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Measuring and the Immeasurable

Pride and Spiritual Practice
Episode No. 137

When we measure ourselves against other people we’re like a single-track train moving between shame and pride, pride and shame. Authentic spiritual practice introduces us to the immeasurable. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

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Maybe you’ve noticed that when you measure yourself against other people (none of you have ever done that) that you measure yourself against people who you can look down upon. Isn’t that really weird? That we would measure ourselves against people who are inferior? I mean, if we’re going to measure ourselves, at least it should be something we’re aiming for, right?

Obviously we do that to make ourselves feel better. And then sometimes if our form of pride is shame (because shame is a form of pride), we might measure ourselves against people we feel are better than we are. But only a little better, somewhat better. So whether we’re measuring ourselves out of some kind of “positive” feeling of pride, or a prideful feeling of shame, we don’t really aim very high or very low. Everything is sort of in the murky middle in terms of who we’re comparing ourselves with. We just sort of remain on a horizontal plane, switching between pride and humiliation, or shame and humiliation.

If any of you are feeling humiliated right now while I’m talking to you, that’s a big clue that you’re on that horizontal track where the train just keeps going back and forth, and back and forth between no station and no station.

There’s not really any place for shame in the process of waking up. When we enter into the path with a certain degree of sincerity, we have to leave shame behind.