Om Aham Mani Foundation
The Value of Self Assertion.
Assertion - the act of claiming or defending one's opinions and rights.The ability to assert oneself correctly and appropriately is an essential life skill. Correct self assertion involves the ability of defending one's opinions and rights without resorting to aggressive, hostile, and harmful words or actions.
Being appropriate to the current situation is always the best policy. Complete honesty is not always appropriate, but we must remember the golden spiritual rule of: "Be Harmless."
The Young Person and Assertion.
Contrary to so much hype that we receive from certain elements of society, childhood; adolescent; and our twenty's are not usually our "golden years." The child has everything to learn and is completely vulnerable to manipulation from its external and internal environments and their influence. The adolescent is characterized by confusion of identity and complete upheaval and torment of the physical, emotional, and mental spheres - they are subject to intense peer, society and family pressure. The twenty-something is generally characterized by a living out of all that has been learned so far - from childhood and adolescence - a heavily conditioned existence, governed by the inherited personality, filled with pendulum mood swings and a lingering depression and sadness that "all is not right."
The young person is generally in a very weak position concerning self-assertion. Family, peers, teachers, employees, and other authoritative figures make the young person's right to assert themselves rather ungrounded. Self assertion may be viewed as something the young person must earn by long years of servitude to older, "authoritative" persons. The young person asserts themselves at a high risk, for they are in a vulnerable social position.
This is why many young folk may feel pressurized to express their opinions in rather over-the-top, desperate and aggressive manners - the football fan, the pop-group fan, the "gang" member. Alternatively, the young person may give up entirely on the idea of being taken seriously by over-bearing family and society figures, and become internally miserable and defeated by their environmental influences. In this instance depression, resulting from repression, sets in and the individual will soon develop physical symptoms in line with their mental and emotional causes.
So we can see, that the ordinary young person is far removed from the images that bombard them from the glossy and glamorous media industry. The fact that this industry is attempting to portray a lifestyle that, in reality, does not exist, can only have the effect of further frustrating and depressing the young person. Not only is their life confusing and their position very powerless, but they are being lead to believe that everybody else in their age range is having one big party!
The young person may find it very difficult to assert any of their mental, emotional, and physical opinions. There is usually no room for their expression (of the three spheres of human qualities - mental, emotional and physical) in the family, education, orthodox religious, and employment situation. Instead, they are expected to choose certain attributes and opinions from a prescribed set of expectable behavioral patterns, most of which are heavily conditioned and biased toward the established status-quo.
No wonder our young folk become depressed and attempt to find other means to satiate their frustrations from sources outside of the prescribed set of socially acceptable configurations. These same social configurations seem engineered to maintain the young persons sense of helplessness and powerlessness, so a young person with any insight remaining from the years of conditioning, will quite rightly see the hypocrisy and corruption of such "social laws" and will hopefully find a positive and empowering set of social skills that will be life enhancing. The making of a true spiritual person - a saint, a Buddha, a Christ, a loving and whole person - involves this time of discernment - the ability to judge what is true and virtuous and what is false and corrupting. All the dogmas and ideology - thought forms and ways of living - that exist in the young persons life should be studied with a light of spiritual truth.
Useful questions and measurements may be:
This guidance is the purpose of a true religion. Yet so many of the existing orthodox so-called "religions" are little more than selfish, harmful, depressing, and perverted forms of real spiritual Truth. They are corrupted and thus can lead to nowhere but corruption, darkness, confusion and sorrow.
Yoga has retained its purity. Yoga has stood the test of time. Yoga is the root of all this world's religions. Yoga will lead one to purity, goodness, clarity of mind, healthiness of body, maturity of emotions, timeless wisdom, and eventual enlightenment and understanding of the nature of reality - liberation from ignorance and awakening from samsara (a life controlled by the senses and the effects of our karma - actions and thoughts).
The study and practice of yoga will lead the young person to correct maturity - a maturity that is not a product of time but a product of self-awareness and enquiry. This maturity is often far in advance of the society that surrounds the real adult and thus these people are sometimes known as a "saint" or a "genius" - genius that is not necessarily concerned with the intellect. The person who develops the heart centre and grows towards love, levitates towards a wisdom that benefits all who come into contact with them. Yoga leads to the development of the truly mature, spiritual person - grounded in the world yet with enlightenment of the beyond.
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