Paul has invited me to post on his blog. I am one of his teachers and focus on spiritual work and healing work through Shamanic practice. I think that every spiritual practice which has true power will connect you more deeply with yourself. But in this, I am not talking about focusing on yourself in an ego way.

The ego is your sense of separation from other people. It has a wonderful gift to give you, in that you get to experience yourself as an individual. The deeper truth is that we are much more interconnected than that. So when you make a deeper connection with yourself, you also connect more deeply with the world.

I’ve been reading a remarkable book by Erich Fromm called The Art of Loving. He points out that we call many things love, which are not love. Love, when real, should always bring us in to loving more than the object of our love. So, for instance, by learning to truly love my spouse I will also feel love for other people and for other things in my world. That is because love is about connectedness, rather than isolation. Love is not love, if it’s not inclusive. Therefore, if I do not also love myself, then what I am feeling is not love.

In one of his many excellent explanations, he says:

“If I perceive in another person mainly the surface, I mainly perceive the differences, that which separates us. If I penetrate to the core, I perceive our identity, the fact of our brotherhood. This relatedness from center to center-instead of that from periphery to periphery-is “central relatedness.”

I agree that true relatedness is about relating center-to-center with something else or to someone else. That is why self growth and understanding becomes so important. If you cannot know and find your own center, it becomes that much harder to live a life of center relatedness. As a shamanic practitioner, I find that this is a continual learning experience. There is always a deeper layer to explore within myself. There are always new places of disconnection that need healing. But each layer that I develop opens me more fully to the beauty of the world around me. (Even if the deepening process can be unpleasant some of the time!)

Many good wishes to you the reader. I hope you are enjoying Paul’s wisdom. I also write my own articles at http://www.earthbliss.com.

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