Self-violence is a funny old thing. It has been plaguing humanity for thousands of years, and is the root cause of much emotional suffering. Also known as being hard on oneself, its origin is internal, as is its cure. This violence starts with the thoughts in our mind and our relationship to them. Simple thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough,” “nobody loves me,” and “I’m an unlucky person,” drift through our awareness, and…
All of a sudden we believe the thoughts. We are caught in a loop of painful thinking, doubting and unhappiness. This habit has developed over years, perhaps lifetimes, and so it can seem like we don’t have much of a choice. Self-violence just gets us, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
We usually believe we have very good reasons for being self-violent. We were treated badly as children, we are misunderstood, we need to push ourselves to get on in life, the list goes on.
To make matters worse, instead of just allowing the self-violence to flow through us and pass, out of habit we fight it. They are just thoughts, emerging from grooves we developed as youngsters, yet they seem to have so much power.
However, there is hope! First of all, self-violence is just a habit, nothing more. Once one has developed the ability to be the watcher of it, one starts to have a real choice. The more stable we become in our experience of being the witness, the easier it is to choose to watch the thoughts rather than resist them. As this continues, we start to notice a presence, an awareness, an aliveness that is so much more enjoyable than thinking.
Hurray! This is the beginning of the end of self-violence. Our awareness is very powerful, and what we focus on grows. So, by continuing to allow the thoughts to just be, our habit of fighting can be reversed. It is not about supressing anything. It is about making a choice not to fuel the fire of inner violence. Over time this awareness will dissolve the violence, and replace it with an aliveness and inner lightness. We learn to wear the world like a light garment. Not taking things too seriously, not taking ourselves too seriously, and becoming a true force for good in the world.
Moving beyond self-violence is a key to inner peace and contentment. Whatever your motivation, just go for it. Start practising today, and you will notice the violence start to fall away very quickly. But remember one thing, be easy on yourself. Treat it as a game, an experiment, but not another pressure.