Enemy.

This is one of my all time favourite quotes and when someone sent this image to me on WhatsApp, I immediately wanted to share it with my readers.  It is innocuous to begin with till one starts to reflect on it.  And then, bang, it hits one like a thunderbolt that this is a very profound and true statement.

Another great writer went a step further and came up with some more profundities – “Like every man, I am my own worst enemy but, unlike most men I know too that I am my own saviour.” ~ Henry Miller.

Let me share a story of a man who I know well. He is a very wealthy self made man in his seventies with extensive properties in and around Pune. His world and conversation revolves around his wealth and how much he benefits from it as well as how much he suffers from it. He is suspicious of every one and therefore is lonely and bitter but unlike Henry Miller does not understand that he has to be his own saviour. He has become a hypochondriac as, at least in my opinion, he has nothing better to do. He comes to me often to let off steam because I give him a patient hearing and have no interest in his wealth. When I point out to him that he is lonely because he is unable to stop showing off and be considerate but, he is unwilling to accept that as a character flaw. He continues to be miserable and all his wealth goes to finance his constant consultations with medical practitioners of all specialities.

On the other hand, there is another friend who is far from wealthy but a great human being unfortunately prone to panic attacks and depression. We became good friends a few of months ago after we became closer to each other than we were before due to a series of unintended developments. I shared with him my experience of overcoming depression through consultation with a psychiatrist and suggested that he too does that. He took my suggestion, and today accepts his failings with his relationships, has made amends and is better off for doing just that. He now understands that he is his own saviour.

In my own case, my exposure to Vipassana meditation 35 years ago enabled me to look into the mirror to see the reality of myself and find ways of overcoming my weaknesses. Having kept up regular practice, I have been able to handle life’s vicissitudes with some equanimity. To anyone who asks me for guidance, my first recommendation is to learn to meditate using any technique and inevitably, those who do, benefit and learn how to manage their own enemies. I strongly believe that meditation IS learning to love oneself by handling the enemy within.

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10 Responses to Enemy.

  1. Wisewebwoman says:

    Lovely Ramana, great post, great reflections on our humanity and the ability to change. I do meditate, as you know, every morning. Tao being my go-to.

    XO
    WWW

  2. When I was in my 20’s I suddenly noticed that I was always understanding and tolerant of other people, but I was always critical of myself. I was on the way to work and when I got there I went into the restroom, looked straight into my eyes in the mirror, and promised myself that no matter what happened I would be there for myself. I’ve always been supportive and encouraging since then, so it was one of the best commitments I’ve ever made in my life.

    As you know, I take a more creative view of life than you do, and I started studying the art of living/personal growth when I was in high school. A big part of the is Taking Responsibility for our lives.

    My daily meditation practice is doing some painting/drawing/scribbling for at least a short period. Don’t forget, art is meditation too.

  3. nick says:

    I’m very aware of all my inner demons and neuroses and bad habits, and I’ve come to terms with them all so as to have some degree of inner peace and not be fighting myself all the time.

    An awful lot of people are obsessed with wealth and always trying to make themselves even wealthier. It must be absolutely soul-destroying. As long as I have enough money for a reasonably comfortable life, I’m happy.

    • I don’t begrudge the success with making money. I simply cannot stand the constant showing off of it. Money shouts, wealth whispers and I like the latter. I am not wealthy by any stretch of imagination but, I too am comfortable with what I have and content.

  4. Diane Dahli says:

    It’s a powerful quote, and I know it will stick in my mind for most of the day! I can’t believe I’m still battling my inner demons at this time in my life!

  5. Holly J says:

    Wonderful quotation.

    You know, I’ve never really understood meditation. There’s the “let your mind go blank” variety, which seems impossible, if not pointless, but might allow me to better empathize with some people today. Then there’s the kind that really just seems like the same lifelong habit everyone’s tried (unsuccessfully, I’m happy to add) all my life: daydreaming.

    That said, I’m a happy little introvert and have always been my own best friend (even when I’m irked, frustrated, overly critical, or “of two minds” with myself over something). So maybe I don’t have to understand it.

    Maybe I do it right, naturally.

    I took a yoga class for a while. That lion breathing thing just invariably made me collapse on the floor in giggle foods. But I’m expert at the corpse pose. (Sounds hilarious even if I just leave it at that, but hear me out…) I asked the instructor (who always annoyed me with that little bell and notice it was time to leave) if it was normal to go completely numb, hover around the room, grow bored, and mentally travel the world while I was supposed to be laying there “blanking my mind.” He looked shocked and told me that was what we we’re aiming for, but some people never got there.

    My problem’s always been finding the motivation to come BACK.

    SO, dunno, but he said I was pretty good at it. It was nice to hear that, considering how mad it used to make my teachers in grade school.

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