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Getting in touch with your Core — Thoughts on Apathy and Narcissism:
Let me start off by saying — I’m a narcissistic bastard. Sometimes, I’m just so concerned, about how I look. But aren’t we all concerned about something? Bear with me please, I’m not trying to bore or upset anyone, or even cause adverse feelings, but here goes:
Have you ever wondered how many cosmetic surgeries happen in Dade county alone on a monthly basis? Now, take that number, and think about every county in the United States (granted, some counties, such as Dade may rank higher on the list than others) and wonder about that monthly number. Now think of Canada, North and South America… Get where I’m going with this?
But, there’s those whom so boldly profess “I’m not concerned with looks” or “I would do that but I’m too old/decrepit/fat/busy/infatuated ect to worry about that” …just because. Even so, there are other “image enhancement” things you could concentrate on.
There’s also those whom dwell on how much material can be accumulated — not for actual necessity, but for what “aura” can be displayed through the “possession” of otherwise irrelevant material. Maybe I might be concerned about the perceived entropy of my own body and you may be more focused on driving that shiny Range Rover so that you too, can claim your narcissistic stake in this world which we all share space. Of course, statistically, I’m kind of certain a small enough percentage of readers will be Range Rover drivers for the reasons I just mentioned to be all that true, but you may be able to somehow relate.
To me, narcissism is a way of thinking, sort of like a plague, that crawl around in the unconscious mind influencing many of our thoughts (about ourselves), feelings and behaviors. You could even say that “Narcissism is a motive for much suffering.”
– Yet, so is apathy. The utter, helpless sense of being too overwhelmed, hopeless and fearful to change anything. Granted, life, on a full spectrum may not be apathetic at all, yet in the recesses of the mind, those spaces do exist – and there is likely “content” and stories attached. Oh the burning those tuning into the apathy channel must endure. The hostile nights, the dry days and the zest-less sky of grey clouds always looming…Apathy too can creep into the mind, influencing thoughts, feelings and ideas about ourselves.
Could it be, both are sides of the same coin? Could there be a deeper core to any of this? Could narcissism be reflected as a fear of rejection laced with the subtle truth, that despite our best and most grandiose efforts to prove otherwise, entropy – the slow decay – of everything here, including ourselves, is part of the program? Could it be a way of expressing fear that each and every living being here is on a direct, one way destination that we all share a certain, definite sense of security in. All of us here now, will die at some point. Could it be there’s wonder, trepidation and fear of where that may lead?
Have you ever wondered how much more than just a word “apathy” is? Could it partially be that, despite our highest efforts, there are things in life that we must all bear witness to, despite aversion, protest and unwillingness. There are events, things that happen that are absolutely horrifying that we are completely powerless to do anything about — Even though we want to SO badly.
There are things, we feel so hurt by, that we simply cannot control. There is constant loss – that even the sense of extreme gain can cause. In apathy, those same reminders (in narcissism) are present. Could apathy (in some way) reflect a feeling of being over it, simply disgusted and not wanting to be here at all? Even if that seems a bit extreme of a suggestion, if you stripped the layers away, isn’t that part of what’s in the core of the feelings?
For me narcissism has showed up as the consistent internal nagging to be in shape. To look good. To keep all my hair. To have a “six pack” stomach. To improve – to get better. It’s the level of concern I actually have (at times) with my ability to do anything about the nature of appearance of how fat looks when it accumulates in “excess” on my body. It’s seemed to take a different, softer, older appearing texture as I have reached my upper 30′s. When I was younger it didn’t look that way. I was tighter. So now I have to work much harder. I have to watch what I eat even more. I have to prepare my food and bring specific, kind of restrictive in relation to what I would like to eat, amounts. I have practice a specific, highly technical, free flowing, practice of what I think of as “fitness yoga” that focuses on the core of the body every day.
Thank that’s narcissistic? On the screen, put the way I just put it, it cold be. But it’s a web in which we can all become ensnared in one way or another. I know of a person who sits in a basement somewhere, measure self worth by the roomful of designer stuff being stored there. Does that rationalize my own narcissism? Or is that too, one of the cunning, clever and genius ways in which we become so ensnared in it’s web that we simply become blind (by choice) of our own feelings / desires/ motives / thoughts and actions. Hiding under the veil of narcissism, I would NEVER admit, after deeply pondering the meaning of such, that I was narcissistic.
But I will tell you that once the veil is lifted, once I stop point diversionary fingers, once certain questions of thine self are inquired, once proper thought and concentration (including discovering how to concentrate) are applied — so many consequences of holding onto (via concentration and effort to it’s whims) narcissism become obvious. If not kept in check, like any addiction, life can feel, in many ways, like a war, waged in the mind about the state of the body (in my case). If not kept in check — if taken too seriously, so can narcissism.
Again, on the other side of the fence, there’s apathy. Unwillingness. Fatigue. Resistance to change — and everything disappointing that inevitably can come with change. It’s sitting still. It’s being a helpless victim of circumstance. It’s giving up, resigning and shutting the mind down.
With a closed mind, the world becomes smaller. Lines become more definite – and the mind always finds reasons to “keep it that way” — Thinking outside the bondage of those internal walls causes suffering, yet so does the bondage. Maybe you have your own special way of thinking about apathy, but that’s one take I have on it. And yes, I admit, apathy can be such a tantalizing channel to tune into and feed with your mind. The news is full of it — another reminder that you’re not alone…
At the core, I feel apathy also reflects our fears and aversions. One way that I have been working through it (and narcissism) is through the very devices that can become consumed by it. By working with breath, asking myself questions, and practicing my variation of yoga, which to me, is a way of getting in core with the core of the body I am able to tune in and find a truth. I am able to feel both narcissism and apathy at the same time – practice understanding, accepting and working through them. I figure that if I’m unaware of that which I am feeding, I can more easily become consumed by it than if I were to working on getting to know, appreciate and understand it.
Maybe yoga’s not your thing, and that’s fine. I practice and share it on many levels, so I am just relating to it as a form of expression. The idea of writing this was more to inspire more of us to start asking ourselves questions that matter, and being patient enough for feedback to occur. Then the choice can become — what channel do I wish to tune in to, focus on, feed – and ultimately radiate? What’s your practice?
About the author:
Paul shares Hathaway Alignment Science with others (http://americanyogafoundation.org) and encourages self reflection.