Did you know that there are three gates you need to pass to reach enlightenment? These three gates lead from one to the other. Would you like to know what they are?
1. Love yourself.
Loving yourself is the most basic thing, though many of us are focusing on the world around us so much that we forget to give ourselves the love that we need. When we love ourselves, loneliness disappears. People who are not able to love themselves cannot love others, either. And people who are not happy are unable to give happiness to others. People who have no peace inside are not able to share peace. All of these things are not things that you learn. But so many people have lost or forgotten these basic things in their lives.
There are many self-help books and techniques available that teach us how to love ourselves; but really we can do it by simply feeling our body. Why don’t you try it? If you think about it, whenever we want to know something better, we first reach out with our hands. With your hands, touch your body—your arms, your legs, your shoulders, your feet. Focus on the sensations in your body. The moment that you really feel your body, all extraneous thought is put on hold. While you have all these scattered thoughts, you cannot fully feel your body. By being attentive to your body, you can really get to know your body as a first step to getting to know yourself.
Another way of saying, “Feel your body,” is, “Feel your life.” Feel the life that flows inside you by quieting your thoughts and focusing on your real physical presence. If you feel yourself, from there you can feel peace, happiness, and gratitude. Meeting yourself this way is a really great and true method of meditation. Try doing it twice a day, every day, for at least five minutes, and take the time to express love for yourself.
2. Value yourself.
Your value is not based on a grade you get in school or how you are evaluated by the world around you. Your value is the worth you recognize inside yourself. If you cannot acknowledge your own worth, and always rely on other people’s evaluation, you tend to be nervous and anxious, and you may feel very small. But before you can value yourself, you need to love, acknowledge, and accept yourself. That is why it’s the second gate. Tell yourself, “I am me. I am me,” and know that you are precious. Once you discover your own value, you’ll want to put it into practice, and that’s when it’s time to go through the third gate.
3. Trust yourself.
Once you recognize and accept your own value, you can develop trust in yourself, and then you’ll always have something called hope. And that’s what enables you to concentrate and develop creative power. If you can’t trust yourself, if you can’t believe in yourself, and you can’t respect yourself, how would you be able to concentrate on what you’re doing? But if you trust yourself, you can focus on what you do with joy and excitement. Then naturally you will be successful and you can create the life you want. You can generate peace, abundance, and caring in your life and in the world. But it all starts with the kind of relationship you build with yourself. When you love yourself, and value yourself, and trust yourself, you can design a new future for your own life. And that’s when you can say, “My life is mine.” That’s when you can be the master of your life. And that is enlightenment.