Why do we choose to sacrifice? Why do we choose to prove our love through acts of devotion? And what are these demonstrations in service of?
As I pondered the choices I have made in the past in a Kundalini yoga meditation on self-forgiveness this morning, I was brought into the expansiveness of my heart. I have always known that I am filled with love. Why was I willing to prove my love to others? When lack of trust plagued my loved ones, I was ready and willing to prove my devotion.
Sacrifice in Service of Our Own Heart
But my sacrifice, my devotion, was in service of their hearts, not mine. My blessing was secondary – a happiness born of their happiness. This kind of compassion and desire to heal others has its own beauty. Yet, how is this different than sacrifice that is in service of your own heart – your own self-love?
If my child were hungry, I would sacrifice my own fulfillment in a heartbeat. But there is no other involved in this gift giving. The child does not even recognize the sacrifice is being made. Nothing is being proven to anyone. It simply fills my heart to see my child nurtured, even if it is at my expense. Nobody needs to witness this. Nobody needs to acknowledge that the sacrifice was made. This is coming close to altruism.
Self-Sacrifice and Trust
When we accept the challenge of proving our devotion, it necessitates that someone is watching, judging, validating, confirming. At which point do we cross the line and what is the value of the distinction?
I could dive into a discussion about neediness, codependency, manipulation, and reciprocity at this point, but that would be missing the true nature of what the universe revealed to me. The truth is, that at least in my case, I was not looking for anything in return from them. I was looking for something in return from myself.
“I was looking for something in return from myself.”
When we accept this challenge of proving our love and worth, we validate another’s lack of trust in us. Even if we know in our minds that we are loving and worthy, there is something in our hearts that wants to prove it to ourselves as well. Our relationships are our mirrors, and what happens without is also happening within. At a fundamental level we also do not trust ourselves.
By consenting to this self-sacrifice in demonstration of my love and devotion, I was conceding that somewhere deep in my heart I feared that maybe I was not love already. Perhaps my love was not enough. But it was my self-love that was not enough. We already are love, from the moment we are born, sometimes we just don’t feel with our hearts what we know in our minds.
The ego has become a dirty word in many spiritual circles, but our egos are not bad. Sometimes our ego knows things logically that our hearts fail to see. With some people the ego becomes so overblown in a desperate attempt to counterbalance the blindness of the heart, that a toxic dysfunction develops. We call this narcissism.
In this dysfunction, the ego tries desperately to compensate for self-loathing. Self-loathing is simply a belief of the heart that we are not love, we have no worth, nothing beautiful to give. The ego tries in the only way it knows how to fill the empty space in the heart where self-love should reside. This, in and of itself, is born of a longing for wholeness, a thirst for balance and happiness. It simply fails to produce the desired outcome because it is a false ego, a false self. Only love can be love.
“Only love can be love.”
The Sound of Love
In a previous meditation, I discovered that I had developed a block in my throat chakra. Powerful energies were getting stuck on their way from my heart to the outside world. I had been speaking from my mind and loving through my acts of devotion.
Surely I spoke words of love, but they were filtered through my mind space. Analyzed and corrected for imperfections. Modified for the sake of others. I did not feel safe to allow the truth of my heart to make a direct expression through my voice anymore. Pain and trauma are our teachers, but teachers can be harsh if they do not teach from a place of love. Since we are our own teachers, self-love becomes all the more important.
“Pain and trauma are our teachers, but teachers can be harsh if they do not teach from a place of love. Since we are our own teachers, self-love becomes all the more important.”
Society disciplines us to mind our words. Clearly, having no filter can cause harm to those around us. It is a necessary skill. But when these energies are permanently rerouted, we lose a connection between the heart and the voice. We lose the purity of our expression.
This self-doubt, self-consciousness, self-correction can stifle the soul. It can cause the heart to become overfilled with emotion, it becomes congested. Our voice acts as a dam as we wait for the mind to do its work. This pressure disrupts the flow from our heart-space. Our natural rhythm becomes obstructed.
The Voice of Love
Perhaps it would help to remind ourselves that we only need the filter of the mind when we are not speaking from a place of love. But fear often gets in the way of our heart’s true self-expression. Fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of ridicule, or whatever else causes us to withhold our truth.
When low-level vibrations like anger, rage, fear, and jealousy cloud the purity of the heart, we should not speak freely. These are times when our minds can help us. These are moments when our filter can buy us time while we scramble to find our way back into the beautiful purity of being love.
But when we are in that heart-space, when we are love, when we are being love, let us have the courage to speak freely. Because nobody was ever harmed by receiving true love. Even when it is not reciprocated – true love does not require reciprocity. It just is.
“True love does not require reciprocity. It just is.”
I’m going to focus my next meditation on the voice of love. Unbridled from the mind. An unhindered river that brings nourishment to the world around us. I’m curious to discover what I will find.
Thank you to my guru Gaziza Onalbayeva for guiding me on this beautiful journey of self-reflection and healing.