New age spiritual philosophies are often staked on messages like “love yourself”, “be kind to yourself” and broad-brush statements like “the universe loves you”. The idea apparently is for one to repeat these “affirmations”, stick them to “vision boards”, mirrors or whatever one has handy that enables sticking, so that one is constantly reminded to, you know, constantly brain-wash oneself through the day.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has a sobering reply to this trend of getting people to like themselves.
“Liking themselves?” Someone else should like you. “I like myself” – what nonsense is this? These concepts and philosophies are floating around all over the world, particularly on the West Coast of America. When I recently went to California, I happened to attend a lecture at Stanford University where the speaker held the view, “You must be compassionate to yourself.” I said, “To like, love and be compassionate, you need two entities. If you create two entities within yourself, you are either schizophrenic or possessed. Either you need a psychiatrist or an exorcist.
An individual means “not further divisible.” If you made yourself in such a way that you have no friends, and are not capable of being alone, you create two within yourself. Don’t play this game. Initially, it may be fun, but if it establishes itself, you will become sick. The line between sanity and insanity is very thin. If you keep pushing it, you will land on the other side, and you will not know where you are…
Do not try to like yourself. What is there to like about you? “Then should I dislike myself?” Why are you thinking on those terms? Where is the question of liking or disliking yourself? When you look at yourself as just a piece of life, there is neither a need to like nor dislike this most fundamental life within you. If you see, “This is only me and me alone,” you will keep this well. If there are two, doing makeup for both is difficult.”
Abundance of ‘Affirmations for Abundance’
Yet, the internet is full of people offering ‘affirmation sedatives’ that promise to help you attract ‘abundance’ in everything from love to wealth. Being compassionate and kind have been reduced, by the new-agers into fridge-magnet reminders that aim to help one cultivate an artificial personality where one must convince oneself and behave as though one has only compassion pouring out of every cell of one’s body.
So what about those yogis and saints who have strived hard over the millennia to understand real compassion and love? Those who have practiced austerities, given up worldly life, strived in daily life to be in yoga every moment, dedicated their entire lives to search for the Truth with a mind and heart yearning to know God? What a waste of time, then. They could’ve just created a vision board and stuck a few hearts and quotations to look at everyday and apparently had the universe love them back!
Quit playing games
Our suffering starts when we start to make up and believe stories about ourselves. When we begin playing games with ourselves. You cannot fundamentally and meaningfully transform yourself if you cannot “to thine own self be true”.
Conscience is different from Consciousness. One is moral and social, the other is existential. Affirmations and mottos are like spraying perfume on a bud to make it smell like a fully bloomed flower.
Psychological tricks may be fine to give you a feel good kick from time to time but when life really bites, the tricks fall by the wayside.
“With these ideas, “Love yourself. Believe in yourself. Be compassionate to yourself,” you are asking for sickness. And if you ask very strongly, you may get it. Do not ask for these things. It is vital to understand that you are an individual – you cannot divide yourself, or if you do, you are playing a psychological game with which you are asking for insanity to manifest itself. When you live with those kinds of people, it may seem normal, but if life situations push you, you will go crazy. If life situations are conducive, you can play these games and somehow get by, but nothing significant will happen in your life because unless you are an individual, you cannot transform; you cannot transcend.”
Reference: http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/lifestyle/relationships/should-you-love-yourself/Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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