Tuesday, March 16, 2010

...but what if...?


"The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life.

That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ, all these are undoubtedly great virtues.  What I do unto the least of my brethren, I do to Christ.

But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, the very enemy himself are all within me - and that I am the one most in need of the alms of my own kindness - that I am the enemy who must be loved - what then?"

~Carl Jung


(Photographs by Bonnie Zieman, 2009)


25 comments:

  1. I think Jung is saying we are One. As does the Bible teach we are One. What we do to our enemy, we do to ourselves. It is only now that science is catching up to these meanings. An exciting time.

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  2. bonnie - what a photograph! what a question! thankyou. steven

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  3. "But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, the very enemy himself are all within me - and that I am the one most in need of the alms of my own kindness - that I am the enemy who must be loved - what then?"

    You fix what's broken, and you learn to accept the parts that can't be fixed.

    19 years ago I learned self-acceptance as part of the recovery process. You learn a whole lot about yourself when you hit rock bottom, and you learn even more when you rebuild yourself from the ground up. When you tear down the walls and allow yourself to see all the ugliness inside, it can be a pretty repulsive sight - but it can also be a great motivator for change. I'm pretty okay with how I turned out in the end.

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  4. Not only the acceptance but also the ability first to see oneself for who one is and be untruthful - if necessary - only to others, never to oneself.
    Which is more or less what Jung is saying.
    Once I know who I am, and even if I am the least and worst of all, then I must never lose sight of that me, must be true to that me, must love that me, or I will never know how to love at all.

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  5. Hi Nancy: Yes - but before we can ever know that oneness we have to end the war inside - by learning to forgive, love and accept ourselves. Otherwise we will project all that we find unworthy, unlovable, foreign, undesirable in ourselves onto the world around us.

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  6. Hey Steven: Glad you like the photograph - I am starting to do a little photoshop work, and like some of the results (not all unfortunately!).

    I think Jung's question is vital and that we all need to look deeply to see if we truly accept and love ourselves. We will never create peace on the planet until we know true peace and love within. I know you believe that too.

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  7. Hey Jeff: It is harrowing, but rewarding work isn't it? It is shocking how much contempt individuals hold for themself.

    As you say - take inventory, correct what you can and offer love and compassion to your flawed self as you would a wayward and wounded child.

    You must be a lot older than you look, Jeff!! Nineteen years of sobriety ... you look like you are 29! I guess that's what loving yourself can do - make you look young ... :)

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  8. Hi Friko: That's really it, isn't it. If we can't truly love ourself, warts and all - we cannot know how to truly love another. We can feel adoration, lust, dependence, need, admiration - but we don't really know how to love another imperfect human being until we love the one we live in.

    There's a certain quiet ease and comfort that a person who has acquired self-acceptance exudes. Perhaps self-love is the opposite of dis-ease. Or the really dis-ease is self-hate.

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  9. Hey Peeps: I see I am trying to type too fast and making a lott of grimmaticel and speling erors! Forgive me. But I love myself anyway! :)

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  10. that was amazing...and so true...

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  11. Jung's question is THE question we have to ask if we're stuck in whining about how burdensome others are. We see ourselves in others and don't like what we see. The world is a mirror we are constantly dreaming it into being. Let's heal ourselves. (I don't like all my Photoshop efforts either, but that's a great image. It speaks to my mind, but touches my heart with gentleness.)

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  12. Wise council Bonnie. Acceptance of this concept can be very freeing for living and understanding life.

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  13. what a powerful message bonnie!
    and i have learned so much from the other comments too. self-acceptance has always been a struggle for me but i am learning how crucial it is to forgive oneself.
    thanks as usual for your wisdom. :)
    and gorgeous photo btw!

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  14. Wonderful post. I love the picture and text just as much as each other :)

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  15. Then I must feed, forgive, and love myself as well. For the only way to save others is to be securely in the lifeboat. You can't push somebody into a lifeboat.

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  16. Meri: Yes, let's sort out our inner world and learn to love it and see how THAT mirrors out into the world beyond.

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  17. Gary: It is freeing to develop self-acceptance. Thank you Gary.

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  18. zuppaartista: The comments are so helpful and insightful. Those who don't read the other comments miss out on SO much!! Thank you!

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  19. EB: I'm glad the post pleases you. Thanks for dropping by - and do come again!

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  20. I have just written a post about forgiving our mothers - if we can`t forgive and be generous and joyful, how can we live at all? The older I get, the more I understand all this. Once you have fully accepted yourself, you can`t hate your neighbour. Nice post, Bonnie.

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  21. I have learned to accept myself by learning to accept all. What one does to the least of us, one does to the greatest of us. We are all one. We are individually facets of the same stone. If I find the best worthy of love then I must by rights find the least worthy of love, including myself. Gotta love theory. Acceptance of self is difficult and freeing all at once. At least, that's been my experience.

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  22. Lovely post. I find it is usually easier to extend compassion to others... yet I can be absolutely brutal to myself at times! Thank God I am learning to be more aware when I am not compassionate & loving toward myself! This takes effort! I think of an analogy by Thich Nhat Hanh of imagining yourself as a 5 year old child. You would not be cruel to that child... and that child really is you...

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  23. Treating ourselves with the same respect and forgiveness we treat others is the beginning of self respect.

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