My wife and I have been looking at preschool programs for our young son. A family friend told us of a new, home-based preschool called the Sovereignty School for Love. I really love the name of this school. It encapsulates so much. In one respect, perfecting our understanding of sovereignty and love is what life is all about. Certainly, these are the main aims of both psychotherapy and spiritual practice. So let’s explore.
Sovereignty. At first blush, it is tempting to imagine that sovereignty is about dominion or control over property, animals, other people, etc. It’s a big word with a lot of baggage. However, attaining one’s sovereignty, from a psychological perspective means taking ownership of one’s space while taking responsibility for one’s actions and one’s work in the world. To take over your space, means to take the sovereign’s seat inside yourself. You must become the king or queen of your own world and not abdicate the throne to another. It’s a very simple idea, but one that is easy to overlook or take for granted. As the royal sovereign of your life, you must learn how to attend to your own kingdom, not do the work of another. You tend your own garden. This is a kind of existential freedom and responsibility that breeds a sense of empowerment and strength.
People often come to therapy with boundary issues. They don’t know how to set limits with other people. They have lost the ability to clearly state what they need and want in their relationships. They no longer know how to care for themselves or where to even start. They don’t know what their work is in the world. They feel disempowered in their interactions with others. They are easily fatigued, anxious, irritable, and depleted. So their work is to learn to say “no” to others and build themselves up again so they can “source life from its presence” and feel the dignity and grace of the sovereign’s position.
Alongside the work of regaining sovereignty, runs a river of Love. In a very basic way, you must work to improve your capacity to love another and receive love yourself. This means improving your relationships by improving your communication and being kinder to yourself and others. It might mean forgiving someone or burying the hatchet in order to take down an energetic wall of protection that stops the flow of lovingkindness. At the heart of the matter is the desire to become a softer, more accepting person who learns to become a truly friendly to self and other.
At the spiritual level, the work expands even more. Claiming one’s sovereignty is about finding pride and dignity in one’s true nature, in the Absolute or divine dimension of one’s being. It’s standing in the deathless, immutable, diamond-like perfection at the heart of each being; recognizing and living from one’s Buddha nature. At this level, Love expands in all directions and becomes unconditional. It’s just like the sun. The sun warms and enlightens the earth, never asking for thanks or compensation. In just this way, the heart expands and perfect, impersonal love flows in and through oneself, one’s activities and environment, and out to all beings regardless of category or group affiliation. Even those we hate or dislike, we see they are at core people who suffer just like we do and who are caught in a web of misapprehension, fear, and limited perception. We all make mistakes and we all want to be free and happy.
Sovereignty and love go hand in hand like a king and queen. As we grow in psychological and spiritual understanding, and as our actions clear up and become kinder, we delight in having met the real purpose of life. We are able to stand in the everyday sanity of being human and extend ourselves to others. Our relationships improve and we have a clearer idea of why we exist on this strange planet. We learn to be more intuitive and make positive choices. We learn to delight in living. We become joy.