Baba says, ‘be patient when you deal with praise and defamation’. That is a sign of someone that has firm faith in the Godly mission.
You are a student and God Himself is teaching you, says Baba. Never forget this. When I forget this truth, I become egotistic and start to take myself too seriously. This is not to say that I must become childish, certainly not. But rather, it is the idea that I accept that I am a work in progress and give myself room and opportunity to evolve.
But often we forget and hold on to labels or images that other people have created of us. Maybe my work on a project was widely praised and I hold on to that, it becomes my new baseline. It becomes the ground that I stand on. Then, I tell myself that I am really good, really smart, make myself into a fantasy. I become consumed by the need to be praised for everything I do. When that inevitably doesn’t happen, I find it hard to deal with. When someone dismisses an idea I have or doesn’t necessarily think of something I did as highly as I think of it, I am taken aback, I feel hurt and angry. I start to tell myself and others that so and so simply doesn’t get it, that they don’t see the vision etc. and point a finger away from me. I cannot bring myself to accept that not everything I do will be great or mean the same to everyone.
This is classic body consciousness- caught up in approvals, judgments, labels and other measurements of the old world of who I am. When I forget who I am, I also forget who others are…that we are all souls. When I see myself as my role, I see others as roles too and then everything they say matters, everything becomes relative.
When I consider myself a soul, I don’t see labels, they don’t stick to me. I free myself to learn, to have fun, to practice. There is no fear of what someone might think or say, of failure, or ratings. I become a child again who is unafraid to be itself – who dances freely, who falls freely and finds that funny! they fall, get right back up and dance again.
There will be times when I will be praised and times when I will be defamed, criticized or perhaps even ridiculed. The key thing to remember is that neither it true. They are both opinions, labels, measurements. All that is true is that I am a soul and a child of God. He is teaching me how to be a sovereign, a master of my own thoughts and feelings. And so it is GREAT when I get to experience both extremes in my journey. It shows me that in both cases, I get flung away from the truth of who I am by about the same distance…if I allow it. It presents me with the opportunity to realize the fact that my reality of who I am does not change either way, just my perception…if I allow it.
And so the question is how would I rather live my life?
- by focusing more on building a reputation or would I prioritize building a character? Reputation is simply other’s perception of me, not reality. Let me not tie my self-worth to something false and ever changing. When my self-worth is not on the line, it becomes easier to learn and make mistakes along the way and not feel like I am dying each time.
- by being a child or a householder? a child has a sense of humor and laughs at itself. A householder carries the weight of the world and it’s judgments on his shoulders.
- based on fear and shame or courage? let me learn to recognize the voice of shame and know that I am being body conscious. Courage means I let go of the shackles of approvals and recognition and invest in my own learning and development.
The purpose of this life is to become soul conscious, to return to my original truth of who I am. I had forgotten this and had adopted wrong ways of living. Now, God Himself is here and is teaching me the right way again. Let me have firm faith in this Godly mission and in Who is teaching and guiding me. Then, when the ups and downs come, which they will, I will not be swayed. I will not live life swinging between kicking and screaming and feeling elated. I will instead remain grounded in the reality of who I am, Whom I belong to and the purpose of this very elevated student life.