Within the past few years I have noticed a regular inner sensation, often while walking or driving, of immense joy and lightness. It is not caused by my thoughts or moods--in fact, it's most noticable when I'm feeling a bit grouchy. Suddenly I feel this overwhelming freedom and peace coming from my belly. If it had words it would say something like: Here I am. I'm me. And I have goodness. I also feel very strong, very confident.
At the same time I'm very aware that I'm not a particularly responsible or moral person, that is to say, it's not a feeling of success, achievement. It's more like contentment, being OK with myself in a profound way.
Perhaps due to my current work, I'm also feeling like I'm waking up or touching some deep energy of Care. My work requires me to care a lot about people and I find that I really love that. And I'm discovering that I have deep reserves of love within me. Perhaps what I'm learning is how to trust myself to give love--believing that I am good and that others need that goodness. (The two Big Lies being: I am not good. Nobody needs me.)
This past week I had to apologize to a friend for something I did. And I said, "It was a stupid thing to do and I'm sorry." At that moment I felt both embarassed and proud of myself. In the past I would've beat myself up and gone on endlessly about how rotten I am. Straight to the bottom. Banishing myself. Or else confessed my petty crimes to God in torment. Or eaten myself to a stomach ache with junk food.
I am not great. But maturing means standing up and owning your 'not-greatness.' In Rinzai Zen they recommend meditating with a look as if you are staring down your worst enemy. And then sit. And sit, sit, sit...