5. Also, stop being a fixer and rescuer.
BK Gopi had wondered why there were social workers whom she met who were burned out from all the helping that they were doing. (This is really not uncommon.) They were in the business of giving—so shouldn’t they be reaping the fruits of their good karma?
When one fails to look after oneself, one becomes emptier the more one gives. Being a Fixer or a Rescuer is another dimension of the ego—it is the ego using the name of service to get its job done. When you keep fixing other people, you might lose yourself in the process and find that you are not able to live your life without getting involved in someone else’s life. And then your “mission” takes over.
Similarly, it is also unwise to jump in between two people who are in conflict because you will end up getting hurt. Rather than fixing things, work on yourself and be peaceful; support people with real good wishes. “It is probably the best way to help,” Sister Gopi says. Our self-respect must depend on what we do for ourselves, not on what we do for others.
6. Reduce the flow of your thoughts.
When it comes to thoughts, more is not better. If we want to become peaceful, then we must choose what to think and how much we think. There is even a special instruction from a great teacher: “Only create the thought that you are going to put into action. No more.” Stop thinking about the self, about others, situations, events; take care of the mind by reducing the flow of thoughts. Overthinking takes up too much energy, and besides, according to Sister Gopi, “When you are peaceful, you don’t even need to think too much.”
7. Serve by elevating your vibration.
In any situation, there are only one of two things: it is either we give or we take. And wherever we might find ourselves, we need to ask ourselves this question: What can I do to serve? Service is an integral part of self-care. When we talk about serving others, we usually consider service in terms of work or physical effort. But we forget that simply being peaceful is an incredible form of service for the world. In fact, being peaceful or elevating our vibration through meditation is our duty as human beings. When you are spreading vibrations of love, peace, and happiness around you, you are doing the world great service.
8. Start with your own heart.
So where do we begin with all this? It seems like a pretty daunting journey—this search for peace and happiness. We probably know that the best place to start is inside our own hearts. BK Gopi encourages everyone to look at the state of their hearts and to awaken the conscience. “The spiritual journey is a path of deep honesty, cleaning out superficial mindsets, releasing desires and expectations,” she says. The goal is authenticity, honesty, and truth. These are our original attributes anyway, we just have to learn to rediscover them.
You may also check out “How to love the self,” my write-up on BK Jayanti Kirpalani’s Manila talk on July 21, 2016. And if you are interested to learn more about the practice of meditation, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.