In recent years, narcissism has become a super hot topic of public debate, especially where millennials and social media are concerned. From innocuous vanity and self-promotion, all the way to the pathological personality disorder, narcissism can take many different forms, along a wide spectrum. But somehow it feels like the more pathological aspects are suddenly everywhere; like some kind of social epidemic. In spiritual circles, a vicious narcissist is part of nearly everyone’s story of pain and awakening. There are tons and tons of articles, books, podcasts, and abuse recovery programs popping up all over the place. (In the event you’re not up on all the details, this is a great article on all the different aspects of the condition. And this is a painfully accurate description of what happens to children who grow up with narcissistic parents/caretakers.).
Your soul communicates with you through your feelings. It’s not the emotions you create with your mind (consciously or subconsciously). It’s not something that comes from your thinking, your rational calculations, or your critical reasoning. It’s not who you “should be,” and it’s not what you “should feel.”
It’s something much deeper than that. It’s a call from within. It’s something you already know to be true, because it plays in the background of your thoughts. It’s something we are taught to push past; something we are taught to ignore. It’s not something we’ve ever been taught to pay attention to, but rather a thing to overcome in our endless pursuits of more.
I read an article yesterday by a spiritual teacher instructing his followers to act from their “highest self.” He was beseeching his readers to be more loving, more kind, more wise; not to act on their emotional reactivity, but to take a wiser approach; the approach their “highest selves” would take. This sounds like lovely advice. It sounds really good, and moral, and righteous. The problem is that it’s not real.
This advice asks people not to act on their emotions, not to act on their normal drives, but to identify with some supremely loving, wise, “higher,” saintlier version of themselves. And to pretend to be that. What happens is everyone walks around pretending to be “spiritual.” Believing that the “higher self” is some kind of doormat, who has no emotions, preferences, or courage to speak up is a mistake. This is fake spirituality. This is religious dogma with a new name. It’s not authentic. It’s not honest. And it’s psychologically unhealthy. (more…)
I watched an interesting movie last night called Marguerite (available on netflix). It’s a curious story of a wealthy French baroness, at the beginning of the twentieth century. The basic plot is that she is a long-devoted wife, driven slightly mad by her husband’s lack of love or attention. Her only outlet is music. She is enamored with it, obsessed even, with opera and singing. Yet, despite her insatiable passion for the art, she can’t sing at all. Like not even a little. But she doesn’t know that. (more…)
Authentic people are endlessly fascinating. Not because they are especially intelligent, or funny, or charming. Theirs is a different sort of attractiveness.
Authentic people allow the creative energy of the universe to flow through them unencumbered; and they express it freely, without a moment’s hesitation. Humbly, they know they are merely a vessel or conduit for whatever wants to be expressed; and really nothing more. They rarely take personal credit for what flows through them. They are not arrogant in their manner, but at best, quietly self-assured. (more…)