Search & Read
The Narcissism of the Doer
Question: Do all jivas have a touch of narcissistic personality disorder?
Sundari: The short answer: yes! Even self-loathing, low self-esteem or self-abnegation is a form of narcissism, just the negative kind. Most doers ARE narcissists and they don’t know it. It’s just another cover for inadequacy of course. Displaying great hubris about one’s achievements or talents is the opposite end of the spectrum. Most people are somewhere in the middle.
The things is, how fearlessly self-critical (in a positive way) can we or should we be? A healthy sense of self-disgust is a sure sign of a true inquirer. But beating up the jiva for its failings simply compounds the problem because nobody made themselves the way they are. At the same time, doing the advaita shuffle – “none of it is me, so it’s not my problem” – IS a problem.
Karma yoga reduces anger, anxiety and depression about fear and desire. People who are narcissists suffer even more from anxiety about not getting what they want. The idea that we need to be a certain way or have validation for who we are puts enormous pressure on the mind. It can never rest, because it will never be satisfied no matter how much attention it gets.
What a burden to place on our shoulders! Total insanity. The more one can get used to the idea that the jiva character is not special – in a “good” or “bad” way, and that’s okay –the more we can free up energy for enjoying the present moment and relax.
This applies to all jivas who are glued to their jiva identity and unaware of it. We are all made a certain way and are not to blame for our psychology, but as an inquirer it behoves us to understand it and its impact on those around us, as well as on how protecting the jiva identity impedes our growth and moksa, freedom from and for the jiva. Nididhyasana is the tricky part of Self-inquiry for most inquirers. While nididhyasana is an object known to awareness, without purifying any remaining mental/emotional samskaras, as much as one knows one is not the jiva or its “stuff” situations will still arise that sideswipe the mind momentarily blocking access to the knowledge. Freedom then is not that free.
Decision: Do you like remaining a jerk (even if it’s only a sometime jerk) or do you want this amazing knowledge to translate fully into the jiva’s life so that it truly enjoys its life?!
When deeply buried samskara emerges from the causal body, the instinct is to protect the stupid jiva. That is so pathetic. It is especially so when we know only too well that there is only one jiva and we all share it, what possible good can come from any reaction to anything that emerges from Maya!
It is not easy navigating in a world that is and isn’t.
We had dealings recently with a very dedicated inquirer, someone who is oblivious to how the mind overamplified an already overpowering jiva. Yet this person claimed that they could not fathom how so many people have no objectivity about their own psychology! They were astoundingly blind to their own blindness about this very issue. This is the power of projection, rajas, and tamas, denial. Maya is indeed a wonder.
The interesting thing about a narcissistic psychology is that it is often displayed by people who are intelligent and accomplished, and really do not need to advertise.
In Vedanta, there is no room for making excuses for or protecting the jiva identity – it must be seen for what it is to be dismissed. Only the brutal truth will set you free of the jiva – and then we can truly accept the jiva as it is. We are all flawed on that level and all have our little issues; nobody is perfect. Who cares? Isvara does not make perfect jivas. The practise of knowledge is about paying attention to what is, to life as it is presenting itself to us, and managing the mind, i.e. the gunas, for maximum peace of mind or the gunas manage you.