Maybe you are reading this and thinking ‘well, I’m not self obsessed!’ Perhaps the language conjures up images specific to how you perceive extreme vanity – the very well pruned, muscle pumped, tanned and gorgeous man who gazes at himself in the mirror as he lifts weights. It could be anything, really, except, perhaps, yourself.
On the Kundalini Global Level One Teacher Training, we were invited to foster an ongoing awareness of when our actions, our thoughts, came from a place of self obsession and not of reflection. It may be that you think this would be easy. It is not.
Today I can sit here, writing to you, and admit that YES, I am self obsessed. It takes an incredible commitment to never be so. And it was surprising to me, as began to commit to the practise of noticing, how often self obsession framed my negative thought patterns about myself.
As a self-proclaimed ‘giver’, habitually laid in a heap on the floor, bedraggled and exhausted at the end of a long day of parenting and working and listening and cleaning and caring for the needs of all who lean on me, if someone had turned to me at the beginning of my teacher training and labelled me as self-obsessed I’d have been unashamedly offended. But self obsessed I was.
Becoming aware of this is an incredible thing. I now sit with an awareness of how the line I walk in my relationship to the self between obsession and reflection is as precarious a tightrope as the one I have long been self-obsessed with: that between order and chaos (at least with that one I don’t need 3 minutes of a beautiful neutralising pranayama to know which side I have fallen in to!)
This growing awareness means I am able to check in on it. To observe my self obsession and to work with being adult enough, well regulated enough, to realise when it is most unhelpful. Sometimes the act of observing my self-obsession means stopping and relaxing when my mind is telling me ‘if you don’t finish this work tonight they will think you’re a terrible person’. Sometimes the act of observing my own self-obsession means realising I have a choice in being offended. Sometimes it is accepting that the class I just taught really wasn’t that great, and to see that as a gift to grow and not a failure that triggers a sense of self loathing.
Like everything I have learned, it is an exploration and a move toward change, aiding me in sharing the transformation practises of Kundalini Global without being a martyr to the constraints of establishment, or the constraints I’ve chosen to place on myself. It has been a big part in realising that my story, my messy human life, is my gold and not the rusty chains that tie me serving others by sacrificing myself.