If you have ever watched someone reduce themselves (or others) to their bank account, their title, their body, their car, or some other arbitrary, temporary, and/or artificial (often blatantly false) sense of self-accomplishment, such as the approval or rejection of others or outside institutions, and so forth, to prove their “worthiness” or “unworthiness,” you will recognize the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you either want to laugh out loud when their Self-reduction is slightly comical (if you happen to be a fan of the British comedy called Keeping Up Appearances, you will know what I am referring to here), or cry or vomit if it is a deeper delusion and you can clearly see that they have lost connection to themselves and/or their humanity and have fallen into their aggressive animal brain that has solidified an over-identification with an illusory ego.
Because I enjoy watching cooking shows to see if there are any new techniques that I can learn to apply to my own food preparation toolkit, I (because it is one of the offerings on my streaming platform), at one point, briefly started watching the popular series led by Chef Gordon Ramsay called Hell’s Kitchen where I was able to observe a very good example of the latter (although life inevitably brought many clear observations of this as well).
As a fan of Mr. Ramsay’s honesty that makes it so that people who prepare food for others to put into their bodies do so with integrity and some sense of respect for their fellow human beings who pay them money (that they most likely scarified time and energy to exchange) for the food creations (although not always a fan of Mr. Ramsay’s screaming), I gave the series a try one summer afternoon. The show was a bit of a diversion from the skill-building type shows that I occasionally watched, but after watching Mr. Ramsay help restaurant owners clean up their acts in one of his previous shows, I pursued observation of the series because I enjoy the human behavioral study that his shows always inevitably turn into.
One pattern that I noticed among impatient restaurant-goers who would “lose their cool” after waiting for the new chefs to prepare their food is that, sometimes, these angry people would get into altercations that did not seem to be with anyone except themselves. One form of fighting with words that I noticed that these self-fighting individuals often used was posturing with titles and awards. Blame it on hanger, but I remember one man in particular who aggressively pointed his finger in another persons’ face and spit out something along the lines of “do you know who I am?” (obviously, the other man did not) before listing his job title and degrees (which I do not remember) and then physically attacking the person in front of him and storming out of the restaurant.
The ego has a powerful hold on the minds and emotions of many. It can make people believe that things that are not who they are are actually who they are in truth, make people feel threatened by things that are not threatening in the very least, and it supports many with shaming others (and themselves) for not being more invested in ego-creation, projected role-plays, and solidification. All you have to do is to take a neutral and honest look at social media for all of the examples of this that you need.
The existence of the concept of celebrity in our societies, where most of our grandmothers have more personal significance and meaning in our lives in truth, reduces (with the appearance of elevating) people to the roles that they play in the Maya of Self-delusion. This creation of the myth of importance based on “entertainment/market value” (or meaningless “social value”) reduces all people in society to the “value” that they carry for perpetuating stories and customs that suit particular world views and interests for the sake of financial profit or ego-boosting “gain.”
This then reduces talent, skill, and innate value to something that can be commoditized in exchange for money and attention, and people are “rewarded” accordingly for playing limited/limiting versions of themselves that also maintain the false sense of identity of others and uphold the legitimacy of artificial social orders (that in truth, only benefit a small few who, over time, have placed themselves in roles of importance as “Monarchs,” “Leaders,” and “god-like figures,” for others to look up, or bow down, to regardless of their “deservingness” based on the reality of their character and if they actually make a true positive influence/contribution to the world, or take progressive actions that serve the greater good of/for all).
What this pattern does at its core is to distract many from the Truth, and from Reality, and to disempower some from looking within themselves to see the true value in their simple being (or even their vital contribution to the functioning of society if they perform roles that make little money, or have low social currency, but has great positive impact on the lives of others), making it so that a talking or dancing, head on a screen appears (simply because one sees it over and over again and gives it power through attention) to hold more value than the person who grows your food or ensures that your streets are not overrun with garbage, or that your children can read, or that your life can be preserved if you have a heat stroke (people who you rarely, or never, see or “value”).
What To Do To Avoid Becoming “Hypnotized” By The Illusion
- Look within and to what is Real: It can be tempting to look for distractions and amusement in life, but your life needs your full presence and participation. Your attention is valuable (clicks on videos alone now quantifies and commoditizes this). You should know more about your Self and what is True in your own life through reflection and observation, for example, than you do about the names and histories of the brands and actors of the world. If you know more about what a Youtuber thinks about an issue than what you do about it, and have never truly asked any questions with neutral critical discernment, you may be giving more of your mental energy away than you need to, or is good for you.
- Do your best not to form attachments to the intangible things outside of you, especially the projected images of the human form: Fall in love with the people in your life, for example, as opposed to projected images of celebrities curated and framed on videos or on a poster for your entertainment. These people, although many go along with this dynamic for some time (often simply because they start out as naïve children), are also just people who will age, decay, and die like all other people, but before they do, their first death is often their falling out of importance/trend in the minds of others. Don’t fuel a beast that destroys another’s humanity and reduces them to an ego-gratifying attention-getting tool in exchange for money. Focus on the people (and/or pets) who actually matter in your life and treat everyone you encounter as just another human being. The people who directly impact your life deserve your attention more than a system that perpetuates temporary and false idols and exploits your attention for money. You may think that your attention is a small price to pay, but it is in fact, incredibly powerful.
- Learn how to identify true value when you encounter it in the world: An apple, for example, grown from seed and with sun and water is more vital to the sustenance of your life than even the most valuable iPad. A bee, as another example, is just as important to agriculture as our Earth’s farmers.
- Identify your worth through being (and cultivate the goodness that it brings through your thoughts, words, and actions): There is a reason why I never cared about people’s opinions or titles even when I could always whip out my own degrees or a past accomplishment to wave around if I ever needed to posture for some reason. But the fact that this image makes me laugh means I find that concept ridiculous. Degrees are for learning, vocational work is always for survival in a society that requires money to exist (even if you create a lifestyle where you require just a little bit of it), and more or less money at any given moment does not make you more or less than anyone else. Your accomplishments and expressions are always done only for your spirit’s expansion, especially your larger work/Dharma (what you contribute to existence beyond what you do to make money, ie. how you use your gift and knowledge to impact more than just your limited self and offspring). Your being is always separate from these things and eternally valuable in and of itself (especially when shining most purely). In fact, it is fair to say that your being is more “valuable” without any of these things in truth since these things can come and go, change, and create destruction (and always will), even your body and mind can, and will, always change and deteriorate, but consciousness (and the positive impact that you can make/allow when connected purely to it) always remains and always has inherent “value.”
It is easy, in the confusion and noise of society, to get attached to falsehoods (especially today with the existence of the internet); to take what is false to be true and to wear things that hold no weight (because they are illusions) as if they were precious and valuable gems, to cling to one thing (or false projection) or another out of fear or pride, to hold on to anything at all as if your very identity depended on it, afraid to lose it or to let it go because you do not have a solid foundation in what is permanent.
What I learned from letting go of my website to focus on growing, and growing something else, for about two years, only to restart again in an expanded place when the time was right, is what I want to now leave you with: nothing except what is eternal, is so precious that it cannot be replaced with something else, or sometimes, something more or “better” (and this does not include people, so please do not read that into this, and, further note that people are not things).
Value what you have and create in life, but be willing to let everything go. Nothing external defines you. In the same way that you would/should not define/limit yourself based on any negative and fleeting falsehoods that people may project onto you out of jealousy, hatred, fear, anger, or any other mental delusion that they may hold (because these delusions are false and their minds are infected with illusions), you are not defined by any external markers that often illicit feelings of pride, or even admiration, either (because these delusions are false and the minds that maintain them are attached to and infected by illusion). Opinions and things that can change based on factors as fleeting as mood, and certainly fall apart in the face of facts/evidence, can never define you (or others). Remain grounded in what is Real, eternal, and True…noting that, if even life itself is fleeting and impermanent, why would you give an ounce of weight to unwashed opinions steeped in delusion?
Never overidentify with things that are not the Truth and/or the True Self, nor become attached to them. Reject every role that the world tries to, in ignorance or infatuation, force you to play, and choose to remain shining in your pure incorruptible essence, out of which you are inspired to higher actions that do not keep you trapped Karmic entanglement with lost and confused “others” who are steeped in ignorance and illusion.
Nothing, except that which cannot be improved upon or changed, the eternal Source and the True Self, is worth identifying yourself with. Live connected to your True Self for this lifetime and remain free.
Thank you for reading.
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