I just came across the following words of Swami Dayananda’s on “Assimilating Vedanta”. They touched me and thought I would share.
Vedanta doesn’t work unless you love yourself. And unless you clear the kañäya, the unconscious inhibitions, which denies self love so you loathe yourself, you can’t love yourself. Therefore, you start with self care. Self care begins with what one considers their self to be. One woman asked me for products for the skin containing natural ingredients. For her, self care starts with skin care. Then, you go to health care, then yoga, then mental health care through therapy etc., then “ätmä vä are dåñtavyaù çrotavyaù mantavyaù nididhyäsitavyaù maitreyé.” The self, my dear Maitreyé, should indeed be known – should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. I work with the most beloved, the self, ätmä!
First care for yourself, and then you will understand yourself. Self care is equal to self love. Self love is as good as you have love for others. Running away from the world will not work. The more you run away from the world, the more you run away from yourself. Swami Chinmayanandaji once told me, “The more you want to run away, the more you need to be here.” He said this thinking of what was good for me, not because he wanted me to do some work. He didn’t put his self interest in advising others. Never. It took years for me to understand that and I worked and worked. I never stopped.