Oftentimes, we will feel that our happiness depends in some way on impressing other people. Maybe we are attracted to someone and we think if we can impress them with our beauty or intelligence or charm, they will like us. Maybe it is a client or employer that we want to impress to increase or secure our income. Maybe we just want to impress the people around us to enhance or maintain the image of our self that we hold in our mind as being good, attractive, intelligent, savvy, and so on. When we are focused on impressing others, we will often find ourselves speaking and acting in ways that feel artificial. When we do this – when we give up our integrity in order to try to get some attention or respect from another – we feel unhappy and anxious inside. We may experience a little bit of temporary happiness from our efforts, but deep down, we feel just the opposite.
The more we do this, the more difficult it can be to stop doing it. We feel unhappy or lacking in some way, so we seek the admiration or affection of others. When any initial rush we feel from getting some attention from others fades away – and it always does - then we end up feeling even more empty and anxious inside. It is like a hunger that increases the more that we eat. The more we choose artificiality over integrity the more painfully distant we become from what feels right and true in our heart of hearts.
When we find ourselves caught up in this kind of behavior, steadily moving farther and farther away from the voice of wisdom and truth in our hearts, how can we find our way back to center?
Although this seems like a desperate situation, the solution is actually quite simple if we understand who we really are.
According to the ancient yoga scriptures and other bona fide scriptures of the world, we are not the material body or the mind – we are eternal spiritual beings temporarily wearing the material mind and body. The gross physical body can be compared to outer clothes and the mind or subtle energy body can be compared to under clothes. Just as we are not the clothes we are wearing, we are not the material bodies we are wearing either.
If we understand that we are not the material body we are wearing – and not the mind either – then we will no longer seek happiness and fulfillment through trying to improve or enhance our material “clothes." Instead, we will seek happiness and meaning in terms of our true identity as a spiritual being. The most direct way to do this is through directly connecting with our spiritual Source.
In the ancient yoga system, the recommended method for consciously linking up with our spiritual Source is mantra meditation. A true mantra is not something anyone makes up. It is the Absolute Truth in sound vibration. This spiritual sound vibration descends from the spiritual platform to the material world without losing any of its potency. In mantra meditation, a person hears and chants or sings this spiritual sound and thus is directly relating with the Supreme. This listening of spiritual sounds has a profound purifying effect on our consciousness.
Through the daily practice of mantra meditation, our hearts and minds gradually become purified of material misconceptions and misgivings. As the false ideas we have about ourselves naturally fall away, we increasingly experience and taste the sweetness of our true nature. The more we taste this transcendental sweetness of the holy & sacred mantras from bona-fide sources, the less we are attracted to the shallow highs (and lows) of false prestige and artificiality. There simply is no comparison between real happiness obtained through self realization and the false so-called happiness of external pomp. As soon as we taste enough of the real thing to know the difference, we simply have no desire for anything less.
Instead of seeking to impress others, we will be moved to relate with them in a genuine way – not seeking any special attention, simply speaking and acting honestly from our hearts as far as possible. Instead of trying to get something from them, we can try to humbly offer them a most valuable gift - the opportunity to be themselves, too. The more real we are, the more real others around us will tend to be. This is far more pleasurable and rewarding for everyone than anything ever invented to impress someone. We gradually cultivate real wisdom and enhance our spiritual understanding.
When we are living in integrity with our true nature, valuing sincerity over artificiality, others around us are more likely to do the same. So by choosing to invest our time and energy in uncovering who we truly are - and living in the integrity of what we discover - we are encouraging others to live more authentically, too. This sets a much needed new standard for relating with one another – a standard based not on trying to be superior to others, but on trying to help each other and inspiring in the world a more genuine and loving way of living together.