Self-Estrangement as Cause of Self-Hate
It appears to me that curing the habit of self-hate is of the utmost priority. As my TCM doctor says, “the cure is to unblock your heart.” It starts with identifying the labels we assign ourselves. When the “who I am” is bound up in appearances, there is an over-identification with that which is conceivable and perceivable, ie our form, and that’s the trap. I honestly haven’t figured it out in practice yet, but by sharing perhaps it serves others.
We are not what we’ve taken ourselves to be. The real satisfaction we’re looking for cannot be obtained by any outside object, name or form. We are already full, purna, of perfect indivisible spirit existence, consciousness, bliss. We meditate on the subtle and vast spaces between the ever changing relationship of self with object-of-self. We already are what we are seeking. We are self-ignorant, thinking we are an object, and tie up our identity in a whatness that is alien to its Self. Svadhyaya, the study of our perceptions, projections, and core beliefs, the study between our conditioning and our true openness.
What is real and eternal is that mystery, Sacchidānanda, “existence, consciousness, and bliss”, not the personalities and forms we’re taken by or attached to. By negotiating the space of the question of identity (who am I), we work on releasing patterns of thought that were most likely (unintentionally) given to us by our parents, caretakers, and so on. I am not the hate I feel toward me, my skin/body image / gender / etc, I am in the midst of suffering because I am estranged from my true nature. I am loving awareness and I am free to alter the course of my condition patterns as I so choose.
If your form as you know it changed to something less than what you want, you would mourn and adjust through a period of suffering, thinking this new form is not good enough. The attachment of the ego’s sense of self to a physical object estranges the true self from the false self, increasing the false self’s suffering and further distancing the experiencing perceiver from its open pure energetic vibration.
Or perhaps the form doesn’t change but another identity aspect has changed. For Vedic Astrology, let’s say something is called into question in your life that alters your attachment to the identity you’ve grown to like in your chart. Then what? Let’s say you believe you were born to be an excellent doctor, but something happens that changes this identity, and now you experience pain, terror, the abyss of letting-go, a potent practice for astrologers to let go of their attachment to notions they’ve accumulated about themselves.
Western students who migrate to Vedic astrology are also confronted with this shift in the ground beneath them: gasp! But I am a Virgo! But what if you were other than what you thought? What if you were not a king, a queen, but actually a peasant or student? As all things go, it ebbs and flows, our identities and lifetimes, and if we are a king in this life we will be a peasant in the next, and likely female.
Even then, consider: who is it that is looking? Who is this subject “I”? Does its worthiness of love change if the divine form changes?
It is a long conversation… Om, shanti, peace, amen.
Photo taken by Susie in Tofino on retreat 2019