Sahaja Improves Self-Esteem
How Sahaja Meditation Builds Healthy Self-Esteem
Meditation offers a practical, systematic method for developing healthy self-esteem. In Sahaja meditation, the state of thoughtless awareness can automatically facilitate several key emotional processes that help configure our self-esteem:
- ego monitoring and regulation
- emotional regulation and emotional maturity
- increased self-awareness
- increased self-confidence
- self-image improvement
- mood improvement
- positive inner dialogue: negative self-talk and faulty thought patterns are diminished
- rejuvenated energy, increased motivation
- integration of conscious (explicit) and subconscious (implicit) self-evaluations
In allowing us to discover the inner Kundalini energy within us, Sahaja meditation ultimately allows us to discover our inner selves. This spiritual energy, which inherently represents the power of love and compassion, naturally endows us with self-confidence, love and positive feelings for ourselves and others. These positive feelings help form the foundation of healthy self-esteem.
One key benefit of meditation, and specifically Sahaja meditation, is an enhanced ability to focus on the present, instead of ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. Thus, the practice of Sahaja meditation automatically reduces feelings of regret about past negative events, near-misses, or failures that can fuel unhealthy self-esteem.
Meditation can help us gradually, truly let go of the past and rise above a low self-esteem set-point that may have been anchored in childhood.
As we progress through the practice of Sahaja meditation, we’re able to improve our personal traits through continual awareness and diagnosis of the blockages or imbalances in our own energy centers. This powerful self-diagnostic ability allows us to monitor our progress, pinpoint the root causes of our problems and solve them efficiently and effectively. We may emerge from meditation with entirely new self-evaluations and a more objective, realistic perspective, enabling us to view situations and relationships rationally and objectively. We’re less susceptible to emotional overreactions and less likely to be negatively impacted by relatively minor events. We have healthier, more secure self-esteem.
Techniques such as meditation that allow us to get in touch with our deep-seated feelings and intuitions serve important self-regulatory functions by helping us integrate and resolve the discrepancies between explicit and implicit self-evaluations. Implicit self-evaluations are more intuitive and occur largely outside our conscious awareness. Explicit self-evaluations are conscious self-appraisals that we’re aware of and can report. (For an in-depth look at implicit versus explicit self-evaluations, see 7 Popular Myths About Self-Esteem.) Meditation has been found to promote congruence between explicit and implicit self-esteem and encourages people to rely more on intuitive feelings of self-worth (Koole, 2007).
Our explicit self-evaluations are often filtered through our implicit self-evaluations, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. People with high explicit self-esteem may consciously feel positively about themselves but harbor implicit or subconscious self-doubts and insecurities, which results in fragile high self-esteem that can be as damaging as low self-esteem. Their conscious, explicit self-evaluations don’t match their subconscious, implicit self-evaluations and this incongruence can cause psychological problems such as narcissism, self-doubt, and stringent perfectionism.
When our explicit and implicit self-evaluations match, however, we have secure high self-esteem. One study found that after one month of meditation training, participants developed a more strongly defined self-concept and came to perceive their “actual self” as significantly closer to their “ideal self” (Berg et al, 1976). Our self-esteem and overall psychological stability improves when we feel that we are living up to our “ideal” values.
Meditation allows us to process how we feel about ourselves objectively, rather than through preconditioned biases or beliefs. Our thoughts are not filtered through negative, immature, or egoistic filters.
The experience of Sahaja’s thoughtless awareness may allow implicit, intuitively represented self-appraisals to become incorporated into our conscious experience of ourselves (i.e., our explicit self-esteem) without judgment, which ultimately promotes secure high self-esteem.
Many studies have found that inner harmony, including the integration of implicit and explicit self-esteem, is greater among people who are highly attuned to their intuition (e.g., Jordan et al., 2007; Pelham et al., 2005). Because meditation focuses our attention inward, we become deeply introspective. We’re less likely to experience hypocritical or artificial impulses, endeavors of the ego that contribute to creating low, ego-driven self-esteem or fragile, artificially high self-esteem.
Ego-monitoring is one of the most important automatic benefits of practicing Sahaja meditation. It becomes easier to keep the ego in check, which results in greater self-control. We’re better equipped to manage our emotions and respond to negative events with emotional maturity. We’re no longer ruled by our impulses. By adding meaning and value to our lives, meditation, and spirituality in itself, automatically helps keep materialistic impulses in check. We become more focused on doing what actually is good, rather than focusing on what we think looks good. The result is that we become better people, which increases our self-respect and strengthens self-esteem.
Meditation makes us more self-reliant. We don’t need to depend on others to provide us with a sense of self-respect. We don’t feel the need to seek proof of our worth from others. We value life. We’re more concerned with developing our innate qualities than accumulating external symbols of status or wealth.
The Spiritual Basis of Improving Self-esteem
Sahaja meditation improves self-esteem by awakening the inner Kundalini energy and nourishing certain energy centers. Specifically, nourishment of the heart energy center (Anahata) directly increases self-esteem by strengthening our sense of security about ourselves. And the energy center at the center of the forehead (Agnya) plays a big role in monitoring and regulating the ego.
The regular practice of spiritual meditation can improve character and personality traits over time, ultimately producing the highest levels of self-respect. When we can maintain high levels of self-respect, we develop a deep reservoir of secure self-esteem.
Berg, WP, Mulder B. Psychological research on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on a number of personality variables. Behaviour: Journal of Psychology, 1976, 4: 206-218.
Koole, S. L. & DeHart, T. (2007). Self-affection without self-reflection: Origins, models, and consequences of implicit self-esteem. In C. Sedikides & S. Spencer (Eds.), The self in social psychology. (pp. 36-86). New York: Psychology Press.