By Diane Donovan-Vaughn
Social media is full of definitions about narcissism this year. The page for Narcissistic Personality Disorder symptoms as shown in the DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that mental health professionals use was actually photocopied and shared as a photo on Facebook to explain Donald Trump. The real problems of this world are not found in a manual. They are found in the mirror.
Make no mistake that we are all born self-centered and we call it egocentric. We all have a survival system that can be very egocentric, taking over our body and mind while providing it protection. An egocentric view of the world continues strongly throughout childhood and adolescence. When life happens the child forms mistaken beliefs about the world and then in therapy we go back to correct those self-centered beliefs if we can.
Unfortunately, this correction of egocentric beliefs is not always possible if the mind shields itself from examination in one way or another. Most famously, the mind can create all kinds of boxes, personalities, addictions and projections to hide these beliefs away. The reason for this deception is because our self-centered beliefs are often humiliating and associated with pain. Humans naturally avoid pain. The more pain, the more likely the mind will hide the events that create your personality as an adult. The end result is that in various ways, our wounded child walks around hiding in self-centered pain. The reason therapy, treatment, coaching and education can all fail to correct this narcissistic view and resultant treatment of the world is because the beliefs themselves reorder the information to fit its view of reality. You can see how silence, mindfulness and meditation can allow observation of what you are doing but still you will struggle to see any differently as long as the self-centered beliefs remain in tact. You can tell they are there because of the old familiar pain and emptiness you feel and the inability to access memories or sources of those feelings.
Selflessness can be another way the mind manifests its self-centered view of reality based on mistaken beliefs it harbors. While reading the life of Gandhi or of Saint Francis you will notice that selflessness resulted in great benefit for mankind at the expense of the two saintly men engaging in the behaviors. Both men starved their body and punished it for its cravings. Often saints are murdered or persecuted for trying to change the world. Saint Francis said at the end of his life that if he knew then what he knew on his death bed that he would have take better care of his body because it is receptacle of the soul.
How can we be the change in the world with some semblance of balance? Understandably, we watch the world swing back and forth between a Gandhi and a Hitler, out of balance and both suffering from a form of self-hatred. In the case of the selfishness, everyone around that person suffers. In the form of selflessness, the family, followers and friends suffer from watching their loved one sacrifice their own well-being to raise this planet to a higher consciousness.
Bring out that mirror. Look at it and say, “I am the love of my life.” It sounds selfish but it can create selflessness with a healthy dose of self care. If I am the love of my life, then I will learn to measure every action by self-love. I may disappoint others as I refuse to engage in anything that is no longer self –loving but the other part of the story is that the ego cannot run this show. The ego is tied up in dreams, voices or beliefs that remain in a self-centered childhood. Although you do not have to re-experience all the pain associated with these events, you will benefit greatly from loving that part of you that went through them. The only true avenue to accessing the healing you so desire is to be able to surrender to a power higher than your mind, to connect with the soul and ask it to show you the truth, piece by piece of how to become a self-loving, self-less healer who expresses love and kindness into the world. Hanging on the cross is no longer necessary or as the wall in a cave in Italy said to me as I envisioned an endless line of monks marching, “Suffering is no longer necessary.” This is the cave where Saint Francis received the Stigmata, permanent suffering for the rest of his life.
Remember no amount of study, therapy, coaching, treatment or education will heal your self centered beliefs. These avenues may or may not reveal them to you but what will heal you is love and a connection to the divine. Surrender your thoughts to the divine. Give your voices to the divine. Listen and follow the direction to love.
The Compassion Lesson for today is Chapter Fourteen in A year of Living with more Compassion – 52 Quotes and Weekly Compassion Practices (Edited by Richard Fields) pp. 46-47.
Take a deep breath. Relax. Place your attention on the center of your being and find your true self. Breathe light in through your true self and allow that light to permeate your body, mind, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Send the light of the Oneness to every cell in your body and allow that light to correct your vision, your thoughts, your beliefs and your focus. Allow the light to expand your consciousness to reveal who and what you really are. You are not your thoughts or body. Send your ego and the egos of everyone on the planet the light that is permeating your true self. As you wake up to your connection to all that is imagine that you are now floating in a sea of love with all of reality. You are always home and connected to everything when you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Namaste.