Mark D. English

Challenging specious arguments & limiting beliefs

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Gaining a Strong Sense of Self

If you’re going to have a way of looking at yourself, you should do so in a positive and secure manner.

If you’re a truck driver and you see yourself as a truck driver and when you see or think of other truck drivers you think, “I am one of them; this is how the world should see me,” that gives you a sense of self, a self-awareness of how you fit and what role you play in the world. It helps with your self-esteem. You’re confident about who you are and what role you’re playing in this world. Likewise, if you were a gardener or a doctor or a police officer, etc.

I haven’t had a secure sense of self-identification, a sense of who I am, for the longest time. And it is conducive to increased insecurity and low self-esteem. Part of the problem that caused this is I have been contradicting myself. Prior to that, back in my late teens, I committed myself to—or at least sincerely progressed towards—being a sincere Sri Chinmoy disciple. If I was, that would mean the role I played in this world was one of a monk.

As a sincere Sri Chinmoy disciple, you ask yourself: do I want the vital life, or do I want the spiritual life? Your vital life involves finding not your soul-mate, but your vital-mate— your sex partner.

So, by the time I became 22, I was at least partially a monk. I thought maybe fully, but I wasn’t sure and was naive. I mean meditation was making me very good looking. So, naturally, as a 22-year-old man, I often thought about whether or not I’d ever get married. And I often noticed various female disciples. They were pretty. Would I ever marry one of them?

Then I suddenly lost my ability to meditate. And I began to find fault with my Master—contradicting myself, since I already knew he didn’t have faults.

Then I contradicted myself further: Since my Master spiritually touches me in a way I find humiliating and I can’t meditate, I am going to drink. As a spiritual person who has experienced deep meditation, I strongly value the health and state of my consciousness. But I began to drink a lot and quite frequently, contradicting myself.

Then I contradicted myself further. I made it my goal to find a hot wife. With one foot, I was standing in the spiritual-life boat (because I didn’t really believe in what I was doing) and with the other foot, I was standing in the vital-life boat.

Throughout the years, although I still couldn’t meditate, sometimes I would be more spiritual, yet there were other periods I would drink, and even some periods I took street drugs to help give me the confidence and talkativeness to meet a hot girlfriend. Other times I would get angry and find fault with my Master.

I continued to contradict myself—without even fully realizing it. I made people think I was something I am not. And didn’t know who I was or what role I was playing in the world.

Am I a web designer? An author? An activist? Just some jokester? A bachelor in need of a wife? In between? I was never sure.

I have a good friend and I decided—gradually, mind you—that that is the extent of my romantic life. I will not be trying to hunt down a hot girlfriend or wife. I have given up alcohol. This is what I have recently dedicated myself to. I am more aware now of how much I have contradicted myself over the years.

And with this increased awareness and by making these commitments, and by realizing my passion is to write a massive book—while getting rid of my expectations for world appreciation—I realize who I am in this world, how I should see myself and present myself. Which increases confidence, and thus equanimity and a clearer direction.

I am a monk.