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.”
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.