Is Self-Pity A Step Toward Enlightenment? - The Shankara Experience

Is Self-Pity A Step Toward Enlightenment?

Is Self-Pity A Step Toward Enlightenment?

We all feel pitiful now and again. 

Some double-down on this sentiment, unable to rise into – and then through the emotional fodder that binds them. They believe the Self-pity is real and then buy a house with it. After moving in, they can barely function. Self-pity is a lousy roommate and a horrible lover. It’s also an egoic illusion.

The most focused of us sit in Self-pity for a moment and then say – f*ck this – I’m going to cry for 2 minutes – then I’m going to leave my ego behind and then rise and rise into my divine nature until I can only see the stars.

In the context of the path toward enlightenment, Self-pity can be seen as a hindrance or obstacle that arises from ego, a lack of awareness, or misunderstanding of the nature of life and reality. 

Self-pity is most often a Self-centered emotional response to perceived hardships or suffering, often accompanied by feelings of victimization, helplessness, and resentment towards oneself or others. 

Once we step into Self-pity, our bodies validate the feelings by generating addicting chemicals. This further cements us to the patterns related to complaining and feeling stuck and undeserving of flow, light, and love.

Where Does Self-Pity Come From?

Self-pity arises from an egoic identification with personal struggles or difficulties, rather than the potential of a moment or impulse. It reflects a narrow perspective that focuses on one’s own suffering while overlooking the interconnectedness of all Beings and the impermanent nature of existence. 

In essence, Self-pity reinforces a sense of separateness and reinforces the illusion of a fixed, independent self. We imagine our pain is greater than The Divine and The Divine within us. Weimagine ourselves to be an object of our pain and desires, rather than an infinite Being experiencing as the eyes, ears, and body of God.

We might consider that to expand God’s universality in every soul’s experience, we might permit ourselves only to respond as God might require. Rise up, dear soul, rise up!

On the path toward enlightenment, Self-pity gives us a unique set of opportunities:

1 – it serves as a valuable point of reflection and insight into our own conditioning and attachment to the ego.

2 – It points to areas where we may be clinging to a limited view of ourselves and The Cosmos, and where there is an opportunity for growth and transformation.

3 – The moment this pity arises, we should be aware that we have already acquiesced to the ego, which serve nothing other than itself.

By cultivating awareness and a sense of non-ego, individuals can begin to observe the arising of Self-pity without identifying with it or becoming consumed by it. This allows for a deeper understanding of the underlying causes and conditions that give rise to Self-pity, such as past traumas, unmet needs, unrealistic expectations, or addiction to emotionality like sadness and despair. 

The Advaita Vedanta (Ancient Teachings) On Self-Pity

Advaita Vedanta, one of the classic Indian paths to spiritual realization, offers a profound perspective on the nature of self and reality that can shed light on the experience of self-pity. At its core, Advaita Vedanta teaches non-duality — the idea that the individual self (Atman) and the universal consciousness (Brahman) are one and the same. From this viewpoint, many of the emotional experiences that seem deeply personal and troubling, including self-pity, can be understood in a new light.

What is Self-Pity According to Advaita Vedanta?

Self-pity might be seen in Advaita Vedanta as arising from a misunderstanding or ignorance (Avidya) of one’s true nature. It’s a form of suffering that stems from identifying too closely with one’s ego (Ahamkara) and its narratives, rather than recognizing one’s deeper identity as Atman. This identification with the ego leads to experiencing the world through a dualistic perspective of separation, leading to various forms of emotional distress, including self-pity.

What Should We Do About Self-Pity?

Advaita Vedanta offers several practices and conceptual shifts to overcome the feeling of self-pity:

Self-Inquiry (Atma Vichara): A practice encouraged by Ramana Maharshi, a modern proponent of Advaita Vedanta, involves questioning the nature of the “I” or ego that feels pity for itself. By deeply inquiring “Who am I?” one may come to realize the non-dual nature of the self, leading to a dissolution of the ego and its sufferings.

Meditation (Dhyana): Regular meditation helps in quieting the mind and reducing identification with the transient thoughts and emotions. It can lead to a direct experience of the self’s unchanging nature, separate from the ego’s fluctuations.

Study of Scriptures (Svadhyaya): Engaging with sacred texts like the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and other Advaita literature can provide insights into the non-dual nature of reality, helping to shift perspective from the ego-centric view.

Guru’s Guidance: The guidance of a knowledgeable teacher can be invaluable in navigating the path of Advaita Vedanta. A guru can provide personalized advice and support to overcome spiritual obstacles, including the tendency towards self-pity.

Practicing Detachment (Vairagya): Developing a sense of detachment from the outcomes of one’s actions and the fluctuations of one’s emotions can reduce the intensity of feelings like self-pity. It helps cultivate a state of equanimity and inner peace.

In essence, Advaita Vedanta and its practices aim at the realization of one’s true self as non-dual and infinite consciousness. This realization naturally diminishes the sense of personal woe and self-pity, as one comes to see the broader perspective of unity with all existence. The path suggests that by understanding our true nature, we transcend the small, ego-bound self and its sufferings, including self-pity, finding instead a state of bliss and freedom inherent in our real identity.


As you develop greater insight and sensitivity to the rawness of reality, you come to recognize the inherent impermanence and interconnectedness of all phenomena. This realization fosters a sense of compassion, empathy, and acceptance towards oneself and others, which gradually diminishes the grip of Self-pity and other egoic patterns.

You are more than your thoughts, more than your ego, and more than whatever label you give your Self. Nothing is limiting you except your addictions and your mind, both of which are illusions. You believe Self-pity is real so you double down on it – and then you’re on a train to nowhere, fast.

When you feel Self-pity, you feel it, allow it, release it, if at all, then move on. You don’t pack up all your belongings and move in together. You don’t write a 3 act Broadway play about it. You don’t believe that it’s your forever lover in the moment. You witness your Self-pity – or any exaggerated egoic burst – like a shooting star. It’s here then gone – but only if you allow it.

Ultimately, the journey toward enlightenment involves transcending the limited perspective of the ego and the dizzying emanations of a desperate mind – and realizing our fundamental interconnectedness with all of existence throughout spacetime. 

Self-pity, along with other egoic tendencies, serves as a divine teacher and profound catalyst for our inner transformation, guiding us toward greater wisdom, compassion, and liberation from suffering.

Soon, you won’t identify with the “me” that is in pain or the “I” that has to release stories and have realizations. Soon, you’ll just step out of whatever is debilitating and continue with your day, barely giving it a moment’s focus.

Nothing limits you. You are the most advanced creature on Earth. If a tiger can awake and hunt without lamenting, so can you.

To become truly self-empowered and self-reliant, enjoy The Shankara Oracle.

Shri Krishna Kalesh
Author: Shri Krishna Kalesh

Shri Krishna Kalesh is a mystic who guides people as a Spiritual Guide, Intuitive Reader, Dharma Teacher, and Coach. He has served thousands of people toward their healing and expansion - through personal sessions, mystical readings, courses, and retreats. His mission is to help others source their own boundless creative genius and joy, embody virtue, find clarity, and master their lives. Shri Krishna Kalesh created The Shankara Oracle as a divine portal to The Unlimited, All-Knowing, All-Conscious Universe.

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