A Spiritual Guide to Self-Care
"How do we take care of ourselves and transcend the ego at the same time?" It is proverbial. The shoemaker's children don't have shoes. To put it in more mundane terms, we don't take care of ourselves..
Self-care is a phrase that gets thrown about a good deal. It is usually referring to quiet time, eating right, exercising, a spa day, just doing something for yourself. All well and good, but there is a much deeper aspect to it. There are many spiritual and religious traditions that emphasize the immolation or the destruction of the ego self, through self-denial and deprivation. The problematic nature of the ego is real. It is unreliable, blind and, without proper restraint, a master misery maker. But then there is the proponents of the prosperity gospel, wherein God wants you rich and wealth is a sign of grace.
How do we find the balance between transcending the egoic mind and taking care of ourselves? The answer, of course, is the cultivation of discerning wisdom. There are 3 kinds of needs:
The needs of the body
The needs of the soul
The needs of the ego
The needs of the body and the soul can actually be satisfied and yield contentment as a result. The needs of the ego are unending, insatiable and only lead to discontent. The ego is always the "I want" The body and soul are always the "I am" Until some awakening takes place, these 3 are all mixed up with one another. moreover, your genuine needs (body and soul) will remain unmet, when the imaginary and insatiable needs of the ego are being met. Separating out this self-defeating mix is the real goal of true self-care.