OUR SELF IMAGE – THE WAY OUT
The Mantra: Na’ham
The “self-image” is the key to our personality
by changing it we can improve them both and begin at last
to realize who we really are.
Otherwise it will keep energizing the conditionings from the past which determine
all our thoughts, feelings, reactions, emotions, apparent choices,
and in the end almost all our life.
That will not do at all.
a) Until we have not examined and healed our self-image
we cannot have a real life, because
our Self Image works as a computer’s search program
which lives our life instead of us
How does this make you feel?
What will you DO about it?
It is only the negative self-image of yourself with all its false
identifications and limitations that prevented you
from manifesting all your splendor.
Almost everyone tries to solve their problems externally, but the only effective way is to change our self-image first of all.
The best is actually to have no self-image at all,
but at least
if you have a bad, unlovable self-image begin by
changing into a more positive one.
It is not as difficult as it seems at first.
As Indra Devi said,
Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees
only so long as its surface is undisturbed,
the mind can only reflect the true image of the self
when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.
is your mind tranquil and relaxed?
To which extent?
If it is not, why not?
As Wu Hsin noted,
When one no longer believes
what one imagines oneself to be
the cell door opens
and the realization dawns that
a life filled with being somebody
is an empty existence.
Mooji adds that:
In the light of real understanding, the unreal image of yourself begins
to fade, giving way to a joyous sense of expansion
b) They say that the habit doesn’t make the monk,
but of course to a great extent it does, because
habits are the foundation stone of our self-image.
The best way to improve it is to change our behavior, attitudes and priorities, like for example:
– Striving to remain always both centered and grounded,
very calm, in a state of equanimity which none and nothing can ever disturb;
– Changing the way we speak:
whatever we have to say, even if it has to be unpleasant, can be expressed in a calm and serene way;
– Stopping a moment whenever we feel restless,
despondent, depressed, unhappy, seeing such a state as an illness and considering what we can DO to get out of it;
– Centering deep within whenever we feel pulled towards anything
and considering whether it really is what we really want, reexamining our mind and priorities in life, in what we invest our time and energy;
– No longer feeling any repulsion toward anything
and never expressing any negativity ever even when we cannot yet avoid to feel it, never saying or writing anything hurtful to anyone;
– Being in contact with very positive people
who support our highest aspirations and avoiding the negative ones unless in order to heal or help them if we can;
– Practicing more kindness and compassion for all
and doing our best to help them, and if we have the capacity for it beginning to awaken them;
– Listening to classical or devotional music
instead of merely entertaining one, seeing intelligent films with a positive message instead of violent or stupid ones;
– By many other ways, like changing the diet,
physical exercise, sports, how we dress, etc
But never forget that even if a new and more positive self-image will help us to live much better,
it still means living in unreality, lost in an ephemeral composite
of various elements which are not really us.
No self-image can ever be really YOU.
What is fully you?
No, it is much more than what you think.
Our real being, our Self, is one with the Divine
and has no self-image at all.
Otherwise how can we become one with Him?
First or later you will have to let go of your identification with your old self-image to become who you really are,
and it will be easier and faster if you stop right now
identifying yourself with it.
Much easier and faster.
c) Keep in mind that although many improvements can be achieved
to transform our self-image or, even better, discard it altogether
cannot be done directly BY us
but THROUGH us.
By the Divine through us, of course.
Why it cannot be done only by you?
Because if you built a new self-image
with WHAT could you all create it?
All you have to build it with can only come from the past, from the programs installed in the computer of your brain,
from all that you have ever been, so even when improved it will be
more or less the same one in new clothes.
This is an age’s long swindle.
Once our inner being, our real Self comes to the surface at last it will dissolve
all the identifications and attachment which make up our old self image
and then we will find out who we really are.
d) Nisargadatta Maharaj suggests a way to transform it:
Not to be any longer identified with it, you must become one with
the totality of the Manifestation, otherwise you will just
replace this image with another one.
Replacing it with another will not lead you anywhere.
How will you become one with the totality of the Manifestation?
The Course in Miracle’s advice is:
Do not accept this little fenced of aspect of yourself.
The sun and the ocean are nothing
besides what you are.
To which extent do you still accept this little fenced of aspect of yourself?
It is it just an old, damaging habit.
In the process of improving your self-image as much as possible until you are able to get rid of it altogether, remember that notwithstanding the appearances on the contrary
your inner being is ALREADY perfect, full of love and light,
wisdom, peace and love.
It isn’t something to be achieved in the future when you finally get rid of a particular problem, when your external circumstances will be more favorable, when your children are grown up and you have more time for yourself, when you will retire, etc.
the best possible time to do it
is always RIGHT NOW.
e) While in the process of dissolving your old self-image
you may feel like if you were dying, but it is a false appearance only:
it is not YOU who are dying,
only a complex of obsolete, unreal conditioning structures
and mental formations which suffocated
your real Self.
As Mooji noted, when our self-image begins to fade away, one may say
“But I feel I am dying…”
Though it feels like a dying, you do not die.
It is the self-image that dies.
You don’t vanish really.
It is the self-image that vanishes. You simply see.
You have always been invisible.
In which sense you have always been invisible?
Because all you ever saw, and all others could normally see,
was only your false self-image, NOT YOU.
Never say: “I am my Self Image, this is what I am”
but tell yourself:
I am NOT my Self-Image and have never been;
I am the eternal Self witnessing all.
The Devil’s Advocate:
All your thoughts and actions, even your so called “aspirations” originate from an aspect or another of your self-image: isn’t trying to change it or to get rid of it just like trying to break a hammer by hitting it with the hammer itself?
The Self-Image is not a friend but our jailer and you are
infinitely better off without it.
Let go at last of such burden, of all your identifications with it,
and will immediately feel much more peaceful,
happier and loving.
Words of Power:
May everyone never fall into the deception
of their self-image.
I will never have a self-image
Well, there are much better ways to deal with it, but Vijay’s self-image began to crack only when he got enough shocks and hard knocks from all the challenges and “exercises” that the Divine through the world and other people generously granted him!
The first great Teacher that he met, Jean Klein, once told him that
Our real nature is not-knowing, a total absence
of all that we THINK we are.
By the last words, “all that we THINK we are” Jean Klein meant our self-image.
Vijay fully understood this only decades later.
What is it that you believe you are?
Are you SURE?
Ha ha ha ha!
Question/ko’han 1 to 3:
Are you going to get rid of your old self-image or change it into a better one?
Now would be the right time
Question/ko’han 4 to 7:
Rumi said that:
In the stream rushing past to the dusty world your ephemeral image
casts no reflection at all.
Which reflections does your ephemeral image cast?
How about going beyond all reflections?
The last word is this advice:
Strive your utmost to free yourself of all the misperceptions in your mind
and of the emotional reactions that your false self-image
keeps flooding you with.
1) Meditate on these words of Nisargadatta Maharaj about living
without any self-image:
The ideas: I am born at a given place, at a given time, from my parents and now I am so-and-so, living at, married to, father of, employed by, and so on, are not inherent in the sense ‘I am’.
Our usual attitude is of ‘I am this’.
Separate consistently and perseveringly the ‘I am’ from ‘this’
or ‘that’, and try to feel what it means to be, just to be
without being ‘this’ or ‘that’.
All our habits go against it and the task of fighting them is long and hard sometimes, but clear understanding helps a lot.
The clearer you understand that on the level of the mind you can be described
in negative terms only, the quicker you will come to the end
of your search and realise your limitless being.
Note: “in negative terms” means: I am not this, I am not that.
– This metaphor, also of Nisargadatta Maharaj:
A prince who believes himself a beggar can only be definitively convinced
that he is a prince in one way: he must behave like a prince
and see what happens.
Behaving like a prince has its drawbacks and you may look silly,
try behaving like someone already enlightened, but without
letting it go to your head.
Of knowing who I am so sure everyone seems
just like I once did as well, although
I always kept changing – I can but wonder,
why having any self-image at all?
The very instant we really look at it
already no self-image is left at all:
see such dark, impenetrable fortress collapse
like a caste of cards in a high wind!