Has anyone ever told you that you “take yourself too seriously?” Or, is that a phrase you use to describe someone you know?
And what exactly does that mean – taking yourself seriously? One would think that on some level that would be an admirable trait. But on the other hand, such intensity can be a bit tiresome.
By comparing and contrasting, we get a slightly different perspective on this expression:
Taking yourself seriously compared to taking your Self seriously.
The Razor’s Edge
What is fundamentally important to our core Self, with a capital “S” should be taken very seriously, because
it represents the things that matter most to you. Sometimes the challenge is sifting through the gazillions of mind messages we get on a daily basis just to recognize what is important as opposed to truly trivial. It’s notan easy task, and finding the balance between the two is like balancing on the edge of a razor. Here’s a useful technique for pinpointing the things that matter most to your Self.
Food for Thought
Let’s imagine a time in the far and distant future when you’ve come to the end of this life journey (and please don’t get “weirded out” or macabre on this one!) If you were able to eavesdrop on the people gathered together to reminisce about you, what are the three things for which you would most want to be remembered? Don’t think too deeply about this – just allow the answers to come as swiftly as possible.
Was it being a good parent? A devoted companion? A person who had accomplished his/her goals? That cared about the world?
These are things that you should take very seriously. They are messages from your innermost Self, and it’s likely that you will feel much better about yourself and life, in general, when you begin to take some action to bring them into your reality, if they don’t already exist.
This exercise was enlightening for me in that I realized that I was on track and I could relax a bit. Here are the 3 things I would like to hear:
- She was good friend
- She contributed something to make the world a better place.
- She could laugh at herself.
On the other hand…
So now that you’ve identified what you should be taking seriously, there’s an awful lot of mind noise that is best to disregard or reconsider. In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz teaches that the mind is like a dream “where a thousand people talk at the same time, and nobody understands each other.” The Toltecs called this the mitote, and in India it is called maya. It is so hard to identify what is real when there is a constant barrage of misinformation. As Ruiz cautions, “Everything you believe about yourself and the world, all the concepts and programming you have in your mind, are all the mitote…Humans punish themselves endlessly for not being what they believe they should be.”
Row Your Boat Merrily
Last year I caught the tail end of a special on PBS with Dr. Wayne Dyer – an absolutely brilliant speaker and author, and someone I greatly admire. (I think this was about a “Spiritual Solution for Every Problem.”
He was telling the audience about how he was sitting on the porch and singing with his daughter a song that anyone brought up in the States has probably sung dozens of times, but probably never really paid attention to the words. When he actually pondered on their meaning, he realized that this simple verse contains a treasure chest of wisdom. Do you remember this one?
“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”
We used to sing this in camp, in choruses. I don’t remember Dr. Dyer’s exact interpretation, but here’s mine:
“Row, row, row. Life is about taking action, moving forward – so keep going even when things are rough. This is YOUR boat. This is YOUR journey and no one else can do it for you.”
Gently: Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Down the stream: Without resistance! It’s so much easier that way than trying to go upstream – after all, you are not a salmon.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily: Don’t take yourself so seriously
Life is but a dream: Just as in Don Miguel Ruiz’ description above. And even quantum physicists claim that the deeper they go into penetrating matter, the more it appears that there is an illusory quality to life, created largely by our thoughts and collective beliefs.
Have you launched your “year of positive habits” from January’s newsletter? How about doing a 21-day cycle reciting or singing the song “Row, row, row your boat?” You can sing it with your children, or on your way to work in the car, or while washing dishes. Do 3 choruses and let your mind reflect a bit on the meaning as you do. This one should be fun and relatively simple. And I am pretty sure that after 21 days you will have a lighter perspective.
“When you change the way you look at things, you change the way things look.” ~Wayne Dyer, The Power of Intention, a fabulous 4 hour special on PBS