There are qualities of Divine Self-care that help us live that way of life. I’ve written about the differences between little s and capital s selfcare in previous posts which included touched upon those qualities. Though capital S Self-care is not something we ourselves do but, rather, a mysterious process to which we submit, the following terms point us into a space that allows us to soften to the process without egoic anxiety or confusion. Think of one’s self as a tea bag and these qualities as the hot water in which one steeps for the sake of healing and wholeness.
A Closer Look at the Qualities of Divine Self-care
Now let’s spend a little bit of time covering each of these qualities in more detail. Although, as symbols, they remain in essence quite beyond the definitions used to describe them, it is still helpful to have a common understanding of them, and we can get a little closer and clearer to the energy they transmit and the potentials they offer us by defining them.
Co meaning together and passion meaning a powerful emotion, compassion is defined as a deep awareness and understanding of the suffering of others or the ability to feel with them. Indeed, understanding our collective suffering, as well as individual suffering, is what softens the heart center. Compassion allows us to forgive ourselves and each other. Lacking compassion, we become hard and unyielding. We become fixated and fearful, though often in denial of both. More importantly, we remain ignorant of the one understanding that can begin to ease our suffering–the recognition that we are all connected and that the suffering of one becomes the suffering of all.
Trust is defined as confidence in the truth and is associated with fidelity and loyalty. Divine Me Time upholds that we are not just connected with all beings, but that we are also one with God. Therefore, our thoughts and actions reflect our confidence, or trust, in that even if we don’t fully grock the power of its full meaning. We remain loyal to that truth even when the illusions of life (the maya) test that trust, even if we cannot wholly define that truth with mere words. The simple fact is, our egoic intelligence will never be great enough to comprehend the mysteries of existence, no matter how hard we may try and no matter how much effort we put into convincing ourselves otherwise. We have no choice but to trust that a greater intelligence is at play.
Usually associated with religion, faith is quite simply belief, usually in the absence of concrete proof. So really, the word can be applied to any aspect of our thinking. If we believe the thoughts we think, we have faith in them, quite often to our detriment. Faith is a powerful thing. Think of the placebo effect and how people are actually cured of ailments with a sugar pill. That’s the power of the mind that we must harness but in a way that serves our highest self.
Unfortunately, so much of our faith is trapped within our conditioned mind. We believe in the stories our parents fed us, that we were naughty children, or failures. We believe things that others tell us and doubt our own senses and experience.
In the Bible, Jesus is quoted as having said, “Your faith has healed you” to a woman who touched his cloak in an effort to be cured of her illness. This is a very pure teaching regardless of your religious beliefs. Faith alone does indeed have that power. What we believe, free from doubt, can move mountains. There is another aspect to faith in regards to duty. In practicing Self-care, we have promised to be faithful to that Self.
Ah, this word. It gets such a bad rap. The Western mind especially abhors the idea of ‘giving up the fight’. But the original meaning of surrender is “to give one’s self up” and that is exactly what is required for Self-care. We must give up the little s self and deliver it into the hands of the capital S Self. We “grant back” to God what is God’s. We “abandonner” or release our need to control, to be right, to understand, and to be important, and we let a higher power orchestrate our lives. Surrender is release, a letting go of the struggle, and a melting into acceptance.
When we bear the uncomfortable without complaint, we are exercising patience. The path of healing can be a long and challenging one that tests our patience. Sometimes, it feels like we are getting nowhere. Months and even years can go by without much to show for our efforts. Patience is needed to remain steadfast. Patience can also be defined as calmly awaiting an outcome.
But with Self-care it is important to release our hopes for outcomes and instead focus on attention on learning to clearly see and accept what is. We must be prepared to wait an eternity for change to come. Fortunately and paradoxically, it doesn’t usually take that long once we are willing. But in the meantime, our next quality comes to the rescue.
Though it is usually used in regard to religious feeling, relationships, or even man’s best friend, my preferred meaning is “awe and reverence”. While it helps to have an object of that devotion…some God figure or guru…one can also simply be devoted to Truth or Beauty (and even, quite unfortunately Money or Power). And in so being, that devotion drives all efforts in life towards that energy. There is a sense of doing anything and everything for the object of our devotion.
In fact, devotion is the fuel of every other quality above. It makes compassion, trust, faith, surrender and patience possible. We devote without ever expecting anything in return. The gaping lack of and misdirected devotion in this world will be our downfall if humanity cannot return to a state of awe and reverence for the mystical because a life without it is unthinkably dry and devoid of meaning.
Neither Good Nor Bad
It is important to note that despite the positive associations we usually have with each of these words, it is our thoughts and actions around them that make them helpful or detrimental to Self-care. Every single quality can be adulterated and twisted by the ego into something quite different than what is represented by the symbols in their purest form. For example, compassion can turn into pity. Trust can turn into willful ignorance. Faith can become blind. Surrender can become helplessness. Patience can become procrastination. And devotion can lead to a fanaticism.
Can you see how these qualities are able to help us release the things that keep us trapped in our fearful, restrictive, egoic identity? If it isn’t clear yet, I’ll write about that another time.