“Closing their eyes, steadying their breathing, and focusing their attention on the center of spiritual consciousness, the wise master their senses, mind, and intellect through meditation. Self-realization is their only goal. Freed from selfish desire, fear, and anger, they live in freedom always. Knowing me as the friend of all creatures, the Lord of the universe, the end of all offerings and all spiritual disciplines, they attain eternal peace.”
— The Bhagavad Gita, 5:27-29
To err is human. We’re all are finite and imperfect beings. And so, it’s natural and normal for each of us to have some limitations and flaws. It’s good to be aware of our shortcomings, however, when we solely focus on them round the clock, we rob ourselves of our energy, vitality, and self-confidence. Such self-consciousness has a lasting negative impact on our mental and emotional well-being, and kicks off some toxic patterns that sabotage our holistic success.
Over time, self-consciousness becomes a heavy burden and weighs us down. Our thoughts of self-judgment choke us wherever we interact with others, especially in public settings:
I have stage fright. I am a messy eater. I stutter all the time. My voice sucks. My IQ is pretty low. I weigh too much. I have too many freckles on my face.
To overcome these kinds of self-conscious thoughts, we need to get out of our heads. The best way to deal with compulsive self-consciousness is to zoom out and become conscious of something bigger than the self. This can be a purpose, a mission, or a cause that benefits our fellow beings.
The key is to remove ourselves from the spotlight and shine it on others. To replace our debilitating self-consciousness with something far more invigorating: service consciousness.
When we choose the path of benevolence and selfless service, we unlock the divinity within and the Lord empowers us beyond our capacities. As we work towards a holy crusade and achieve meaningful outcomes, we start to realize that we can do a lot of good things in spite of our deficiencies, defects, and idiosyncrasies.
Did You Know?
In Latin, non sequitur means “it does not follow.” The phrase was borrowed into English in the 1500s by people who made a formal study of logic. For them, it meant a conclusion that does not follow from the statements that lead to it. But we now use non sequitur for any kind of statement that seems to come out of the blue.