Proud as a peacock
Why shouldn’t we be proud of ourselves? Jill Lawson presents a meditation on how we can take pride in all that we are...without strutting around like a peacock
The Yamas are a branch of the Yoga Sutras that outline a yogi’s ethical conduct. Similarly, the seven deadly sins of the Christian faith map out evil doings. While the Yamas suggest we refrain from certain behaviours such as violence, deceit, theft, improper sexual conduct, Christians believe lust, anger, greed, envy, gluttony, sloth, and pride, must be banished. It’s easy to agree with these tenets, except for one. Pride. Why can’t we be proud of ourselves?
Let’s examine the concept of pride. Intertwined with identity and separation, pride fosters notions worthy of avoiding if we are to stay on the spiritual path. When we are full of pride, we might put ourselves above others. This breeds competition. Competition breeds anger, greed, envy, and so on. However, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. While self-esteem is necessary if we want to grow, a big ego is the enemy.
The difference of pride as a virtue versus a vice is whether or not we believe pride is real. If we strut like a peacock, displaying our gorgeous plumages for all to envy, where does our pride go if we become featherless? The following meditation is meant to instil a healthy relationship with pride so it doesn’t hinder your happiness.
Do it now
Come to a comfortable position, free from distractions. Relax and repeat the mantra: “We are one.” Foster a sense of connectedness with all human beings on the planet; both winners and losers, rich and poor, wise and ignorant.
Think of a time you were proud of yourself. Notice how it feels in your body. You may feel full in the chest and superior in your mind. Recognise how this attitude might impact those around you. Do others seem small now? Insignificant? Less than perfect? If you feel a hint of separateness from your fellow humans, continue with this meditation.
Imagine yourself as that proud peacock I mentioned earlier. See each feather representing your accomplishments; big, broad, and beautiful. Now, as you strut, imagine your feathers laying down and trailing behind you. One by one, see each feather fall to the ground. Keep walking. When the last feather has dropped, return to your mantra:” “We are one.”
When you believe that pride isn’t something you wear or hold on to, you’ve overcome this roadblock to happiness. You may one day be stripped naked of your pride but you will remain the same; already perfect, whole, and complete.
This meditation is not to deny effort and accountability. You must do the work necessary for survival, however, trusting yourself empowers the process. When you feel the seams of broken trust mending, the next big step is to trust the universe. Putting your faith in something so mysterious and grand can be daunting, yet hugely rewarding. Can you do it? I trust you can!
Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher enjoying life on the island of Maui in Hawaii (jilllawson.net)
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.