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In or out

“Did you play cricket inside the house again? Did I not tell you never to play cricket inside? Now look what you’ve done – the tubelight is broken and the paint has chipped off the walls.”, scolded the father. “But daddy it wasn’t me. My brother started it, and then the neighbour kid joined in. And I only got here last!”

When we were younger and our parents would scold us for some mischief, the instinctive response would be to drag a sibling or friend into the reproachment.

That instinct doesn’t change for most people, given how protective we tend to be of our own self-images. On the path of spiritual transformation, this attitude is not very helpful. A self-help book is called so, because it is supposed to help us, the readers.

Instead, such a book ends up being an excellent point-and-shoot weapon, which we use not on ourselves, but as a tool to freely and confidently identify the improprieties of those around us. “This book teaches us to not be jealous. I’m going to gift this book to my sister-in-law and hope she gets the message!” Or “The author has so beautifully described how we should not become angry, and almost seems to have kept my husband in mind while writing it!” And so on.

However as we well know, the only transformation that matters – is that which happens within. For which the book-weapon must be pointed only at ourselves.

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