Dear self: fuck you.
Maybe, instead of meditating with crystals and chanting mantras, you could just stop being an asshole.
Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t have anything against meditating with crystals (privately*) and chanting mantras, per se. That’s fine. And it’s the latter that’s important.
If I could sum up my lifetime of spiritual work and the canon of human wisdom and devotion, as I see it, it amounts to the following: don’t be an asshole.
I don’t mean to mock or make light of spiritual work and the canon of human wisdom.
Well, that’s not true, I do. Modern spirituality is also easy to mock. (Brilliant mockery, by the way, is what makes RecoveringYogi great.) Though, the real greatness of RecoveringYogi rests not in its mockingly flippant perspective that consistently spews foul language, but instead resides in its capacity to see, express and retain the value of the things it mocks. That’s post-post-modernism, bitches.
Sadly, in all the indulgence of self in the name of indulging the Self, something valuable is often lost, and that’s the refinement of self. It’s troubling to me that most people embedded in the culture and practice of self-awareness, self-improvement and self-empowerment are rarely actually aware, improved or empowered, and are often instead more self-righteous, contemptuous and critical than the “common man.” (Like me and this post, for instance.) The Walt Disney Company, for example, typically treats their employees better than most yoga studios, and they’re big assholes.
You see, my dear friend, I had an experience about five years ago.
One minute I was talking with Adyashanti, and the next minute I was like, “OMG, everything really is one.” And then I woke up the next day and I was like, “OMG, everything is oner.” And then the next day, “Double OMG, everything is onerer.” This went on for about six months, and the experience still rests in my heart and saturates my mind with ecstatic embrace.
From this aha moment forward, I taught yoga less; I taught spirituality more. I did the satsang thing. I blogged. I would talk with people one-on-one and they would have similar experiences… but the experiences would never sustain.
This was all neat. But, sadly, with this new awakening came a lot of awareness, humility and honesty. Suddenly, I knew. I knew what I had been hiding from all my life, and that was the fact that I was an asshole. And, sadly, in my supreme state of resplendent revelatory enlightenment, I knew that I was still an asshole and probably also a total douche bag. In my non-thinking state, a thought floated up through my mind: Dear Self, Fuck You.
I worked all my life to be enlightened, and the only thing I got was the realization that I was—and still am—an asshole.
Waking up doesn’t abolish the ego (which is, very simply, your conception of self—amd even more simply: who you think you are). It just puts it in perspective. With my newfound perspective, I realized I could be a better self. Not from the place of self-awareness, self-improvement or self-empowerment, but simply because that’s what my heart wanted.
Instead of writing a book about waking up or going on a speaking satsang tour, I decided that I would focus simply on being less of an asshole… and also get a real job. I would generally try to be less self-centered. I would help old ladies across the street. (This is hard in West Hollywood because there aren’t many old ladies except the elderly Russian women that smell like cabbage and hang out by Whole Foods.)
Back to my original point: If your yoga doing, crystal rubbing, and handstand pressing isn’t making you less of a self-centered dick disguised in chanting beads, consider doing something else. Otherwise, you too might wake up one day to realize that you’re just an asshole.
About Kris Nelson
Kris Nelson is founder and principal at Krama Consulting and Development, Inc. Kris leads workshops internationally on spirituality for the modern world. He lives in Los Angeles where he can be found teaching yoga in jeans to Snoop Dogg.