In The Book of Spirits, in question 919, the spirit of Saint Augustine is questioned by Allan Kardec:
Question: What is the most practical and effective way to improve yourself in this life and resist the pulls of evil?
Answer: A sage of antiquity told us: “Know thyself”.
This phrase in St. Augustine’s response was initially uttered by Socrates (470 – 399 BC), being an orientation that he often passed on to his disciples. The big problem is how to get to know yourself in the search for intimate reform.
To make it easier, let’s go to a fact common to the vast majority: procrastination, that is, the famous postponement – “I’ll do it later”, “I’ll get it later”, “I’ll look for it later”, and so on. In that sense, we also cannot disregard our frequent self-sabotage.
We sabotage ourselves even in the important need to maintain good health. Examples:
- Why basically does everyone start their diets on Monday? What’s wrong with starting on Friday? Just because there’s a party on Saturday, family lunch on Sunday, not to mention pizza at night?
- Alcoholic beverages. We promise we won’t drink anything today. Then that friend calls you for happy hour at another friend’s birthday party. There goes the promise!
- Overeating. You abused the day before and you have that gastritis bothering you. Then that same friend invites you to the opening of a new steakhouse, all expenses paid. It’s a lot of temptation, and you can’t hold it. Just take an antacid and eat a lot again.
That is, we are easy to deviate from real obligations to ourselves. Our willpower is still very weak and poorly trained, even in our spiritual obligations. More examples:
- Go to the spiritist center for the week’s lecture. “ Wow! It’s going to rain… Better not go. Leave it for next week.” ; “Today is the championship final, it’s going to be one of those games, you can’t lose! Next week I’ll take my pass”.
- Say daily prayers. “ Wow, I’m really late for work; then I do the morning prayer. I’m very tired, I’m going to sleep and say my prayers tomorrow morning…” (then he wakes up late, and the lack of commitment becomes a cycle).
- Gospel reading at home. “ Today the movie I’ve been waiting for months is going to be shown”; “Today will be the last chapter of the soap opera. Wow, it will coincide well with the time of our Gospel. But I do it every week, exactly, what’s wrong with sticking one?”.
Unfortunately, these examples are becoming more and more frequent, the result of our little vigilance. “ Pray and watch”, is wise advice for those who want to evolve.
Faced with the facts, how can we combat self-sabotage in our intimate reform? I believe that developing some attributes:
- Self-confrontation. It requires breaking down our mental barriers. Us confronting each other will certainly be painful, but necessary if we want to know each other. It is necessary to search in memory for our behavioral characteristics and commitments from when it is possible to remember, passing them to the sieve of ethics and morals, analyzing our bad inclinations in depth. This is what St. Augustine himself did, as reported in his book Confessions. This will take us to the next step for self-confrontation to occur;
- Self-honesty. Being honest with yourself in understanding your failures and difficulties. We need to be honest about pride, selfishness, vanity, and so on, and see how much we are leaving for later. We cannot spare ourselves real honesty with ourselves. For these two stages to be well performed, the third situation will be extremely important;
- Self-responsibility. It’s about how responsible we are with ourselves in this search. Self-responsibility requires daily training in our mental behavior, our thoughts, attitudes, and social life. It is fundamental to evaluate our responsibility daily with the love for the life we live, for the physical body that was given to us, and for the hygiene of our psychosphere in the creation of our thought-forms, according to Andre Luiz, in his book Evolution in two worlds.
Once these steps are completed, we will have to work on our acceptance. When we accept what we are, we break our pride. Self-acceptance allows us to realize that we are not perfect, much less self-sufficient; that we have flaws, needs, and, above all, that we need help.
Want better help than the Gospel of Master Jesus? See what Matthew 18:9 says:
“And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you; you should enter life with one eye than, having two, to be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Extremely clear placement! Of course, we shouldn’t take it literally. Jesus is not asking us to mutilate ourselves but to look more closely at what can lead us to moral downfall and spiritual downfall. Jesus guides us, in this parable, towards self-confrontation, self-honesty, and self-responsibility.
If our attachments, desires, and passions are scandalizing us and compromising our evolution, it is better to uproot them and throw them away. It is certainly something difficult, but necessary for intimate reform.
We need to exchange self-sabotage for self-love.
doctor Alexandre Serafim, president of the Medical-Spiritist Association of Vale do Paraíba, is a partner of the Guardians of Humanity and teaches the Medicine of the Soul course for members of the Guardians of Humanity Program.