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Mastering the Mind
James: I sent a copy of the satsang Enlightenment Is Inevitable (see satsangs at the website) about self-esteem to a person who was going through a rough patch. Here is his reply. This satsang might alternatively be entitled Fake It Till You Make It.
Mike: Dear James, if ever an email was right on the money for me, it is this one. Your pinpointing low self-esteem as the central issue is very helpful. The effect of reading this satsang is rather remarkable – something has come to rest deep inside of me. I have felt overrun by rajas and tamas for a while, and it is like all the turmoil of the last months makes sense in the cardinal point of the matter of self-esteem. Suddenly sattva has space again, I feel I can breathe, Vedanta’s teaching is regaining it’s ground in me. There is some work to do for me around this issue of self esteem, but that is okay. Thank you so much!
I am looking forward enormously to seeing you and Sundari in Germany, in Bad-Meinberg.
James: Hi, Mike. If you are doing karma yoga with the right attitude, it corrects low self-esteem. If you really understand that Isvara is doing everything, then the understanding itself generates a cheerful, relaxed (sattvic) state of mind: “What’s to worry about? Life is fun. Isvara has my back.” But if tamas and rajas are present, you have to generate the attitude consciously. You think through the teaching and you take a stand in cheerfulness. Of course it seems like it is false when you look at the depressed or disturbed feeling. Although the sense of inauthenticity is normal, it needs to be dismissed. How do you dismiss it?
Part of the practice of karma yoga is the conscious thought NOT TO BELIEVE WHAT YOU FEEL. Feelings of frustration and depression are false feelings, not the feeling “I am fine.” So you say to yourself, “Hey, rajas is making the worry. It has nothing to do with me.” Or, “Hey, tamas is generating this depression. It is not mine. Why do I want to feel bad when what I feel is a choice?” This idea is more or less equivalent to Byron Katie’s statement, “Who would I be without this feeling?” Negative feelings persist only when you buy into them. It may take a few minutes for the feeling to change, but it will change. Or if it persists it will shrink down to a manageable size, meaning that it will appear as an obvious object. Such is the power of knowledge. Feelings don’t validate us. Once you get the hang of it, your self-esteem takes off. You feel like a master of your mind. See you soon!
~ Much love, James