Dear friends, here we are at the fourth point:
4. They never seek to justify or defend themselves, but accept all judgment by others dispassionately, as experiences given them by God for their higher good.
It is the ego that always wants to justify itself and feel it’s better (even than others), because of its distance from the supreme perfection given by Spirit.
When, through deep meditation, we become one with Spirit and experience His Peace and Love in us, we no longer need external confirmation and the approval of others, nor can their disapproval hurt us anymore.
It may be that praise is just, but as we are aware that in a spiritual sense we are, after all, only children, we will know that the only one who actually deserves praise is God, and it’s the same with regard to criticism: it may well be deserved, but if we are aware that we are only little children who are learning to grow spiritually, we will also know that in the process of growth it is inevitable to make mistakes. If, on the other hand, the criticism is undeserved, then we will do well to remember that the person who brought it upon us is also, like us, a spiritual child who can make mistakes, and we will not be touched by them.
When Sri Yukteswar once (voluntarily, to bring Yogananda to absolute perfection) humiliated the Master in front of everyone, he was not touched by it. As the others laughed at him he thought, “I have a treasure in my heart that none of you have.” Later, referring to his Guru he said (Autobiography of a Yogi), “For every humbling blow he dealt my vanity, for every tooth in my metaphorical jaw he knocked loose with stunning aim, I am grateful beyond any facility of expression. The hard core of human egotism is hardly to be dislodged except rudely. With its departure, the Divine finds at last an unobstructed channel. In vain It seeks to percolate through flinty hearts of selfishness.”
You must learn to control your speech and behavior, especially when you are mistreated. Don’t allow yourself to become a doormat, letting others trample on you, but never lose your unruffled calmness or attitude of forgiveness, especially when you are the target of criticism. Few people can control their outer behavior, and even fewer can control their inner balance during a bombardment of unkindness from others.
Always resist the impulse of acting under the influence of a spirit of revenge. It is easy to slap back with hurtful words when someone reviles you, but it takes great inner strength to refrain from doing so. Protect your inner peace and calmness by silently resisting all ill treatment.
If you have a tendency to become angry at slight provocation, find the affirmation which has the most meaning for you and repeat it to yourself until your subconscious mind is clear of any tendency to anger and harsh speech. Affirm divine calmness and peace, and send out only thoughts of love and good-will.
Clarity Magazine Archives – Keys to Spiritual Progress
by Paramhansa Yogananda
Praise does not make me better, blame does not make me less What I am before my conscience and my God, that is what I am and I don’t care what the world says about me.
by Paramhansa Yogananda – Patanjali Classes
Praise does not make me better, blame does not make me less
by Paramhansa Yogananda
Testimony of Pilgrim Ada Maria:
When I read point 4: ” They never seek to justify or defend themselves, but accept all judgment by others dispassionately, as experiences given them by God for their higher good.,” I was quite puzzled and, I admit, almost annoyed: it just seemed like a “mission impossible”!
Of all the hallmarks that our Swami proposed to us as cardinal points to set the course of our renunciate lives, this one was perhaps the most difficult for me.
I meditated on it and slowly felt a new awareness growing in me: I felt that behind this point was an invitation to practice two fundamental qualities in my life as a yogini: santosha, contentment, and vairagya, detachment.
So it is, therefore, that detachment (vairagya) teaches me every day to move away from the swing of what attracts me (raga) or arouses aversion in me (dvesha), thus learning to free myself from reactivity (even to judgments!) and to fly higher and higher, like an eagle soaring through the sky, to catch the great divine plan unfolding in my path.
Contentment (santosha) invites me to nurture my joy inwardly every day, without having my heart rippled by the judgment of others, deeply grateful to God and trusting in Life, which always manifests what is right for my evolution and … “for my Highest Good”!