I used to think of myself as separate from others, and therefore, each relationship, each friend, each experience I had was mine, and mine alone. This went on for so long, it’s unpleasant to think how unhappy and unfulfilled I was. Happily, it was by perseverance, and believing that each lesson, no matter how painful, would bring me here: experiencing the ultimate state, joy, or inner bliss. No matter what happens on the outside these days, I am in touch with contentment. Read my account of how I came to this state of mind in my nonfiction book Zen Love.
Instead of Selfish, I Practice Being Selfless
While certain people are, right now, defending their decision to not get vaccinated against the coronavirus ravaging our world, I’m compelled to share for their benefit how this sense of “separation” or, in other words, “taking care of oneself only” so infused my earlier years, and only led me to one failure after the next. Until finally, I discovered through a series of catastrophes that the only true feeling I could sustain was a Love that gave me a sense of wholeness, of completion. That’s when I finally learned to love, or honor, myself. This act of accepting oneself as part of the whole picture, not just being the center of it, is the key that opens the door of true happiness.
The Exceptions of Getting Vaccinated
Here in the USA, during Covid times, it’s easy to identify those of us who don’t think of ourselves as being part of the blended family of humankind. In America, being anti-vax is literally a mental construct. The exception to this reasoning and this plea of trying to reverse the opinion of those who refuse to get vaccinated—is for those who simply can’t, either for legitimately good health reasons or, just as importantly, because they are innocent victims of their government’s ineptitude in providing adequate vaccinations for their citizens. This is the case in many European countries and those countries less wealthy than the United States where we are blessed to have an abundance of vaccination options.
To be clear, I’m addressing here, in my personal plea, people who think that getting vaccinated isn’t necessary for them.
They don’t consider the overall, resulting effects of the world gaining herd immunity against Covid, which entails vaccinating the majority of our blended family on Earth. Anti-vaxers, who don’t have underlying health issues preventing vaccination, simply don’t accept that this worldwide pandemic needs their help to help it go away. They are, I know from talking to many of them myself, of the mindset that “Covid doesn’t affect me.”
So Many Benefits of Practicing Self-Love
When a person learns to honor the highest part of their Being as part of being-interconnected with all other humans, this is one of the first benefits of letting go of selfishness, which often manifests as self-loathing. Learning to practice selflessness means embracing Self-Love first and foremost. The capitalization of the “S” signifies a spiritualized acceptance of each person’s role as a part of the whole: considering oneself a member of the blended family of humanity. A small “s” signifies someone hung up, still, on being selfish, ego-oriented: a person having a me-mentality.
The Key That Unlocks the Happiness Door
This thing called Self-love contains a key within it, of shifting from the ache of lonely, disparaging isolation to a heart-expanding, more complete feeling of sharing with everyone. For me, my former me-oriented life changed from something to be endured to being a joyous player on the merry-go-round of Earthly Delights, when I began to forgive myself for being imperfect. Happiness is loving myself for being exactly that, too. It’s funny, but it’s true. Imperfection is simply, well, perfectly human! When I accepted this, suddenly I felt part of the blended family of humankind, when I learned to take the focus off of solely my own self. As individuals, we’re all flawed. Seeing ourselves as “part of” the blended family of homo sapiens allows us to see how we fit in so nicely, and never mind anymore that we’re not this or we’re not that.
How to Accept Our Blendedness
I’m not sure everyone has the same desire, as I did, to experience Oneness. After a slew of stepping-stone lovers, I finally remembered I am not alone—but we are All One. There is no feeling of isolation when one truly “sees” and “feels” connected to all. All One means not alone. When this happened (through ardently practicing mind-expanding meditation), I reached the pinnacle of letting go of obsessively searching for excitement everywhere and in anyone outside myself. Everything I’d been searching for is right inside of me, and it’s right inside you, too. That’s why it’s so easy to feel familial with every single “other.”
For decades now—since discovering I am not just a Me but an intrinsic part of the We that the world actually is: a cell in the beyond-imaginable number of living cells combining what we call earthly existence at this moment in time—I fully accept, and cherish as my new worldview, my deep abiding comfort that all of us humans are, indeed, members of one beyond-immense, universally blended family of humankind.
How Our Blendedness Saves Us
Here we are, well into a second year of living with the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s time for people to think outside the box and try on another version of what, exactly, the word family means. To me, family has a lot to do with love. Feeling a surge of goodness, of dopamine rushing throughout my physical-mental-spiritual system is what my family of love (different than my birth family, in my case) brings to my life.
Since embracing Self-love (the opposite of self-critical, such a common frailty for people in general) I have surrendered to the fact that there’s nothing, absolutely nothing left to keep me from feeling connected to every single thing on earth. Without embracing Self-love, this All-One feeling is denied. This is why some people try to duplicate the All-One thing, as I did for too long, by using mind-altering drugs and/or alcohol.
Once I learned to love my Self (meaning, forgive myself for being a mere human) my lower, critical-of-self-and-others thinking got unstuck. Instead of looking for the next exciting adventure, I accepted everyone as a lovable brother or sister. All humans, then, became my family, regardless of what or whom or where they are.
Finally, I’m able to grasp the truth of humankind’s being a worldwide family, our truly blended family. So, something like being vaccinated (just as in being “in love”) is no longer just about being Me, it’s about being part of We.
For those who relate to visual representations, check out my colorful and visionary coffee table art-book, We Are One.