Ram Dass: How can we accept ourselves more?

Artwork: "Being", Agnes Pelton, 1926 (source)
"Instead of the term, "How can we love ourselves more?",  I'd like to ask, "How can we accept ourselves more?"" ~ Ram Dass
"The parent is under pressure... to make the child socially functional...[the] result is that when that starts very early... the child develops certain emotional feelings, that certain ways it is, in its natural state, are not acceptable... feelings of unworthiness, or inadequacy... [happen] in most human beings, as a result of socialization."
"And often what you end up with, is a personality... that's constantly looking to the world and other people: do you approve of me? do you like me? am I good enough? am I acceptable to you? ...have I achieved enough?  ...so that you're constantly using your life experiences, as a way, to disprove a basic negative feeling about yourself."
"...Let's go behind love and hate, and find a place, where we merely acknowledge ourselves. Where we just allow our humanity. And we hear that there is negativity in us, and there is inadequacy, and we allow ourselves." 
"...[If] you go out into the woods, and into the forests, and you look at trees and you appreciate the trees. You don't say, that tree is good, and that tree is bad, because one tree is fat... you just look at the trees, and you appreciate them the way they are... but the minute you get near humans... you immediately go into a judging mode..." 
"I had always assumed the way to God, was to deny your humanity, and embrace your divinity. And then I realized, that the way to truth might be through acknowledging the fullness of where I found myself to be. Which was my humanity and my divinity." ~ Ram Dass
"...As I started to allow myself to be human more, just allowed what I am, things changed much faster in me. ...Things fell away more quickly. It was as if, 
I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity, that dislike of myself, and once I just allowed that I am human, with all the foibles, things started to flow and I could feel change occurring in myself."
"And then I would start to experience my own beauty. And it frightened me because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years that I had to do good in order to be beautiful."
"...the idea that I just am ...when you look at a tree or a rock or a river, it is in its own way beautiful. You look at decay, it is beautiful."
"And I've begun to expand my awareness to be able to look at the universe as it is and see what is called the horrible beauty of it."
"The horrible beauty of it."
"...There's horror and beauty in all of it cause there's decay in all of it. ...We're all decaying. I look at my hand and it's decaying and it's beautiful and horrible at the same moment. ...I just live with that
and with that I start to see the beauty in it." ~ Ram Dass
How to Love Yourself
Ram Dass
11m
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC3pSt70_Jw

Ram Dass Foundation
https://www.ramdass.org/
"Instead of the term, "How can we love ourselves more?", 
I'd like to ask, "How can we accept ourselves more?"

That in the way most of us have been socialized, 
the way in which a child gets, 
learns, the initial learning, 
is that, the parent is under pressure to socialize the child, 
to make the child socially functional

And in doing that, they emotionally, 
whether they intend to or not,
reward and punish the child for behaviors

And the result is that when that starts very early,
before there is a lot of reasoning process,
between the parent and the child,
the child develops certain emotional feelings,
that certain ways it is, in its natural state, 
are not acceptable

And the result is, some feelings of
unworthiness,
or inadequacy,
or something,
in most human beings,
as a result of socialization

Very few people ever come through socialization,
unscathed,
in some way or other

I mean, that's not an unfair statement, 
I don't think

So in a way,
you could see that ego or personality,
is in a way, 
built upon,
and that's where Freud understood it,
he saw that,
the repression of Id or impulse life,
because of the way the society has to deal with a child's impulses, 
to get it to be socialized, 
usually is left with a feeling that 

Somehow, I'm bad
I have these things that are not acceptable

And so then you build this social structure,
and often what you end up with,
is a personality that says, 
that's constantly looking to the world and other people,
do you approve of me?
do you like me?
am I good enough?
am I acceptable to you?

And have I achieved enough?
and you get an 'A' for effort
and you feel good.

And if you don't get the 'A',
it's not like you feel nothing,
you feel bad.

And it's as if the baseline is negative, not zero.
Do you hear the issue that I'm talking about?

Now, so that you're constantly using your life experiences,
as a way,
to disprove a basic negative feeling about yourself

That's a very, very common thing in social structure,
and in human development,
in ego development.

Now, so, most, many psychological systems,
like Freud's system for example,
works primarily with negative going to zero,
that's the domain that you work with

Right behind that is where the spiritual dimension begins.
And that's a part that looks at the universe,
and just sees it as it is.

It doesn't,
see the, 
when you've got a negative thing,
the opposite,
when you're trying to undo it,
you could undo it by emphasizing the positive.

Like if you don't like yourself,
you could emphasize,
"I love myself",
Which is "How do we love ourselves more?",
is the question.

Or we could say,
let's go behind love and hate,
and find a place,
where we merely acknowledge ourselves,
where we just allow our humanity,
and we hear that there is negativity in us,
and there is inadequacy,
and we allow ourselves.

And the word that I have come up with,
I mean, that I'm finding most comfortable to work with,
is the word,
appreciation.

That we could just appreciate,
what is.

It's interesting, 
the way I've looked at,
is that you go out into the woods,
and into the forests,
and you look at trees
and you appreciate the trees

You don't say,
that tree is good,
and that tree is bad,
because one tree is fat,
and one is thin,
or one is tall,
or one is short,
or one is bent,
and one is straight,

(unless you're in the lumber business)

for the most part,
you just look at the trees,
and you appreciate them the way they are
they are, what they are
and you can appreciate them

but the minute you get near humans,
it's interesting,
that you immediately go into a judging mode,
you come into better and worse,
and you do that out of your own insecurity,
you do that out of your own need constantly to be reassuring yourself

so you're saying,
that person is, got more than hair than I do
or that person is, is
see, that's the one I picked, so
I wonder why?

that or, or you go into,
you find dimensions
constantly judging and equating
am I as good as?
am I equal to?
am I as a good a mother?
am I as beautiful a women?
am I as effective a this, a worker?
whatever it is, 
whatever dimension
and you get in caught constantly living in a judging realm

and,
if you start to practice seeing people as trees

I don't mean in the
you know
in the since of just appreciating what they are
including yourself
and just starting to appreciate yourself
appreciate your humanity

like when I get
like I'm supposed to be
I'm Ram Dass
and I've worked on myself
I'm supposed to be
equanimous, 
loving, 
present, 
clear, 
compassionate, 
accepting
often times I get tired, 
I'm angry, 
I'm petulant,
I'm closed down

now for a long time, 
I would get into those states
and I would feel really embarrassed
because that isn't who Ram Dass is supposed to be

so, I would appear like I was warm, charming, equanimous, compassionate
and I, there was deviousness and deception involved
and then I realized,
that that is, that's bad business
because that cuts off from each other

and I had to risk my truth
I had to risk being human with other people
and realize, that what we offer each other
is our truth
and our truth includes all of our stuff

and the first thing I had to do,
was accept my own truth
I had to allow myself to be a human being

and,
I think that,
I was very helped by my spook friend Emanuel,
who,
my disembodied friend who, 
when I said to him, "Emanuel, what am I doing on Earth?"
he said, 
"why don't you try, 
you're on Earth, 
why don't you try taking the curriculum?
why don't you try being human?"

and,
I had always assumed the way to God,
was to deny your humanity,
and embrace your divinity

And then I realized,
That the way to truth might be through acknowledging the fullness of where I found myself to be
Which was my humanity and my divinity

And not wallow in it but acknowledge it
And not reverence it or judge it
Just appreciate it
Just allow it
Allow my humanity

So I have gotten to the point now 
Where I am what I am much more
and some people like it
and some people don't like it
and if they like it, that's their problem
and if they don't like it, that's their problem
I don't take it all on myself, 
as much

And, 
well, it's a slow process,
it's a slow process

Now what I found was, that,
that, 
as I started to allow myself to be human more,
just allowed what I am
things changed much faster in me
I mean, things fell away more quickly
it was as if, 
I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity
that dislike of myself
and once I just allowed that I am human with all the foibles
things started to flow 
and I could feel change occurring in myself

and then I would start to experience my own beauty

and it frightened me
because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years
that I had to do good in order to be beautiful

and the idea that I just am

that what is,
when you look at a tree or a rock or a river,
it is in its own way beautiful
you look at decay, it is beautiful

I know Laura Huxley, who is very dear friend
in her kitchen,
she has these jars over the sink
and she takes old beet greens and orange peels and things
and sticks them in water
in these long, beautiful pharmaceutical jars
and then they slowly mold and decay
and there are these beautiful decay formations and mold
and it's really garbage

it's garbage as art

and we look at it
and it's absolutely beautiful
there's absolute beauty in that

and I've begun to expand my awareness
to be able to 
look at the universe as it is
and see what is called
the horrible beauty of it

the horrible beauty of it

it's, I mean, there's horror and beauty in all of it
cause there's decay in all of it,
I mean, we're all decaying

I mean, I look at my hand and it's decaying
and it's beautiful and horrible at the same moment
and I just live with that
and with that I start to see the beauty in it

So we're talking about appreciating what is
not loving yourself,
as opposed to not liking yourself,
but allowing yourself

and as you allow,
it changes

that's about,
I think that gets behind the polarities
I think that's what important"
 ~ Ram Dass

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