Overcoming Embarrassment


I am a 38 year old single woman with childlike personality but I am responsible and work with dedication.A senior guy used to notice this and it used to make him smile.We dont talk. I feel very shy in his presence but this has caused me to desire his guidance,assurance and understanding.He is married with two kids.I had to leave my job because a lady who dislikes me ,made my feelings public, causing even more embarrassment to me. How to deal with my feelings?

—Anu, India


Dear Anu,

I am sorry to hear that you lost your job! But you have potentially gained an important lesson in keeping boundaries. There is a footnote in the famous classic story, “Autobiography of a Yogi,” by Paramhansa Yogananda, in which he quotes Buddha as saying the reason we should love all beings is that at some point in our long history of reincarnation we have known everyone! My, my: an astounding thought.

Yogananda’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, was drastic in his training of Yogananda and other disciples in his ashram. His motto was “Learn to Behave!” Admittedly, this is easier said than done. But the fact that each one of us might find an attraction, even completely innocent, or not, to another person has its roots deep in the human psyche. Whether as a father image, a mentor, or as a man (to a woman), the possibilities for reasons for your interest in this man are manifold.

Therefore, it is less important that you felt drawn to this man than it is whether it was appropriate to:

1. dwell mentally upon it and nurture the attraction in your heart and mind.

2. to disclose your feeling to a co-worker (who then betrayed those feelings and caused you to lose your job)

3. or, ultimately, to have acted upon it (which from your telling, you did not).

The lesson then is not complex: when you feel an attraction to another person (for any reason whatsoever), you must learn to discern whether it is appropriate at all; or, whether there is an appropriate way to express it, or not.

We can call this “learning our boundaries!” In today’s society, unlike in the past, men and women mix more or less freely in society: in public; in the workplace; in homes; and at school. Thus we are no longer “protected” by socially imposed taboos or boundaries and we, therefore, have to learn them on our own. Thus we see the admixture of many so-called mixed marriages. Many of these are perfectly appropriate and superficial differences of caste or color or creed should not necessarily be boundaries. But at the same time, the powerful magnetism between the sexes and the specific karma of individuals is such that there are also many failed relationships (in the home; in the workplace; just about everywhere!) which arise merely by proximity rather than the deeper and substantial shared ideals, values, vibration and consciousness.

So, yes, the whole affair is rather embarrassing. But offer that embarrassment back to God and guru. Thank them for lesson learned, however difficult. You may have actually been spared a great deal of hurt and suffering had circumstances went a different direction!

Jesus Christ gave you this advice: “Be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves!” Thus a childlike personality needs to be balanced by wisdom! There are two kinds of innocence: that of children and that of the soul. Children are innocent until they are hurt. The soul is innocent because untouched by delusion (and not because unaware of delusion). Be the wise serpent (of rising kundalini!) with the simplicity of the heart of a saint, protected by God’s grace.

Be strong; be glad; be grateful…….move on to what is next for you in this great school of life!

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Hriman