Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 4 - The Eleventh Holy Night - The Need for Self-Parody

We often take ourselves too seriously. It doesn’t matter if we are working with our strengths or our weaknesses. We tend to get overly concerned with how we see ourselves. We become self-conscious. We get gripped by the image in the mirror. We obsess over our soul boxes. We spend hours in our balloon, drawing the most accurate maps of our feelings.

Inner Christmas honors the admonition: O Human Soul, Know Thyself!! But asks us to do it with innocence and wisdom, not self-criticism or self-obsession. I’ve used the word soft in these messages and need to use it again. Know Thyself Softly!

For those moments, hours, days when the self-seriousness overtakes your innocence and your wisdom, there is a remedy. It’s brilliant and it always works. I learned about it reading Rudolf Steiner, who spoke and wrote with breathtaking innocence and wisdom revealing the meaning of the great mysteries of the Cosmos and the human soul.

Steiner suggested the practice of self-parody. Whenever you take any aspect of your soul life too seriously, exaggerate it. Big time.

If you get filled with doubt or fear, arrogance or pride, exaggerate it. Be ridiculous. Yes, this takes the courage. You must make a fool of yourself. Once you have done this a couple of times, you will be surprised at how much freedom it provides.

Here is how I suggest you develop the wonderful spiritual practice of self-parody.

Find a time and a place where you will not be interrupted for 10 or 15 minutes. Get a clear picture of what you are overly concerned about - the grand talent or the devastating flaw, the horrific mistake or the brilliant achievement - then picture its opposite.

Step into the middle of the room. Stand tall. Breath deeply. Center your energy on your heart. Feel your spine. Relax your muscles. You are in perfect balance.

Now step to the right. The right is the place of overwhelming, prideful and wicked strength. Using your voice, your words, your body language to act out a larger than life expression of this strength. Go far beyond normal. If you feel shy about this, just give it a try. After a minute or two of this parody, go back to the center and repeat the centering, relaxing and balancing. Feel the energy of your heart and the straightness of your spine.

Now step to the left. The left is the place of fear, doubt, frailty, confusion and weakness. You don’t feel safe or likable in this place. Do a self-parody of this mood for a couple of minutes. Again, be ridiculous and exaggerated. Then, go back to center.

Repeat this process several times. You will find that the center experience increases and the two extremes weaken. From the center you will reconnect with your innocence and your wisdom. You will feel the essence of your self balanced elegantly between spirit and matter. Self-parody is a paradox - the further you exaggerate your imbalance, the more balanced you become.

If you do your Inner Christmas work right before falling asleep, wait until tomorrow to experience this exercise. Otherwise, give it a courageous effort. You may find yourself laughing.

If you have a trusted friend, plan a parody date. Nothing helps this exercise be successful, like an encouraging friend with a wild sense of humor and a great love for you. You may want to do this self-parody on a regular basis. Your soul will thrive.

All our Inner Christmas work during the Twelve Holy Nights is supported by our Angels. Self-parody is a very human capacity and the Spiritual World is amazed at this. When they experience us disappearing into the darkness of our extremes, and then see the light return as we center ourselves, they applaud with delight. They love when we laugh at ourselves with self-compassion. Make your angel happy, give self-parody a "serious" effort.