Yesterday I continued with the theme of love. After some experimenting in the morning, a line from the Text popped into my mind: “As self-value comes from self-extension, so does the perception of self-value come from the extension of loving thoughts outward.” This line has always struck me. It says that, in Heaven, our value actually comes from the extension of our being in the act of creation. As a reflection of that here on earth, our perception of having value comes from our extension of loving thoughts to others.
So I chose as my lesson, “The perception of my value comes from the extension of loving thoughts outward.” As I practiced this lesson yesterday, it carried with it an immediate and deep ring of truth. When I repeated it, I could immediately feel the connection. It was intuitively obvious. I thought, “Of course I feel valuable according to how much I extend loving thoughts to others.”
This is based on a deep truth that I think governs all of our minds, but which I’ve personally never heard voiced (I want to write about it someday). That truth is that we see the nature of the part as equal to its disposition toward and effect on the whole–in other words, how it relates to the whole. For example, Hitler had a very negative disposition toward and effect on the whole. As a result, we see him as an evil person. Jesus had an extremely positive disposition toward and effect on the whole. As a result, we see him as a holy person. The nature of the part is the same as how it relates to the whole.
Yesterday, as I recognized that my perception of my value comes from extending loving thoughts, that recognition would quite naturally motivate me to have loving thoughts. I would feel instantly sunnier towards whoever I was with. This kinder, more constructive me, which had been off napping, would naturally come out. And as it did, I would feel my perception of my value rise instantly and in exact proportion. It felt as lawful as causing a balloon to rise by putting helium in it.
I reflected that maybe great saints don’t need this kind of motivation to have loving thoughts. Maybe they can love simply because it is the right thing to do. But for those of us who aren’t saints, we do need this kind of motivation. We need it hammered into our heads, repeatedly, endlessly, that loving others is what causes us to value ourselves. Without that equation we are not going to love, at least not very much, which is why those great saints are so few and far between.
Another thing this lesson did for me was to make it obvious that I normally equate valuing myself with things besides loving others. I see valuing myself as a more solitary affair, something that is pursued either without regard for others or in direct competition with others. And both of these, of course, are directly at odds with “the extension of loving thoughts outward.” I saw that I’ve been following a different lesson, something like, “The perception of my value comes from things that naturally compromise the extension of loving thoughts outward.”
It was such a powerful lesson that I am continuing it today.