Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” How many of us have been taught that to think of others more than yourself earns you extra Brownie points? This sets up a major ego trap! If we do this, we get smug and perhaps keep track of our good unselfish acts but when they are not reciprocated, unconscious resentment builds. Right?
It is as if you were playing a game of cards with a friend and you are dealing saying “One for you and one for you and another for you ...well, one for me but another for you.” Then the game is played, and guess what? You lose!! This is followed by disappointment, possibly unexpressed anger, or self-pitying martyrdom. One finds oneself thinking “After all I have done for so-and-so, you’d think they would at least ...”
That is the trap! It upsets the balance.
Here Jung’s distinction between ego and Self makes all the difference! Jesus did not advise us to love our neighbor’s ego as one’s own ego!! He meant love thy neighbor’s Self (Divine Guest) as you love your own Divine Guest! It is that simple. When you do something for the Spirit in the other, you must not deprive the gift to the Spirit within yourself. This thought is also hinted at in Christ’s words, “Whatsoever ye have done unto the least of these my children ye have done it unto me.”
In Hinduism, and India, especially, the common greeting is “Namaste!” This translates to “I bow to the Divine in you.” To be sure, the meaning is not always conscious when uttered, but the unconscious utterance is implied millions of times a day.
Can we not see that by keeping the balance we save ourselves from unnecessary inflation about being a “good” person and in loving our Self we move toward the goal of the coming Age, which is to “Love thy neighbors, they are thyself!”
Well, today that seems a lot easier said than done, but cheer up, we have 2000 years to reach that point! So if you are sick of hearing about the “New Age,” keep this in mind!