Burdens of Self

on September 24 | in Inspirations | by | with Comments Off on Burdens of Self

William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress,
depicting the downfall of a man to a debt prison.
"William Hogarth 018" by William Hogarth
Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

I often run into the world-weary man. He peeks out from the eyes of friends, clients, and strangers on the street. The advertising that inundates the surface world evoke him – calls to oblivion and absurd trivialities scream his name from billboards and magazine ads. Often enough, I encounter him in myself too, when my hopes or expectations have been defeated.

When ego is thwarted often enough, it becomes pessimistic or apathetic. You can tell the world-weary man by the way he holds his shoulders, by the way a sigh escapes his mouth untended. He has sadly been overcome by massive burdens of self and struggles merely to go on.

Let’s alleviate his burdens. We must. Nobody else can do it.

The burdens of self can weigh you down until your legs are buried to your knees where you stand. But they’re not necessary, they’re not even real. When our minds are divided, one side judges the other and finds it unworthy – and sets up these burdens as a sort of anti-inspiration to progress. The burdens of self are internal condemnations that arise from bad intentions – just thoughts from that cranky old chatterbox in the mind.

If you intended to work out yesterday but didn’t, then intend to work out today. See whether the stuff you did instead of working out was real or if you just really didn’t want to work out. If you didn’t want to work out, then you must suppose you “owe yourself” a workout. But the problem isn’t that you didn’t work out – it’s that you didn’t want to.

You can’t “owe yourself” exercise, healthy eating, abstaining from addiction, time on a project, or whatever else. You can either have right intention or wrong intention, and you can either correct your intention or not, but dreaming up a debtor’s prison to carry around is all illusion.

There are debts that must be paid. If you’ve harmed someone, then you owe that person restitution to the best of your ability. If you’ve eaten a lot of the industrial output, then your body must go through a process of illness and healing. If you’ve neglected that which is needful, the universe will scream loudly in your ear until you attend your next life lesson. But the problem isn’t that you have incurred debt – it’s that you don’t want to confess your actions to yourself. A lot of times it’s easier to hold guilt than to own up to the part of yourself that did (or didn’t do) whatever, but that’s just doing wheelies in the parking lot.

You can’t “feel guilty” without seeking self-forgiveness. You can either make amends or hide from yourself, and you can either correct your mistakes or imagine you have the power to permanently stain your soul (you don’t), but walking around as a self-despising sinner is also all illusion.

That which is past does not exist, and the world-weary man is an abandoner of faith trying to hide in his own basement. Let us simply make a list of things to do today. Tomorrow let’s look it over to discover any bad intentions we had, then let’s toss the list in the trash – because past deeds are dust, yes, but also because present intention is the rediscovery of faith, bliss, and happiness.

What burdens, what self? The burdens of self are illusions hanging on an illusion. Let’s look at the sunrise for a while – that’s us rising, creating the world again as we do.

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