Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

In spite of his near-constant contemptuous disparagement of the spiritual-not-religious set (including yours truly) The Vile Scribbler makes an excellent point on the topic of self-help:

I see it as being similar to spiritual-not-religiousness in that regard; reinforcing rather than challenging the very egotism that causes so many problems

hmmm. Ok, guilty as charged. I’m not gonna lie; my world is Shanna-centric.

It is certainly a dark side of personal development (my umbrella term for SNR and self-help) but it’s not often acknowledged, except by detractors. Perhaps because of our egotism, we all wish to believe that we’re the ones who are doing it ‘right.’

I’m sure that we can all close our eyes and bring to mind the faces of at least 3 people who, in our perception, are using personal development to further entrench their paradigms and nueroses. But not I! Oh no, certainly not!

It was ever thus; people with too much time on their hands and not enough ‘real’ problems, whinging about how fate and humanity had conspired to drag them down, then constructing transparent ‘exercises’ to self-hypnotize themselves into blissful non-responsibility. The smarter you are, the easier it is to do this to yourself, unless you somehow can bring yourself to be ruthlessly humble and self-effacing.

Being that our cultural programming celebrates the struggle of the individual to find meaning and purpose above and beyond what the masses experience, this is a tough row to hoe. Not exactly in our skill set, is it?

Is there any help for this? I don’t know. The only antidote I am aware of is to not take yourself too seriously. To remember that I am only a puny lifeform with an insignificant impact in the vast scheme of the universe, and the fact that in my secret delusions I imagine myself as a benevolent goddess, beautiful and terrible, is only a terrific comical coup de grace in cosmic humour.

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Comments on: "Navel-Gazing and Mindless Egotism" (7)

  1. Shanna, dear, you wound me! I’m not oppugning anyone; just trying to keep y’all honest, that’s all. 😉

  2. Oh, just wait for tomorrow’s post. It’ll make you froth at the mouth!

  3. Without having read the VS post to which you refer, Shanna, I think it is possible to be “spiritual-not-religious” and not be ego-centered.

    I believe it requires that one accept, at least to some degree, the idea of duality –that there is a supreme being (or energy if you prefer) that exists within us, yes, but also independent of us.

    One needn’t have a clear idea of it, as religious folk do, to be legitimately spiritual.

    It’s when people fall so deeply in love with unqualified non-dualism (It’s All One; I’m God/You’re God, etc), that we overestimate our own significance, in my opinion.

    Thanks for the chewy topic. Love!

    • hmm. That’s an interesting thought. You should expand on what “qualified dualism” is, because I’m not sure if I’m qualifying or not! 🙂

      That’s the trick, yes? Deciding whether or not we’re deluding ourselves, and to what extent?

      • By “qualified,” I mean with limits; not absolute. This concept leaves room for the possibility that we can be both one with and distinct from the source, simultaneously.

        If there is no duality *at all*, then there can be no love.

        For there to be love, there must be two, lover and beloved.

      • *clap, clap, clap.

        I am always so delighted by a new train of thought. Who’s to say there is love? My considered opinion was that universalism *was* absolute, but that the human penchant for breaking things down into discrete, polar segments was the only thing that kept universalism from practical application.

        That is to say, dualistic realism is only an illusion, albeit a persistent one. 🙂

        This viewpoint is, in itself, dualistic in nature. And off down the rabbit hole we go!

  4. […] to tip the balance back from the apparently contradictory allowance I made on Monday (if it looked like acquiescence to you, you haven’t hung out here long enough. Welcome, […]

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