is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in the Sierra foothills and a psychology instructor at a local community college. He has facilitated personal-growth workshops throughout California for the past 30 years.
Gratefulness is the key to joy. Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.
-Brother David Steindl-Rast
Many ancient wisdom traditions refer to the natural state of the human psyche as joy, peace, and love. The Greek word psyche means soul, and the essence of the soul is love. Yet, simply by living in a world of uncertainty, we all have experienced some wounding of the heart, which causes us to retract our love to protect against further hurt.
The heart has reasons which reason knows nothing of.
We commonly hear the axiom, Love is letting go of fear. There is, however, another possibility: Love means loving ourselves even when we are afraid. This applies to all so-called negative emotions: fear, anger, doubt, jealousy, and so on. We simply cannot be who we are not. Accepting who we are allows healing to begin. Judging ourselves, we lose sight of the deeper message our feelings bring to us, reinforcing the very negativity we are attempting to dissolve.