Shining World

Shame and Low Self-Esteem

Marika: I read a satsang in which you mentioned the topic of shame.

This was really interesting for me because there is a lot of shame in this jiva called Marika. To sum it all up, I can say that this jiva needs to learn to react properly to Isvara’s offers.

Sundari: Yes, indeed. Shame is taught to us as children through the religious and educational societal conditioning. We are told that we are flawed, that there is something wrong with us and we somehow must be “better” to gain the approval of whoever it is that made us this way in the first place. It makes no sense – it is nonsense, but there it is. Ignorance is hardwired. It is very difficult to break through ignorance, which is why we need self-knowledge. It alone does the job. If you faithfully submit the mind to the scripture, the knowledge will do the job. Take it easy. You are on the Vedanta bus, you can put your bags (vasana load) down and trust that Isvara will get you “there” – not that there is a “there to get to,” but in a manner of speaking.

Marika: The strongest binding vasana is the please-like-me-because-I-need-you vasana. This one causes nothing but trouble and is not helpful for my serious inquiry.

It makes a strong jiva weak.

Sundari: Yes, indeed. The need for validation and recognition is powerful for the limited, suffering jiva. But what or who is a “strong” jiva? The only strong jiva is a jiva whose ignorance of their true identity as the self has been removed by self-knowledge. When it is, the power of the self shines through the jiva, the lights are ON. The self is always shining on the jiva, which is why it is conscious, but when it knows this it manifests as total confidence and bullet-proof self-esteem. Until then, the jiva is always weak because it is confused and hypnotized by duality, samsara. There is no perfection here, no solution in samsara. Those who think they are strong, but don’t know who they are, are still deluded. Ask yourself who is speaking whenever you find yourself using the word “I.” Is it the I identified with the body, is it the I that knows about awareness or is it the I that knows the ego “I” that owns experience, objects?

Marika: I, the self, identified with the jiva, feel like Arjuna who refuses to fulfill his/her svadharmaIsvara has given me hard lessons in my life, always throwing this jiva in the situations she wants to avoid. It sometimes feels like running but getting nowhere.

Sundari: Isvara gives us the lesson we need to turn the mind inwards, to the self. You have found Vedanta, it is like Arjuna has reached down and plucked you out of the ocean of samsara. It is grace, and grace is earned. Until you surrender totally in trust to Isvara, it will seem like you are running on the same spot – all doers feel this way, and it is true. Doers are always running on the same spot because they think they are doers. There is nothing to gain here. There is only something to lose: ignorance.

I have attached a long satsang that Ram wrote on low self-esteem and parental conditioning. Read it, it will help in your inquiry.

~ Love, Sundari

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