Before we fall asleep is such a sensitive time.
That is why I find it such a special time to tell my kids that I love them.
Here is what I say:
I love you all the time. I love you when I’m yelling at you. I love you when you’re crying. I love you when you’re fighting with your sibling and I love you when you’re saying ‘no’ to me. There is never a moment that I don’t love you and there is nothing you could do that would ever cause me to stop loving you.
Today at lunch, I accidentally spilled hot soup on my daughter’s head. She cried in pain. I hugged her and comforted her.
She said to me, “You love me all the time. You love me when I’m fighting with my brother you love me when I’m crying you will never stop loving me.”
If you haven’t tried the unconditional love lullaby yet then it’s time to start. Say it to your children, say it to your friends, say it to your spouse and especially say it to yourself.
If it feels uncomfortable then say it.
If it hurts your heart then say it.
These are just the signs that the unconditional love lullaby is touching those vulnerable spots we feel so close to.
There is a famous urban Buddhist myth about a conference of Western Buddhist teachers meeting with the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama suddenly stops and asks his translators to explain to him what the term self-hate means. It takes about 10 minutes for the Tibetan translators to find the words to explain what self-hate means to the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama then turns to the audience of Western Buddhist teachers and asks, “Do the people you work with experience this self-hate you are talking about?” The entire audience nods in agreement.
Then the Dalai Lama asks, “Do you experience this self-hate you are talking about?” The teachers all nod that they do. The Dalai Lama then looks at his audience and says,
“But all beings are so precious.”
We need to be aware of the times when conditional love has taken over. Conditional love sounds like, “I am only good if I accomplish 30 things today and get my PHD before I am 30 years old and have at least two million dollars in my bank account.”
These are the times each of us can imagine the Dalai Lama with tears sparkling in his eyes speaking these words of sanity,
“All beings are so precious.”
If you are like me and hear that message that all being are so precious and assume it excludes you. If you see yourself as that one being on the planet who is not precious then you need this exercise more then ever.
For you I recommend imagining the Dalai Lama wearing a large foam finger, like those ones people wear at sports games, and have him pointing directly at you saying, “This Means You.”
Children learn by example and seeing their parents love themselves is the only way they will really learn in turn to love themselves.
To break this cycle of conditioned love and habitual self-hate, we all need to start singing the unconditional love lullaby and not only at bedtime.
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Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman