your feet touching the ground. Feel the light shining on the top of your head. Look deeply into your own eyes. Continue looking as you say these words: I love you anyway. Maybe you screwed up. Maybe the whole world turned against you. Maybe everything you could possibly imagine went wrong. Let the words be unconditional: I love you anyway.
You may feel a big release when you say these words. You may feel rushing tears. You may feel nothing at all. You may wonder if the words could really help. You may wonder if you could ever truly mean them. Tell yourself you’ll just give them a try anyway. Then wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and go to bed. Play a relaxing meditation if you think you will not be able to sleep. Give yourself at least an hour to rest. If it is nighttime, you are all set. Repeat the words one more time as you lie down: I love you anyway.
For some of us, these are extremely difficult words to say. This is because deep, unconditional love was not modeled consistently for us during childhood. It is difficult for us to tap into it. We don’t even know where to begin to look for it. One way for us to find it is to practice healing meditation. A simple beginning exercise gives us an immediate taste of it. The more we practice it, the more it grows in our lives. We spend more time in that space of loving peace. We find it more easily. It becomes the dominant tone in our lives.
The form of healing meditation that I practice has advantages beyond its ability to bring us straight into the experience of loving peace. It provides very clear tools for shedding the layers that block our ability to experience that loving peace. We can let go of limiting beliefs about who we are and what possibilities exist for us in the world. We can release the unhealthy attachments that drain our power. We can close the gaps in our sense of self that make us vulnerable to abuse. We can wash away the wounds of deep trauma. Each step brings us back into that experience of loving peace at deeper and more permanent levels.
This work requires very few rules. You don’t have to sell your soul or swear allegiance to something you could never really believe in. Its premise is just this: the flow of the universe itself is abundant, loving, and beautiful. The more you connect with it, the more it nourishes you. The more you let go of what separates it from you, the more you grow; you find yourself living a freer, more joyful life. And the grounds for accepting this premise are very simple: you give it a try. That’s it. You try out a beginning meditation, you let yourself experience that loving peace, and then you see what it is like to work toward it. In my experience, it is here for all of us, and opening to it has, as Plato would say, a quality of remembering something we already know. Yet it is also delightfully surprising and beyond anything we can imagine.
The reason why the recipe, “I love you anyway,” works is equally simple. When we judge ourselves – when we insist that we need to be a certain way and that life needs to turn out a certain way in order to be okay – we close ourselves off to the flow. We block the very source that nourishes us, that mends our wounds, that helps us grow wiser and more loving. When we open to, “I love you anyway,” we invite the flow back in.
As it turns out, the recipe usually works even better than we imagine. We wake up not only feeling a bit of relief, but a whole lot lighter. This is because the process leads us into new territory, new avenues of the soul. When you can look yourself in the eyes during the darkest of times and say, “I love you anyway,” you are on your way to learning one of life’s most important lessons: crisis is but an invitation to transformation, an invitation to a freer, more joyful life.