To stop defeating yourself, stop deceiving yourself
Suppose a sick person denies their sickness not just to others but also to themselves. By their denial, they deprive themselves of the good health that comes from proper treatment. Thus their denial and the underlying self-deception end up becoming self-defeating.
All of us are presently in a diseased condition, being afflicted by the malady of selfish desires. When we take to spiritual life, we strive to become principle-centered, refusing to give in to our selfish desires. But we may still find ourselves occasionally overpowered by those desires, thus creating a distance between our talk and our walk.
This distance between walk and talk is itself not problematic – it can even inspire us to intensify our purificatory practices. But it becomes problematic when we become like the sickness-deniers, imagining that nothing is wrong with us. And the problem becomes huge if we believe that the talk alone is enough as long as we can conceal our inability to walk the talk. When our primary endeavor shifts from striving for purification to improvising for concealing our lapses, we descend to self-deception that ends in self-defeat.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (03.06) warns that those who do nothing more than put on a façade of spiritual advancement end up deceiving not just others but also themselves. And they defeat themselves by losing the defining gift of spiritual health: spiritual happiness.
To give up self-defeating self-deception, we don’t have to wash our dirty linen in public, telling everyone about our personal challenges. Nor do we have to entirely give up our services because we are unable to maintain high standards. We do need to, however, invest as much, if not more, effort in walking as we do in talking. By such diligent practice, we can purify ourselves, gradually becoming not just exponents but also exemplars of spiritual truth.
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