Esteem Cleaning

Michael McAlister Blog Leave a Comment

In my book, I cover several areas of what it means to be a “self” and how our addiction to “self hood” can lead us astray. Recently, I offered up a post dealing with an issue that I frequently run up against as a teacher, one that always sounds something like: How can meditation make me feel better about things. Better yet, how is it that this practice can make me feel better about me.

Unfortunately, these esteem needs help practitioners miss the point of integrating stillness into their lives:

The purpose of a deep stillness practice is not to seek a lowering of our blood pressure, or to get a break from the kids, or to escape our situation. Meditation might, in fact, lower our blood pressure, ease the tension we might feel with our kids, and help us deal with our pain in more constructive ways, but an authentic stillness practice does not allow us to take refuge from life. – Chapter 3

We can best serve all beings if we really look at what’s going on in our experience with fearless honesty:

… the continual study of all things personal, however, inevitably brings up questions surrounding the core of all to which we could ever cling. This is a natural process that each of us goes through as we mature over the developmental stages of life: we go past our childhood, for example, yet bring it along as we mature. In spiritual work, we go past the unconscious tendencies of the small self, yet we can bring the small self along in a supporting role as we evolve into a conscious expression of the Big Self. – Chapter 7

Ultimately, this Big Self has no need for anything, let alone praise. As Awakening unfolds, esteem needs are seen as impediments to Realization. Done correctly,

our meditation continually reminds us that the free expression of this deep singularity is only ever blocked by our unconscious attachments to the things that we think define us. – Chapter 7

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