Friday, Sep 25, 2020 | Last Update : 03:31 PM IST

185th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra128396397321434345 Andhra Pradesh6543855794745558 Tamil Nadu5636915082109076 Karnataka5485574446588331 Uttar Pradesh3742773076115366 Delhi2606232243755123 West Bengal2378692080424606 Odisha196888161044805 Telangana1792461481391070 Bihar174266159700878 Assam165582135141608 Kerala15445898720614 Gujarat1289491093113382 Rajasthan1227201023301352 Haryana118554984101177 Madhya Pradesh115361814752007 Punjab105220814752860 Chhatisgarh9562358833680 Jharkhand7643862945626 Jammu and Kashmir68614480791024 Uttarakhand4440432154501 Goa3055224347360 Puducherry2489519311467 Tripura2378616955245 Himachal Pradesh133869232125 Chandigarh109688342123 Manipur9537736959 Arunachal Pradesh8416607113 Nagaland5730459810 Meghalaya4733252838 Sikkim2447190529 Mizoram158510120
  Opinion   Oped  17 Oct 2019  Mystic Mantra: Strive to discover the self beyond selfies

Mystic Mantra: Strive to discover the self beyond selfies

Francis Gonsalves is a professor of theology. He can be contacted at fragons@gmail.com
Published : Oct 17, 2019, 5:59 am IST
Updated : Oct 17, 2019, 5:59 am IST

The “public self” or “external me” is all-important for many, today.

Not infrequently, our sense of “self” is shaped neither by what we know of ourselves nor by what we’d ideally yearn to be; but by what others think of us.  (Representational image)
 Not infrequently, our sense of “self” is shaped neither by what we know of ourselves nor by what we’d ideally yearn to be; but by what others think of us. (Representational image)

A young woman was deeply distressed by the behaviour of her sixteen-year-old son. Whenever they went out together, her son would walk on ahead of her. “Are you ashamed of me?” she asked him, fearing the worst. The lad replied, “Oh no, mom! It’s just that you look so young that I’m afraid my friends will think I’ve got a new girlfriend.” Her distress disappeared in a wink!

Not infrequently, our sense of “self” is shaped neither by what we know of ourselves nor by what we’d ideally yearn to be; but by what others think of us. Thus, it could happen that we feel extremely elated when someone praises us, and depressingly deflated when upbraided for something small. Extreme cases of the latter could lead to suicide — destroying the “self” totally.

 

The “public self” or “external me” is all-important for many, today. This is often seen in our current craze of clicking “selfies”. So many people constantly take selfies with different poses, oblivious of scenic surroundings and other “selves” around them. They seem obsessed with photographing and preserving for eternity the one and only indispensable being in the universe: me!

The American Psychiatric Association has confirmed that taking selfies is a mental disorder, terming the condition “selfitis”. If you’re taking three selfies a day, you’re probably suffering from selfitis. Are you aware of this illness? How do you ensure that you never get smitten by selfitis?

 

First, look around. Diffuse the inordinate attention on yourself. There’s so much of beauty around you: butterflies, flowers, fruits, dewdrops, sunsets and rivers. Do not capture these in your cellphones, but let them hold you captive for a while. Then, be grateful.

Second, gaze within. Discover the true “self” — called the “atman” or “soul” — that deepest, truest, loveliest part of “me” which is “who” I really am despite all that anyone and everyone says of me, good or bad. This “me” I know not as an object, but as a subject. To know things is to be learned; to know others is to be wise; to know my “self” is to enlightened.

 

Third, as I go deeper into my truest “self” I’ll be drawn towards silence, solace and surrender. That is my root and my wellspring, my origin and my destiny, my spirit nesting and resting in God’s Spirit. Saint Augustine describes this as “intimior intimo meo”: deeper than my own depths!

When Advaitins are aware that “atman is Brahman” and Christians realise that they are “temples of the Holy Spirit”, there’ll neither be elation when family and friends flatter, nor deflation when foes criticise. It will suffice to pray with the psalmist, “God, I thank you for the wonder of my being!”

Tags: mystic mantra