The Path Towards Self-Realization: Part V
Witnessing yourself during meditation is important, but putting the focus on witnessing ourselves is also a wonderful way to deal with problems in everyday life. For instance: Instead of getting all depressed and wailing, “I’m ugly, worthless, and unloveable!,” be a witness of yourself and observe: “I’ve been going through a lot of problems lately, and when Joseph broke up with me, I overreacted. I don’t even care about being with him that much, I just didn’t like my ego being damaged.”
It is up to you to face up to yourself, challenge those defenses covering up the truth, and say, “I will look at you! I will listen to what my Psyche is trying to tell me!” You must bring your repressed fears and desires into your consciousness and into the light, in order to view them objectively. Otherwise, if pushed into the subconscious, they will haunt you in dreams; a pervading feeling of emptiness and longing; anxiety which follows you throughout every moment; or a constant driving anger, which causes you to rebel against your own true nature as well as against others.
If you are open and honest with yourself, you can know and realize what your hangups are. Think back to your childhood – What has made you fear the most? What motivates you more than anything else? Is it one and the same thing? Often, I find that the thing one fears the most is the same thing one longs for above all else. What angers you? What is it you really want? And who or what have you been fighting all your life? Why?
Through understanding, self-awareness, and acceptance, you can shed light on the monster which controls you – your fear of dealing with your imperfections. Once you can view the monster objectively, you will find that it is not a monster after all, but a great potential of your being, which has as of yet been unrealized! Once you get at the root of your anger, you will be able to channel that great energy into creative and productive purposes, rather than destroying yourself by letting it eat away at you.
Accepting Your Limitations
The same voices, which nag you about the imperfections of others are the same voices that remind you of your own imperfections. In other words, finding fault in others is merely a projection of your own guilt. Instead of accepting your own self-criticism for your weaknesses, you project the blame towards others, whom you resent for some reason or another – often the reason being for pointing out your imperfections to you!
The strongest resentment is usually aimed at authority figures who censor you, take away your freedom, make you feel powerless, punish you, and in many cases, love you. Often there is one person who represents to you everything you hate, envy, or fear in the world. All this person’s good points are invisible to you. You hardly think of this person as a human being, but as a symbol. In many cases, it is the parent of the same sex.
What you fail to realize, though, is that your bitterness against this person is more harmful to you than anything that this person could ever do to you. Even when you’re away from him, the bitterness fills you. You hate anything that reminds you of him, and when you are with this person, deep communication is impossible. Your anger is keeping you prisoner; stifling your personal evolution and maturation process. If you could find the strength within yourself to forgive this person for the crimes he has committed and commits against you, you will have taken a big step towards freeing yourself of the anger, fear, and guilt that controls you more than any person ever could!
Accepting those who limit you, control and frustrate you, is one of the most important steps in accepting the limitations you hate yourself for.
A teacher is not there to tell you what you already know. He is there to point out what you are doing wrong! The only way to figure out the right way is to know what the wrong ways are. Swallowing your pride and forgiving your teachers for mistakes they have made themselves in trying to help you is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But it is also one of the most beautiful and beneficial steps you can take in your journey towards self-acceptance and contentedness.
Getting along with authority figures also makes life a lot easier for you. When you realize that most limitations are meant for your own good, you will often find yourself better able to convince the authority figure that you are trustworthy enough to have fewer limits. And even if that doesn’t work, you’ll be able to deal with limitations in a better way.
An analogy I like to use is this: Water needs to be channelled through the riverbank in order to flow anywhere. If there were no limits, the water would just turn into a swamp that doesn’t go anywhere, and where little but algae and weeds can grow.
Inner emotional turmoil is the root cause of almost all sickness. There can be a point in spiritual development where one stops being habitually plagued by colds and viruses. By breaking down the barriers that hide one’s inner light, your physical body gains a great deal of vitality and endurance!
People find other things besides the older generation at which to project the blame for their unhappiness: the place they live, their financial situation, their government, their school…
Unhappiness is a personal thing, which has less to do with outer circumstances than it seems. It is up to you to be happy in spite of difficulties. As they say, “Living well is the best revenge.”
Either change it now, or accept it. You can waste your life away being miserable, but that does no one any good. If you want to change a situation, but can’t, at least not in the present moment, then it’s best to accept it and stop blaming it for all your problems.
Find the good in all things unpleasant. Know that every difficult situation is a lesson, to teach you inner strength or to give you life experience; or it is a test of your adaptability and ability to overcome obstacles. If you look at it this way, you will not only be able to endure hard lessons, but you may even welcome them. If you can find something good in the things you detest, you are far wiser and nobler than those who fight against their supposed enemies.
Now, sometimes a situation is really bad. A parent is abusively cruel, or a government is unfairly harsh. These situations need to be dealt with. But it is much better to deal with them peacefully and with objectivity and understanding than to rebel and lash out, because that almost always makes the situation worse. Try to change “I hate you!” into “I accept that you are a person with weaknesses, not unlike myself – but what you are doing to me hurts a lot.”
It’s YOUR attitude you need to change first. Then, with understanding and awareness, patience and determination; with no need to protect your pride and ego but only a humble self-dignity, you can effectively deal with human beings, not monsters.