From birth we are conditioned to look “out there” in life. The “developmental shift” or distraction of our attention, perception and awareness into our perceived “becoming a person”, between the ages of 5 to 12 months will leave most with narcissistic scar so deep, we will spend our lives dancing around the scar, the “I”, and the “ifs”, in a band aid attempt to repair something that never existed in the first place…
Infinite, refined, heroic attempts will be made to avoid the perceived illusion, pain and suffering of our imaginary separation. On the surface it appears as a biological separation between mother and child, beneath the surface an “I” is developing; a self is being internalized ~ not realized. We will spend all our lives cultivating a self engendered “psychology of separation” that in part anchors itself innocently as a functional way of being in the world.
While there may be degrees of Narcissism or character traits of self love, based on our self image or ego; including self-admiration, self-centeredness and self-regard. Excessive narcissism is considered to be a personality dysfunction with its own unique pathologies:
- has a grandiose sense of self-importance
- is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- believes that he or she is “special” and unique
- requires excessive admiration
- has a sense of entitlement
- is inter personally exploitative
- lacks empathy
- is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
- shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
From the perspective of Yoga, the perceived loss of not knowing the true Self, can only lead to more suffering. It would seem logical AND natural that the development of the “I” would resort into beliefs and behaviors to compensate the loss of integrity and the development of the “IF” compensations.
In separation, the “I” will never find its wholeness, it will forever be doomed to seek and search for a perfection that cannot exist, whatever form it may take whether it the archetype of a God or Goddess or the grasping or fear of what is transient and unreal.
We need not look far to uncover a profusion “if” responses:
IF “I” worked harder or was smarter, “I” could be more successful…
IF “I” was better looking, “I” would be loved…
IF “I” had more money “I” could do, be and have what “I” want to do, be, and have…
IF “I” had the latest and greatest, people would like me, want to be with me, LOVE me…
IF “I” meditated more frequently, all my problems would disappear and “I” would be in Nirvana.
IF “I” become more loving, more generous, more compassionate or accept this dogma, this person, this deity, or this religion, “I” will be more, do more, have more…
IF “I” had this or that, “I” could be this or that…
If “I” did this or that, THEN “I” would be happy, find love, be love…
We all live in socially indoctrinated, culturally hypnotized society, where varying degrees of the “IF” of the “I” are expressed. Dig a little deeper, unpack your day to day routines and beliefs and you’ll eventually bump up against an ingrained pattern that presupposes an unconscious belief that is based separation.
While many will “successfully” navigate their life experience and live lives of perceived meaning and fulfillment within the functional “I”, many will more actively act out the perceived loss of our true Self, many will never recognize or find the resilience or skills to cultivate the ever present power that lies within. Instead, we will lose ourselves in search of the “ifs” of life, in order to pacify the fear and longing that lies within the “I”.
In the silence of the Self, the “IF” of the “I” evaporates. While strategies and impulses may arise and subside, while thoughts and ideas may come and go, there can be a direct experience of Being, that is complete and perfect as it is, right here and now. In this silent Self, an awakened knowingness arises that is complete in itSelf, there is an unconditional realization of Self worth, not based on the conditions of the “IF” or the “I”….