The Subtle Sickness of Seeking Appreciation

[This article was originally shared in late 2015 with a private group of spiritual practitioners. It has been edited to be shared here, since it has relevance to the spiritual practitioner’s journey]

I’ve been noticing an undercurrent of seeking appreciation for what I do.  And it seems to have been around forever.

For instance, after having performed a healing session on someone, and they’ve left feeling quite happy and nice, I notice that there has been a yearning to have them follow up and let you know how they are doing, and how the healing has sustained or helped them etc. and a feeling that a note of thanks from them would be nice.  Especially from people who only get in touch with me when things are not going well ๐Ÿ™‚

For instance, after indulging in an act of generosity, like giving away a huge chunk of stuff and/or money to a deserving cause, I notice that there has been a subtle yearning for being thanked for the generosity.

For instance, after giving someone a thoughtful and unexpected gift, which alone should have been enough, I notice that there has been a subtle expectation to be thanked for the gift and the thoughtfulness as well.

This sort of seeking appreciation abounds, and I can see it having occurred a whole lot in the past.  And even now, I see subtle, very subtle signals of this affliction in me.

I call it an affliction because it is exactly just that.  A subtle sickness.  An attitude that distorts generosity, giving, compassion and love.  It is as if, there is a built in expectation of reciprocity for generous actions.

And of course, the core of it is the “I”, that thinks it heals, it gives, it protects, it loves and so forth.  Not surprisingly that “I” wants affirmation of its acts.

But the “I” never heals, gives, loves.  It simply usurps the healing, giving, loving of True Self, all of which simply occur when the eternal presence of True Self is not distorted by an “I”.

This subtle sickness of seeking appreciation is just another way the “I” sows roots within the mind-body to participate in the “self improvement” journey, in the “healing” journey, in becoming a “better person” etc.  This is just another insidious way in which the “I” propagates its existence.

Can we heal without expectation? Can we give without expectation? Can we love without expectation?

True Self does.  It is its very nature.  Just look at the breathtaking expanse of creation and see its infinite giving, its infinite love at work.  All this is given with no expectation of any sort.  Effortlessly.

The “I” doesn’t.  The “I” is inherently insecure.  The “I” is a pale, distorted reflection of True Self. In its mimicry of True Self, the “I” can only go so far with its attributes.  So, when it heals, it wants affirmation.  When it gives, it wants acknowledgment.  When it loves, it was reciprocity and thankfulness.

Knowing this play, this drama at work, isn’t this simply one more reason to give up feeding the sense of the separate “I”?  And simply abide in True Self!

Love
Sundar

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