Is your self-image limiting you? You have a self-image, we all do, but have you stopped to analyze it? Have you given serious thought to who and what you are? If you get it wrong, you’ll get everything else in life wrong.
The degree to which we get our self-image wrong, we veer away from our life’s true purpose. If you don’t know you really are, how can you do what you really should be doing? How can you have the right priorities?
Self-image is so powerful that in the classic yoga text, Bhagavad-gita, Krishna uses it as the starting point of His explanations to Arjuna. The very first teaching in the Gita is that we are not our bodies. Right off the bat, Krishna requests His audience to radically reevaluate their self-image, in the deepest sense possible. What to speak of reevaluating the many different aspects of our nature, such as our identity to family, society and work or our personality traits, He makes us question our identity on the deepest possible level: what if we’re not even our bodies? What if we are eternal transcendental souls, wandering from body to body, from species to species? Wow!
Stop for a minute and consider the consequences of being a non-material entity. What would money mean to a transcendental being? Nothing, right? What would getting that new car mean? Zero. What about that promotion at work? Not registering at all, is it?
And here’s the kicker: this is exactly what really happens to all of us. Research after research has shown that these extrinsic goals and achievements do next to nothing for us. You’ve experienced this, I’m sure. If you ever bought a car, you know what a huge endeavor that was. Cars are expensive. And, sure, you were happy. But for how long? Let’s face it, who’s jumping with joy at the thought of his or her car, no matter what car it is, after a few months? Research shows that it’s pretty much no one. Same for that new outfit, new job or even winning the lottery. What we usually do is ignore that feeling and acquire a new target of in our endless conditional happiness list. It’s like we cannot believe or accept that we’ve been duped and that we’re totally on the wrong track, so we just remember that brief pleasure we got (mostly in anticipation) from our latest mundane success or purchase, and move right along to the next empty goal.
This is because we’re not the body. We are on the inside, not on the surface. We need to focus on things that will reach us inside. Stuff on the surface won’t really get to you and won’t satisfy you truly.
I propose there basically two things which really satisfy the true you: service and connection.
I always remind myself of Saint Mother Teresa’s saying: “The fruit of prayer is love and the fruit of love is service”. Service is love in action. Love has no meaning if it’s not conducive to actually doing something for the loved one. Viewed correctly, everything you do can be done in the spirit of love. Every action can be an expression of your desire to serve someone else and even your own self, for example, by sleeping well and staying fit. In my book, The 3T Path, I expand on this concept by explaining the importance of living our dharma.
Connection is that person to person contact you experience when you treat people as people, not objects or machines to satisfy your needs. The smallest exchanges, like saying good morning to someone in the elevator, are an opportunity to connect and experience that soul to soul connection, what to speak of our deeper and more meaningful relationships.
The great spiritual master Swami Prabhupada summed it up nicely when he said: “people want someone to love and something to do”.
The more we understand who we really are, the more we can fine-tune our priorities and goals, which leads to an enormous increase in our sense of fulfillment and joy.
Check out my video on this topic here.
Look what people are saying about my new book: “Healing and sustenance for your mind, soul and body… an inspiring book” – Meg