Download PDF here: “Through Self-love to Wisdom”

Through Self-Love to Wisdom

An Article by Carsten Dohnke.

Compiled and revised by Chiara Martini.

The introduction to Gerald Hüter’s recently published book “Lovelessness makes you sick” (Original title: “Lieblosigkeit macht krank”, Herder Publishing 2021) begins with the following words: “We do not become ill because something illness-inducing invades us from the outside. The reason so many people get sick is because they mistake the thing that makes them sick for something that is supposed to make them happy. To realize these beliefs, so many are willing, and unfortunately have learned all too well, to be completely unloving with themselves and with others. In their quest for recognition, success, wealth and possessions most people have become loveless. Others have been especially concerned with controlling and optimizing everything in life, often even themselves. This, too, has made them loveless. Some desire to be needed by others, to be protected and cared for by them. But it is not loving to hand over responsibility for ourselves to others.” According to Hüter, treating ourselves lovingly, on the other hand, not only strengthens our immune system and our self-healing powers, but also makes us healthier and happier.

Achieving a healthy form of self-love is a major topic these days. However, what self-love truly is and what significance it has for our development is not always understood. When I talk about self-love, I do not mean a narcissistic self-love. It’s not about patting yourself on the back for everything you do, hanging notes on your mirror about how great you are, and smiling away your dark sides. What I’m describing is a much deeper process:  

True self-love means I arrive at myself, physically and mentally. I perceive myself from the inside and increasingly accept what already is inside of me – including my shadow sides. By accepting and embracing myself as I am, a feeling of appreciation for my being and this life arises in me, and thus also a natural compassion for other living beings.

By now I have spent almost 40 years studying the wisdom teachings of this world, especially Taoism. 40 years in which I have honed my practices almost daily, be it meditation, physical exercises, energy or therapeutic work. As many know, I spent years in Asia, studying, learning martial arts from various masters, and also resided in monasteries for long periods of time. During all these years I have observed the following: It seems to be difficult for many people to genuinely accept themselves. Yet self-acceptance and self-love are the key to happiness, joy and peace in life and the basis for any deeper development process.

In this article we will take a short theoretical and even practical journey in the direction of self-acceptance and self-love. In addition to Hüter’s highly recommendable book, I would like to describe how we can create a loving interaction with ourselves, and thus also a healthy form of self-love, from the perspective of Eastern approaches, with the help of meditation and also body practices. Simultaneously, I would like to take Hüter’s approach further: I will illuminate the crucial role that self-love plays in spiritual practice and how its development can lead us to true wisdom and the unfolding of our innate potential.

Part 1: How do we function? And why are we not living in self-love?

❖ The 5 levels of being 

❖ The iceberg 

❖ Our personality 

❖ Basic energetic state

Part 2: How can I develop a loving approach to myself?  Methods for self-love and unfolding the heart. 

❖ Self-love through meditation 

❖ Self-love through physicality

❖ Western approaches. 

❖ Trauma work  

❖ Unfolding of the heart 

❖ Motivation 

Part 3: The connection between self-love, wisdom and the unfolding of one’s innate potential. 

❖ Through self-love to wisdom 

❖ Unfolding my potential 

❖ Summary

Part 1:

How do we function? And why are we not living in self-love?

The 5 levels of being 

Let’s start with the topic of who we actually are. Years ago I discovered the model of the 5 levels of being, an ancient concept used by various wisdom traditions in Asia to explain the planes of being as humans. It is incredibly helpful for understanding our existence more deeply, and thereby also allows us to comprehend which level it is currently in need of support to become healthier, heal, or evolve more deeply. In the trainings I give, we consciously go into these 5 different levels and make them a tangible experience. Targeting exactly those levels that need the most support accelerates personal development enormously.

The body 

The first level describes the physical body with its different tissues, organs, but also the hormonal system. We all feel our body as present with its solid boundary, its power, its discomforts and so on. 

The energy 

Next comes the level of energy: It is practically the life energy that circulates in our body.  It is the level of our nervous system, our meridians and our Qi, as the life energy is called in Taoism, Taiji and Qigong.  

If we look at these first two levels, we see that they are mainly responsible for processes of healing and change. If people have severe weaknesses here, energetically or physically, healing processes or deeper transformation processes cannot take place. When we go into deeper spiritual processes, it is important to have a body that has enough energy and that is vital, flowing and lively. This is more or less a prerequisite for facing the challenges of these processes, for allowing deeper experiences to land within us, and for being able to integrate them into life.

The Mental Level: Emotions, Traumas and Beliefs. 

The level of emotions goes much deeper than our energy, although it is also energy in a sense, but it is much more subliminal. It includes our everyday emotions, but more importantly, also the emotions that are buried deep in our subconscious. Emotions, as well as old injuries and traumas and associated beliefs that profoundly imprint on us, lie on this level.  

We normally do not perceive these influences clearly in everyday life, because they lie hidden behind the normal flow of energy. Nevertheless, this level influences us deeply. It is said that about 95% of what makes us who we are is not accessible to our consciousness.

For example: When I practice a yoga exercise or qigong form, I may feel good in my body (1st level) and I may also feel the flow of energy (2nd level), but I am not in contact with this deeper level of emotions (3rd level), not perceiving my old traumas and deep, hidden feelings. However, getting in touch with this level is immensely important, because it often closes our access to the higher levels. Moreover, we need to work on this level if we want to get out of old patterns, unfold our potential and heal our relationships.

The Intuitive Level 

The next level is a deep field of being, which I call the intuitive field. This field can be accessed when meditating at an advanced level. Here experiences, such as incorporeality, a connection to cosmic forces, near-death experiences, visions and much more, can take place. In this intuitive field we are also embedded in a collective field, e.g. the field of the country we live in, or issues of the ancestral lineage or family issues, which can also be resolved here. When we gain access to this level, our life and our view of reality changes profoundly. We no longer see ourselves as separate beings, but feel our connection to and support from this larger field. 


If we look even deeper, we come to the realm to which all spiritual practices ultimately converge. Here an experience of oneness and connectedness arises, the experience of non-duality.  Outside and inside become one and I feel connected to all of life. I have returned home and arrived at myself. This experience is accompanied by a deep trust in life and a feeling of timelessness. On an even more profound level, mystical experience can occur here. The basic quality of mystical experience is that the ego is completely transcended.  

For me the most exciting thing about this model is: all these 5 levels are interacting! When an opening occurs on one of the levels, this immediately stimulates more vitality and an opening on another level. This very principle enables a potentiation of our development if we start at the right time on the right level.

A simple example of how the interaction of the different levels within us can look like: Hans has been meditating for many years. Most of the time his thoughts start to wander or he falls asleep. Thus, no deeper levels open up to him in meditation. He is frustrated and wonders why his life always follows the same patterns. Let’s try to understand, based on the 5 levels, how Hans could evolve out of this situation. 

His body is tight and tense (level 1) because he has a lot of stress at his job and also because he experienced a lot of traumatic situations in his childhood (level 3 affects level 1). On top of that, he is fundamentally exhausted (level 2), which often causes him to fall asleep while meditating. He has no access to levels 3, 4 and 5 in his everyday life and not even during meditation, which makes him feel alone, left at the mercy of his environment and patterns.  

Now Hans starts to practice Qi Gong (level 1,2). This raises his energy level and his body becomes softer. In addition, he begins to therapeutically process the experiences of his childhood with support. Through this he experiences an enormous relief on the emotional level (level 3), which also affects the tension in his body (level 1). In addition, the energy that had been frozen in the trauma is now available to him again (level 2). His body becomes more fluid, he has more energy and his thoughts no longer circle incessantly. Finally, his mind no longer wanders in meditation, he is able to arrive deeply in himself, and he has experiences of merging with the cosmos (Level 4). As a result, he begins to understand life in a completely different way, he realigns his everyday life, sets his priorities differently and becomes increasingly happier and healthier.

What relevance does the concept of the 5 levels of being have for our self-acceptance and self-love? 

As we can see, all levels stand for themselves but also interact with each other at the same time. We have seen that the levels of body and energy are the foundation for healing and integration. As long as there are severe insufficiencies here, it is much more difficult to access the deeper levels. At the same time, there are hardly any really deep changes when development is limited to only these levels. If we work a lot on the levels of the body and energy, we may become healthier, but we will not gain a deeper understanding of life. Profound changes come once we have contact with past themes of our life, old emotions, the intuitive field, or even experience of oneness. Any impulse on these deep levels of oneness, intuition or emotions can directly and sustainably change our being and the way we are. Ultimately, it also has an effect on our body and our energy. But the prerequisite for this is that our body and our energy can truly absorb these new impulses and assimilate them seamlessly, “like a download”. If we really want to arrive at ourselves, in our self-love and inner wisdom, this means that we have to get in touch with all our layers, especially the deeper ones.

The Iceberg

So now we have seen that according to the 5 levels of being, that there are deep levels within us that connect us to life. This principle is also illustrated by the following picture, the picture of the iceberg, which I like very much. It shows the 5 layers once again in a different form: 

Above the part that peeks out of the water corresponds to our ego structure,our personality. The part that is hidden under the water, that we can’t easily see, symbolizes layers 3, 4 and 5. The exciting thing is that from the 4th layer, approximately at the end of the iceberg, the ice merges into a larger space where the iceberg is no longer isolated: the water and the iceberg merge into each other. This is the basic concept of all mystical wisdom traditions: At the core, we are a part of life. 

This image illustrates beautifully how we usually only perceive ourselves as the upper, visible part of the iceberg in our everyday consciousness. We believe to solely be our personality and are not aware of our interconnectedness with the ocean. Recognizing how we function in everyday life is crucial for understanding how we can approach self-love.

I have participated in many seminars and training courses of all kinds. Often everything was described very well there, but when I returned to my everyday life, I realized: Ok, this is my everyday situation. I do not sense my deeper emotions in order to integrate and process them, nor do I feel connected to a larger field that carries me. Most of us feel this way.  

In this state we act out of the needs of our personality. Our personality is overwhelmed or underwhelmed, always needing more: more rest, more power, more money, more vacation days, and so forth. I observe this also in almost all seminars I give: Out of 100 seminar participants, an average of 96-98 people say they are participating to better deal with life’s demands. Almost nobody says “I have come for wisdom”, but “I have come because I finally need rest”, “I want more vitality, more life energy”, “I want more vitality, to be able to move better, to be healthier”. I can teach all of this and while it is not a bad motivation, all of these desires are only on levels 1 and 2, on the tip of the iceberg. We can reach many of these aspirations, but they do not lead to an inner transformation.

If I truly want to develop spiritually, to understand more profoundly what this life is, and thus experience more peace, love and happiness, it is important to incorporate all levels of my being in the process.

Our Personality

In addition to understanding our everyday consciousness, it is important for us to understand how our personality works. In Asian wisdom traditions, our personality is often depicted as a wall that we create around ourselves. This wall helps us to cope with all the demands that life places on us. After all, these very demands create a constant pressure that weighs on us:

This pressure creates a deep fear within us and out of this fear we tighten the wall around us, in an attempt to somehow conquer the demands. We know from psychology that as children we learn certain strategies that help us deal with difficult situations as best as we can. We often maintain these same strategies as adults, even when they are no longer needed. The strategy may be that I have chosen to become very strong. I create a physical strength to assert myself in life. But it can also be the other way around, that I find everything is too much for me and withdraw inwardly. I retreat from life and tend to assume the role of a victim. There is also the option that I marry a rich man or woman, or that I enter a spiritual community and surrender my life to a guru so that I am no longer subjected to the pressures of life. Different people create different manners of coping with life.

No matter which option we choose, in any case the wall, the personality around us becomes more and more rigid. As a result, we lose our natural connection to life, we become progressively more stressed, more exhausted, more burnt out. We are no longer in touch with ourselves, we have lost our vitality and our true core. We act in patterns born out of fear and overwhelm instead of the openness of our heart and our natural intelligence. Often we don’t quite perceive our bodies anymore either. The question that arises is this: How am I supposed to love myself if I’m not really connected with myself? How can I clean up my house and create a pleasant atmosphere if I am miles away from it?  

A second crucial point emerges here: the pressures of everyday life, but more importantly, every crisis I encounter, activate old wounds and traumas within us. In other words, each crisis situation, each challenge knocks us out of our comfort zone and at the same time triggers blind spots and fears in us. If this happens, we no longer see things clearly, we act out of old wounds like reactive machines. This could be observed particularly clearly in recent years, where the Corona crisis and other current crises have plunged many people into deep existential fears.

Basic Energetic State

Another aspect that prevents us from arriving at ourselves and unfolding a loving relationship with ourselves is the energetic state in which many of us find ourselves. In our digital age, where many people spend a considerable amount of time during the day sitting in front of computers, phones or other media, where many people are pressed for time and where so much changes in a short period of time, the result is something that is not natural: our energy shifts more and more upwards into our heads. The energy turns around, with its main focus in the head, then in the heart and a tiny bit in the belly. This is the reverse state of how it should be. 

In our natural state, we are originally supposed to be well rooted, arrived in the belly, and thus possess a calmness and openness in the heart. What often occurs nowadays is that people feel stressed and preoccupied with issues and lists of what they still have to do. They experience overwhelm and tension in their heads, while their hearts and abdomens feel stretched thin. In this state, we cannot truly connect with ourselves or open our hearts. Therefore, we need appropriate methods to shift our energy back, regain our grounding, and lighten the burdens on our minds and hearts

Part 2

How can I develop a loving relationship with myself? 

Methods for self-love 

Unfolding of the heart

What does self-love mean?

As already indicated in the opening text, I have noticed that nowadays there is an increasing tendency towards narcissistic self-love. In these cases, people try to artificially create self-love as a compensation for feelings of overwhelm, inadequacy and lack.  

But self-love does not have to be created! Self-love is a natural state that manifests on its own when I truly arrive at myself and perceive, accept and embrace my whole being. It is as like noticing the sun is shining just as the clouds have cleared away. Our heart can then radiate into our inner landscape, nourishing every cell within us with love. This principle will be illustrated further in the coming sections. I will present some methods that I use during my trainings and seminars. It is a combination of the different approaches that generates an enormous potential for growth and change.

Self love through meditation

The willingness to fully accept ourselves as we are. This is the prerequisite for and the beginning of self-love. In my courses we therefore regularly practice an arrival meditation.  This meditation is made up of different steps: 

  1. Physical touch 

We begin the meditation by touching ourselves. We stroke or tap important areas of the body that are related to reflex zones, acupuncture points and meridians. This step is enormously helpful for arriving at oneself from the external world and, as we know from the psychomotoric field, it enhances our self-awareness and ability to relax. 

  1. Self-awareness and acceptance of what is 

In the next step, we perceive what is going on inside us at different levels right now. In order to achieve this we observe our breath and our mind, feel into different parts of the body and perceive the state of our feelings and our heart. In this process, there is one key: I simply look at what is right now, accept that it is the way it is, and embrace it. 

An example which I am sure many of us know: We want to meditate and notice:

I can’t meditate now, my mind is all over the place. I hear this feedback at almost every seminar. The participants are frustrated with themselves because they are unable to concentrate on the meditation. This is the beginning of self-rejection. If I want to meditate and the first thing I notice is that my thoughts are doing what they want and that I am not really there at all, then I can simply accept that. Because that’s the way it is now and it’s okay. As soon as I accept what is, there is a loving presence. First I accept that I am tired or I am not fully present or that my body is not perfect. I accept that I am too thin or too fat or that I am in pain somewhere. All of this is absolutely okay.

And just by allowing myself to be the way I am right now, a process occurs within me that feels like an inner melting or letting go. Only through this letting go do I really arrive at myself.

The crucial thing at this stage is: when I find acceptance for myself, I discover a new sense of self-worth. Only then can my shadow sides, my fear, my anger and my insecurity become my friends. And when they become my friends, they lose their dark power. It is very simple and yet very profound at the same time.  

This presence and melting brings out yet another principle of life: the principle of self-organization. Once any issue is in my body, it is enough for me to feel benevolently towards and look at it lovingly. Through focus and energy, something begins to change. Just like the ice melts when the sun shines on it. This way, I come more and more in touch with myself.

It is not the energy work! Used correctly it can support, but it’s not the core. It is also not the stillness! I can sit in stillness, not feeling myself, and remain sitting there like a stone. It is melting into that, which is. This process makes me so transparent that life can touch me. Moreover, this is also the essence of meditation: to enter a state where the entire body feels increasingly fluid, becomes transparent, and melts inside. This allows my whole being to flow into life, and life in turn can flow through me.  

  1. Self-love 

Now, when we have arrived deeply at ourselves and in our heart through our self-acceptance, we allow the love of our heart to shine into our whole body and into all our organs. This is an important aspect: Only after we have arrived at ourselves, have perceived, accepted and embraced ourselves, our shadow sides and everything that is within us, self-esteem and self-love unfold naturally! Very often I observe that meditations are practiced in which one smiles into oneself or lets one’s heart shine within, without ever really having arrived at oneself. I also started out this way in the past and was very puzzled by the effect being limited, even after months of practice. The picture is similar to a mother coming home and seeing her children, who have spent the day alone in the apartment – without feeling and perceiving them from the heart. She simply smiles at the children’s loneliness and hardships. This does not actually work and is merely a compensation. Everything that is difficult, burdened, untidy in me continues to simmer beneath the surface and I have to exert more and more energy to compensate for it. If, on the other hand, I manage to establish a true inner contact – no matter through which form of meditation – and then create a comfortable atmosphere through my presence, my acceptance for what is and through my love, this love influences much deeper layers of my being.

Self love through physicality

I have been teaching Asian martial arts for 40 years now, from kungfu to taiji and qigong. Especially in the West, there are great misconceptions about what these physical exercises are meant for. Many think martial arts, Taiji and Qigong are made to strengthen the body, harmonize energy and become healthier. While this is correct to some extent, it is intended and carried out in a much more complex way. The approach is actually this: I want to transform my body into a living system, instead of building a strong defensive structure or a wall. The goal is for the body to become flexible, fluid and entirely alive. Only then are we able to respond in a variable and appropriate manner to our environment. When we are soft and relaxed, we can shift with circumstances, riding the wave flexibly like a surfer, rather than being in constant resistance. We can handle stress better and return to ourselves much more easily.

We no longer need a strong wall as a reaction to the world, but can instead encounter the world openly, see new possibilities and unfold our potential.  

There is another aspect to this: we know from psychomotorics that there is a connection between movement, our self-awareness and deep psychological matters (level 3). Brain development in infants and children takes place primarily through movement. It has also been discovered here that trauma freezes our physical structure like ice. Conversely, we can melt this ice again through movement. Qigong, Taiji and martial arts , as it is actually intended, can unleash deep psychological processes in us, giving us the opportunity to overcome them and thereby leading us back to a new perception of ourselves and to more vitality.

Because I truly move as one, flowing and creating an inner space, I am truly at home with and fully arrive at myself. 

Our rigid wall as a resistance to the world is beginning to melt away. This inner arrival and being at home with myself is a core element in confronting the problems of our current, digital age. Because I arrive at myself, I feel my being and a natural appreciation of my existence arises, simply because I am – without anything happening. And exactly this being within the body as an experience that I simply am, is the basis and the beginning of self-love. Because I immerse myself in a living structure, self-acceptance, appreciation, courage to live and hope are empowered. I feel myself simply being and breathing in my connectedness and from that connectedness I step out into life, so that life then begins to embrace me. This is why being within our bodies is so incredibly important for all other spiritual processes. It is the prerequisite for the deeper levels (4 and 5) to open up seemingly by themselves

Western approaches

In recent years, I have increasingly integrated Western approaches into my work. They are an integral part of my workshops and courses. I use approaches from coaching, constellation work and methods of kinesiology. I would like to introduce one of these methods to you here. This method is not only enjoyable but also illustrates a significant theme for treating ourselves lovingly and, at the same time, a profound principle of life:

Every time we reject the world or life, we reject ourselves.

It is irrelevant whether we reject a situation, other people, our life circumstances, or events in the world. Whenever I reject the world, there is an inner fallacy within me: Because I experience myself through the world, I simultaneously, without realizing it, reject myself. This is because the cells have no eyes and cannot distinguish between inside and outside. This rejection of myself immediately leads to two consequences: my immune system is weakened, and my self-esteem goes down. If I don’t feel my body at this time either, which is the case for most people, the following happens: Where do I go with my being? In most cases, into some kind of compensation. This can involve eating too much, drinking alcohol, watching a lot of TV, or engaging in sex. Alternatively, I might get lost in my work, family issues, etc.


If you want, you can now do this little self-test to witness directly what the rejection of a situation does and how you can counteract it in a healing and loving way.  If you like this practice, you can integrate it into your daily life and observe what happens after some time. 

  1. Think about a topic: 

Find a topic from your life that is burdening you. This can be a certain situation, a conflict, a person you have difficulties with, or anything else. Feel how high your stress level is when you think about this topic. 0 means no stress, 10 means maximum stress. 

  1. Now wrap this topic in a sentence with ” even if…”. 


“Even if my partner never listens to me or sees me …. ” 

“Even if I have so much work that I can’t  get it done …” 

“Even if my kids are always fighting and it annoys me terribly …” 

3 ... and add: 

” … I love and appreciate myself with all my heart. ” 


“Even though my partner never listens to me, I love and appreciate myself with all my heart. ” “Even if I have so much work that I can’t even get it done, I love and appreciate myself with all mheart.“ 

“Even though my kids are always fighting and it annoys me terribly, I love and appreciate myself with all my heart.” 

This is how you compose your own sentence with your personal theme.  

  1. Then say this sentence out loud, massaging an area on your lateral chest with your fingers, just below the collarbone. (This is where two important acupuncture points of the lung meridian are located).

Repeat this at least twice or even more often if you like. Then check if your stress level has changed. Sense into your body as well to see if you notice a change. 

Saying the phrase, in conjunction with massaging the points, leads to deep integration within your system. You may immediately notice a deep relaxation or feel that the issue is not as stressful as it was before. You can easily integrate this exercise into your daily life and see if something within you changes over time.  

What at first seems very basic here is of fundamental importance. This practice of self-acceptance can be a key to move from energy work to deeper dimensions of meditation, so that levels 3 ,4 and 5 open up on their own afterwards.

Trauma work

Just like the martial arts, therapeutic work has accompanied me my whole life and I have become more and more aware in the last decades how important the work on this 3rd level is.  It is a crucial link between the lower levels of physicality and energy and the deeper levels of intuition and unity. On this level, as we have established, lie unresolved traumas from childhood. When I use the term traumas, I do not necessarily mean only what we commonly understand as traumas such as war, accidents, assaults, natural disasters, or traumatic childhood experiences such as domestic violence, abuse, and loss of a parent. The term trauma means the experience of a discrepancy between a threatening event or an event experienced as threatening and the individual capacities to process the experience.  This means that even seemingly harmless situations can be experienced as traumatic in our childhood. The separation from the mother when entering the day care center, a quarrel between the parents, the brother falling down, a visit to the pediatrician, and so on, can be experienced as threatening by a small child.  

In my work in the coaching field with psycho-kinesiological methods, I have also discovered that many traumas, which are also referred to here as unresolved emotional conflicts, originate from the intrauterine period and even from the ancestral line. These traces in our soul are often so deep that they make us act in the same patterns over and over again, ultimately leading us to create the same situations each time. All the while, we are not aware of them because these events are repressed deep into the subconscious. They are like little animals hiding in a room, continually wreaking destruction there without ever being caught. Beliefs that were formed in defining situations also play a role at this level. If I carry beliefs like “I’m not good enough,” “I have to endure,” “I don’t belong,”, I constantly view life through the lens of these thoughts and act according to them.

Throughout our lives, this third level can block our access to a loving relationship with ourselves and to deeper layers of our being. I know many people who have been doing exercises like yoga, taiji, pilates, qigong every day for 20 or 30 years, but who have no way of arriving deeply into their being and instead find themselves in a perpetual state of self-rejection.  

I have also met people who spend years doing energy exercises, for hours a day, and yet still appear to be beside themselves. There is a great danger here: if we work a lot with the physical and the energetic level, without including the level of emotions, we split off a part of ourselves and instead feed into the wounded parts of our personality.  We keep strengthening the wall around us and thus run into a dead end. Appropriate therapeutic work enables us to free ourselves from old patterns, to change our view of the world and to develop understanding and compassion for ourselves and others. Of course, this work cannot be done in the context of seminars. As for myself, I offer one-on-one coaching sessions for this purpose as needed.  

I have found that trauma work, in combination with body and energy work, multiplies our potential, because the energy held in the traumas can now be used to benefit our energy, our body shifts much more quickly into a fluid system, and we have a significantly easier access to the deeper levels of our being. Finally, to conclude this topic with some good news: deep meditation also leads in many cases to the integration of traumatic events. In order to dive into such deep meditation, however, it usually requires a longer retreat, several days of silence and some initial access to previously split off parts.

The Unfolding of the Heart

The heart is our most important center. It is through our heart that we have a connection to ourselves, to life and to other people. If we look into the different traditions of our world, whether in Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism or Sufism, we see that the heart is a core element everywhere. Only through the heart can we develop an inner self-love and have the ability to love life. A open heart is actually part of our inner nature. It is only through openness in the heart that we fall in love, create projects in the world and follow our dreams. Even a brief look at Chinese medicine makes it clear what an extremely central position our heart occupies: The deepest branches of all the meridians of our body pass through the heart. Here, the heart is seen as the emperor, capable of influencing everything else, and thus possessing enormous healing power. This is also where the concept of Shen, the spirit that resides in our heart, is rooted. It is said there is a small Shen, our personal spirit, our intelligence and our vitality that sparkles from our eyes, and a large Shen, which is the universal spirit and the intelligence of life itself. As we can see, it is through our heart that we have access to a greater unity and to a deeper dimension of life

The unfolding of the heart is central to experiencing self-love, happiness and wisdom.

But what do we need for this? We have already seen how nowadays we are mostly in a state of inverted energy. Mind and heart are under strain, while the abdomen is running very thin. Personal and global crises and changes enforce this energetic state even more. In the vast majority of cases, we attempt to find solutions to this state of fear or change rationally. But from the perspective of the great wisdom traditions, there is a secret: 

A solution for deep issues never comes from from the mental realm, but from our whole being, a deep calmness and especially from our heart. Therefore, we look for the second state of how our energy would naturally behave. Taoist practices of body and energy work are priceless in this regard.

They help us ground ourselves so that our heart can unfold freely. Just looking at the picture you can feel an arrival, a fullness in the abdomen and, because the abdomen is filled with life force and we are standing rooted and stable, our heart can open and shine freely while the mind is clear as a beacon above. 

In addition to that it needs, based on my experience, a daily decision: The decision to take the space to listen to your heart, to restore your inner balance and peace. This can be taking time for physical exercises or meditation or a nice walk in nature. I need space to really feel my body and be grounded, and I need space for my heart and to feel myself.


We have now learned about some tools that can assist you on the path to self-love. Once again, it is important for me to emphasize the role that our motivation plays in our development.  Even if I practice daily for 20 years, not much will change in my life if I have the wrong motivation. If I am not present with myself and reject myself, I will automatically do my practice out of the motivation to improve myself. However, with this motivation, you cannot reach deeper. As I said before, energy and body exercises are one thing. But really accepting yourself as you are is a whole other story. Because it is about being in the moment, being present, and simply being. If we look at it from a larger perspective or an intercultural context, we can see: the essence of all spiritual practices is not about having a lot of power and energy or performing impressive movements, but always has to do with being. To escape this dilemma of doing and self-improvement, surrender can be a key to deeper development. Surrender here means an inner attitude of letting go. It means I do my spiritual practice with an openness in mind and heart, without wanting to force certain experiences or results.  I surrender and allow life to take over so that it can carry me into a development I could never have imagined before.

Part 3

The connection between self-love, wisdom and the unfolding of innate potential

Through self-love to wisdom

We have made a journey through the different levels of our being, examined the patterns in which we as humans function in everyday life and learned what influence our modern age and old unprocessed traumas have on this state.  We have seen what role movement and emotional work play in our development and how important the right motivation is for our practice. We have also learned about the enormous potential of our heart and how we can cultivate self-acceptance and acceptance of the world. What remains is the question of why self-love leads us to true wisdom and, above all, what wisdom means in the first place.  

As we have seen, bodywork, therapeutic work, self-acceptance, and meditation all lead to one result: I arrive more deeply within myself and my body, while simultaneously it becomes fully alive. By really perceiving my body from within and it becoming fluid, I experience deeper access to other layers of being and to life itself.

Now, a very important point arises here: A loving contact with myself as well as self-acceptance and self-love are only the basis and the access gate for this process. For example, Buddhist and Taoist meditation instructions also describe that the perception of myself in meditation becomes progressively more subtle and refined: from an inner connectedness with joy of heart, a state of pure consciousness and inner stillness gradually arises, in which the body disappears completely and the self becomes part of a larger field. From my perceived inner awareness, I become transparent and life can shine directly into me. Imagine a crystal: If the crystal is cloudy, hardly any light can shine into it, but the more transparent and clear its structure is, the more light penetrates it.

If I can really melt inside and become transparent, the larger field of life can directly access me, my body, my cells and my meridian system and I can feel life and receive information from  this field. I develop an intuitive perception, sense what is happening in the field and no longer perceive life only through my senses and mental processes occurring in my brain, but rather directly through this field. At the same time my own field of energy and being expands into the vastness of life like a presence. This is the beginning of wisdom, because this process goes along with deeper abilities of perception, with intuition and also with a perception of my connectedness with life.

Life communicates with me because I have a connection with it, I experience myself as part of the whole and gain intuitive insights.

Moreover, this process also always leads to the opening of important energy gates in the meridian system, as the Taoists say, or in yoga terms, to the activation of the chakras: Because I am open and my system opens more and more, there is a greater interaction between me and a larger field. Through this I gain a direct understanding of life, because this larger field is not limited by space and time. These interactions are explained by the system of the chakras and are quite complex, so I will cover this topic in a separate article.

Unfolding my potential

Accompanying this process of melting and increasing interaction with life, is another phenomenon: deeper layers of my potential are opening up. By potential in this context, I mean abilities that are ingrained deep within me and that want to unfold and manifest in the world. It can be, for example, that I have the ability for mathematics in me or that I am actually a very great architect, or that I have artistic abilities. Often these abilities come from deeper layers of my being or are a quality originating from my ancestral lineage. For many people who are very spiritual and truly evolved, the potential often shows itself as if by itself: some write poetry, others go more in the political direction, some suddenly have healing powers or intuitive abilities, and the next write a novel. 

Our assets are like seeds that want to sprout, grow, blossom and show themselves to the world if they are given space to do so. 

The tragic thing I observe is: Most people do not succeed in unfolding their potential and letting it blossom. There are two reasons for this: First, many people don’t get access to it at all because they remain only in the outside world and are controlled by it. They are constantly trying to achieve good grades or study what their parents wanted or what they feel society expects them to. Secondly, of course, there is a pressure towards finding jobs that help us survive financially. Often people then spend their whole lives doing things that don’t correspond to their potential at all. Moreover, there is a danger here: if we are not really deeply connected and arrived at ourselves, it can happen that we confuse our true inner potential, which rests in each of us, with a compensatory reaction of our personality. We are then acting not from a deep source of our being, but in response or reaction to the traumas we have experienced. Often this is accompanied by an attempt to prove to everyone that we are valuable and worthy of love. 

Responding in this way from the shadows of the personality creates a lot of stress and pressure. In that sense, it is not true potential and wisdom can also not be gained in this way.

If, on the other hand, I arrive more and more at myself, I may gradually notice that there is a predisposition in me, an ability that wants to emerge of its own accord. At the same time, I also get the courage to follow it, because I am connected with myself and recognize the treasure in me that wants to manifest itself in the world. Courage plays a central role here, because often such a step entails changes that might first turn our whole life upside down. Exactly for this we need our transparency, our flexibility to adapt to the circumstances and also faith in the fact that our potential is undoubtedly valuable for the world. In my experience, this always leads to success, because this potential comes from a deeper level of me.


Self-acceptance and self-love are the basis to really feel ourselves, to arrive deeply at ourselves, to accept our shadow sides and to arrive within our being. Thus, in meditation, they naturally lead us into deeper layers of our humanity. Once there, self-love and an inner sense of well-being guide us further into a melting to the field of being. In addition to our inner potential, which is awakened here, many qualities and abilities are revealed by contact with this level of being. These include healing powers, intuitive perception and even more interesting: a deeper understanding of who we really are as human beings, where we come from, where we are going and what life is. All of this begins as a hunch, a feeling, as the Taoists say: the Tao, life embraces you and gradually and gently permeates you. May the journey commence now?