From Toleration to Embrace

by Alan Cohen

This article was first published in Celestial Voyage Magazine 'Summer of '96 issue'.

Love is the greatest healer. I heard about a woman who is performing miracles with Anorexic and Bulimic patients. This woman takes emaciated fifty pound women out of the hospital and brings them to her home, where she holds them, cradles them, rocks them, looks into their tired eyes, and tells them "I love you ... I want you to live ... I believe in you."

She has had a remarkable success rate, far beyond any medical or psychotherapeutic modality. She has cut past all intellectual models and belief systems, and gone to the core of our existence: the giving and receiving of love. Eating disorders provide a very clear metaphor for our fear or unwillingness to receive love. All illness stems from a blockage in the flow of love, the true food of our soul. Not accepting love may express itself as a difficulty in receiving physical nourishment.

After I explained this principle at a workshop, a woman with Bulimia approached me, took my hand, and said, "Thank you - that is just what I needed to hear. Now I understand the core of my problem; now I have a tool to heal it."

True love begins with self-acceptance, which opens the door to self-celebration. At a retreat centre I met a psychotherapist who focuses on 'feelings' therapy. "I try to get my patients to accept and appreciate all their feelings," Leonard told me. "I teach them that there is no such thing as a bad feeling; anger, fear, and sadness all bring us valuable opportunities to awaken and grow. We must embrace all that we are and experience."

Later I overheard another man telling someone about Leonard's work. "I met a therapist this morning who does feeling therapy. He says we should tolerate ourselves.”

Tolerate? I hadn't heard Leonard say anything about tolerating ourselves. When I think of toleration, I picture forcing myself to put up with something that is obnoxious and abhorrent; just tolerate it for awhile, and hope that it goes away soon. God help anyone who tolerates him or herself, for that defines our self as something repulsive. If you're just tolerating yourself, you don't know who you are.

Our real need is to embrace ourselves, to rejoice in what we are and magnify it to the highest degree. Let us not define any part of ourself as dark or evil. Walt Whitman boldly declared, "Welcome is every organ and attribute of me ... not an inch or a particle of an inch is vile, and one shall not be less familiar than the rest." I came across a magnificent soliloquy from the Arthur Miller play, After the Fall. A character tells, "I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw that it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept into my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent over the broken face, and it was horrible ... but I kissed it. I think that one must finally take one's life into one's arms."

There comes a point where each of us must finally take our life in our arms. We do not need any more force, pressure, threats, or intimidation. Children do not respond well to military tactics, and our inner children will not grow in the presence of attack. But they do flourish in the midst of kindness, tenderness, and caring. Do not say anything to yourself or about yourself that you would not say about a precious child with whose happiness you were entrusted.

I remember dropping a juice bottle in my kitchen and hearing myself say out loud, "You clumsy jerk," as it broke. I was stunned. I would never say that to a child, so why would I say it to myself? That experience reminded me how important it is to bless myself even when I do not look or feel blessable.

Emmett Fox proclaimed that there is no problem that love cannot heal. If everything else you have tried is not working, try love. Before taking any further action, sit down and enfold yourself in a mantle of tender caring, and then radiate the same to all parties concerned. You will work miracles this way. Because love is our true nature, everything in the universe must respond to love.

Anatole France advised, "Make love now, by night and by day, in winter and in summer... You are in the world for that and the rest of life is nothing but vanity, illusion, waste. There is only one science, love, one riches, love, only one policy, love. To make love is all the law and the prophets."

We have studied and experimented with many 'laws', but they are not truly laws unless they work consistently, in all situations. Love is the law behind all others. It is our greatest, and only friend.

Alan Cohen is the author of the bestselling The Dragon Doesn't Live Here Anymore. To request a free catalogue of Alan's books, tapes and workshop schedule, write to Hay House, Post Office Box 5I00, Carisbad, CA, USA 920I8-5I00 or call USA 6I9 - 43I - 7695.

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