Maitri and The Return To Light & Love
Maitri is a Sanskrit word meaning unconditional friendship with oneself. Pema Chodron, author and interpreter of Buddhist principles as applied to everyday living, describes Maitri (my-tree) as, “feeling at home with your own mind and your own body.” This “being able to relax with yourself,” is the basis of compassion, the seed of happiness, and the foundation of well-being. Miguel Ruiz, in his book, The Mastery of Love (1999), suggests that self-love — being your own best friend — is the heart of transforming a life based in fear to one grounded in love. The more you love, the more light you bring into your life. The more “lightness” and compassion you embrace, the more joy you experience. This article invites you to move from darkness toward Light, and from pain into the embrace of Love’s arms.
Embracing Love and Light through unconditional friendship with oneself requires honesty, patience, compassion, humor, courage, persistence, and discipline. It requires an unwavering commitment to Self, as a being of Light and Love. It requires that you fully accept responsibility for your life, and leave behind blaming and complaining. It requires a willingness to “undo” and let go of what’s been created so that you can readily “re-create,” through personal choice, a life of joy and peace. The reflective exercises below may call for the support of family and friends, or a qualified professional, such as a Counselor or experienced Life Coach. Before you begin, you must first answer this, “Am I worth it?”
Accept Whom You Are and Where You Are. What strengths, gifts, talents and abilities have you been given? What choices have you made that serve you as a being of Light and Love? How do you share yourself, as love, with the world? How have you denied yourself from giving and receiving Light and Love? How have you betrayed your mind, body, and spirit? How have your choices (good and bad) gotten you where you are? How have you deprived yourself from being You? What aspects of your life need to change so you can embrace Yourself? Acknowledge what You have created. There is no one else in the driver’s seat — this is your life! You may not like it, but you must accept where you are. Acceptance does not mean it’s okay that your life is this way — it means acknowledging that, “what is, is…” From here, you can let go, undo, and begin to re-discover and re-create all that you are.
Resolve To Change. How motivated are you? Explore any ambivalence. What are the costs and benefits of keeping things the same? What are the costs and benefits of making changes? Are you willing to be your own best friend? What will it take? Are you worth it and why? What words, statements, or affirmations inspire you and offer you encouragement? Write these words in multiple places as reminders to yourself. Speak them as often as you need to, in order to assist you in your process. Your desire and willingness will help you launch a new life.
Create a Vision/Set An Intention. What do you desire to change? What will your life look like once it’s changed? How will you feel as a result of this change? What is on the horizon for you? What direction will you give to all your thoughts, words and actions? Envision treating yourself as your own best friend, nurturing yourself and putting self-criticism aside. Maitri — being your own best friend — will begin to inform all your decisions about work, relationships, and how you spend your time and energy.
Choose. How do you feel when your thoughts, words, and actions support your vision? How do you feel when they don’t? Your good feelings guide you to living in a manner that honors yourself. With every choice — every thought, word, and action — your life unfolds, and you are one step closer to experiencing yourself as Light and Love. Your thoughts are the seeds from which positive or negative experiences grow. Your words put forth energy that either brings out the best or the worst in yourself and others. The actions you take either move you closer to feeling good or to feeling bad — to enjoying life or to continuing to slather yourself with pain and misery. So what do you choose and are you worth it?