First things first… who are we trying to please?

This might be an honest confession for some of us..!

As anyone who runs a business knows, it’s not a bad idea to please your customers. Respecting your employees might even be a good idea, depending on whom you ask.

But outside of the workplace, if we look at life in general… whom are we trying to please in our lives when we are not at work, and how much effort and energy are we putting into it?

Here’s a very rare – an unbelievably rare – perspective:

The first thing we learned from Sri Ramakrishna was to pay no attention to the opinion of others. He used to say: ‘Spit on public opinion! Look toward God and try to please him!’1

– Swami Turiyananda (1863-1922)

In the bible Jesus says:

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Remember… If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…2

In other words, if you love God, the world might not always congratulate you for it.  The way Jesus puts it might sound harsh to some, but let’s consider: if a woman worships money, jewelry and Mercedes Benzes above all else, she might feel uncomfortable around anyone that does not share her sense of priorities.  Or if a man harbors certain prejudices, he might dislike anyone that does not share his mindset.  Whereas if you are endeavoring to be free of all that, which of these folks is going to congratulate you?

So we could ask ourselves… who do we want to be liked by, who are we trying to please, who are we working for?



Cultural studies suggest that middle-class people can experience intense anxiety when it comes to status, appearance and peer-approval. (image source3)

.   .   .



Some Austrians – such as Rudolf Steiner – were persecuted by Hitler, while others earned the führer’s approval as well as the “likes” and approval of their peers.  (image source)


.   .   .



IRENE: Now, remember I’ll be watching for you on the big screen. BETTY (smiling) Okay Irene. Won’t that be the day. (An aspiring and ambitious young actress arrives in the “city of angels”, before being devoured by those she sought to please.  From “Mulholland Drive”)


.   .   .



Typically I’ve heard two “cures” suggested for this situation – one is called “Game” – to play head games with your spouse to try to out-manipulate them and play on their insecurities.  The other suggestion is to put God first in your life, love your spouse second, and the situation can’t help but resolve after that because pleasing our spouse is no longer our primary concern…?  (image source)


Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.4



  • What was the first thing Ramakrishna taught Swami Turiyananda, according to the latter’s testimony?
  • About how old are you now, and what are all the kinds of people you have tried to please throughout your life?5  And how did all of that work out?
  • What factors do you take into account when making decisions?  If you focus on trying to “look good” for other people, does this get in the way of hearing God better?

BOT Student

  1. As quoted here.
  2. John 15:19-20.
  3. It says Excerpt from “Defrosting The Cold War: Fallout From My Nuclear Family” Copyright (©) 20012 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved
  4. Ecclesiastes 1:2-3,9.
  5. Pseudonyms and first-name-only comments are fine if they help allow for more candid responses.
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13 comments · now closed

  1. Terry   Thumb up +5

    I’m reminded of a story reported in The Bible, specifically Matthew 4:18-22, in which Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and called out to fishermen brothers Peter and Andrew, telling them that if they followed him, they would be fishing for people. And they left family, business, friends, romantic prospects, EVERYTHING on the spot, to follow a man whom they had never seen before.

    However much or little that story reports an actual historical event, it points to an occurrence universal to the appearance of a truly God-Realized person. Some few who come in contact (by whatever means) with that one are more-or-less radically distracted from their previous life, even in the face of the strenuous objections of those with whom they previously lived the usual life.

    • Yes, a pretty major shift of priorities is indicated by that biblical story.

      Sometimes when I’ve felt moved to make a big change in my life, it’s because I realized that my old priorities no longer had anything for me. I tried to suggest something about that feeling through the image of the man on the lawn mower in the 1950s suburbia ad. Suburbs might be good places to live in many ways, but the priorities of having one’s lawn always look as perfect as possible… for some people this kind of constant focus might start to feel somewhat insane, after a while…?

  2. Parinirvana   Thumb up +4

    I’ve always found the irrational hatred that humans can have for other humans, most perplexing.

    I don’t know why most people are inherently opposed to the truth, both relative and absolute.

    I’ve even had people actually be angry at me for volunteering to help autistic (read; appallingly mercury toxic) children. Angry at me for taking a moment to talk with homeless people. Angry at me for attempting to build bridges with people from other cultures and backgrounds.

    That’s not even touching on the wilful ignorance and denial of obvious, massive problems in society, the vanity and ego, and the appalling, delusional perceptions that lend themselves to making marks out of the poor and the vulnerable, whilst endlessly singing the praises of the corrupt, the powerful, the slavers and the self-absorbed, willing slaves, selling out their hearts.

    I’m sure everyone here has encountered similar issues and treatment.

    Wilhelm Reich covers it in his books… ‘The Murder of Christ’ and others. The ‘armoured’ masses, in layers of programming, with unrelenting fear and hatred of anybody that can offer freedom, love, and LIFE, as opposed to fear, dogma, and just plain absurdity.

    Well, the path for us has been made clear, in any case. You know what you have to do.

    • Yeah, crazy world, for sure, as Reich pointed out.

      So you’re saying that doing the right thing often leads to persecution or at least displeasure from people who are under a delusion. I guess this is how it often works in this world, which was part of the inspiration for this blog post – that we could choose to care less about trying to impress people all the time, and follow a different type of compass, so to speak.

      Perhaps trying too hard to impress people leads to a dark end eventually, as some of the pictures I posted above might suggest.

      Yes, “The Murder of Christ” was a good read; Adi Da added it to his BOT list – as we’ll all find out some day when they get the BOT published and available (which I am not involved with, btw).

  3. Lynne   Thumb up +3

    I always remember Bhagavan Adi Da saying somewhere that we must do what we have to do even in the face of great opposition. The heart leading the way.

    I know that personally the need to be liked and fit in has been and is a huge limitation. It is primarily experienced at the heart level as living one way and having a secret life on the inside. A lack of integritiy. I recently returned from India and felt so liberated to be in a culture in which I could not speak the language and I could live my love of my spiritual master out loud. It was a shock to realise how much I suppress this in my western world. I would go so far as to say that this is my biggest limitation and so biggest place of sadhana.

    Of course it is all nutty on a logical kinda level. Everyone wants to reveal their deepest heart. Of course it is nutty on another logical kinda level. No one wants to be so lost in love that there is no one there to know about it.

    • Yes… lots of opposition to truth in this world, some say.

      I don’t know whether to touch on this here, as it’s kind of a loaded subject… but in some cultures they believed that women are more interested in social harmony than men, while men are more interested in integrity and truth than women. And that this is based on men and women being built differently, with different strengths and different kinds of “etheric bodies” or however you want to look at it.

      I’m not going to say just now whether I agree with this perspective or not. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s true, in the ultimate sense.

      But from that p.o.v. it would be understandable and somewhat healthy for women to want to fit in, but less healthy for *men* to be completely driven by that orientation.

      Interesting topics.

      So in traditional cultures, the men were supposed to help protect the women and give them a space in which they could be free to participate in a sacred culture – a culture that is sane and upholds sane values – rather than women having to be “lone warriors” hitchhiking along the roads of life, getting into conflict with everyone, type of thing.

      yeah… interesting topics, for sure.

      Again I’m not saying I agree or disagree with any of this, just saying these seem to be ways people dealt with these issues in some parts of the world, traditionally.

      But ultimately integrity is probably an individual matter, it seems.

    • TC   Thumb up 0

      Lynne, you wrote:

      ‘No one wants to be so lost in love that there is no one there to know about it.’

      I think that’s both true and not true. The heart wants to be totally dissolved in and by Love, but ego want to survive as a presumed-separate being. The two are incompatible.

      The heart must win or there is only madness.

    • Lynne   Thumb up +1

      Yes the heart must win.

      I have been sitting with Bhagavans death consideration where he speaks about our fear of death being dishonest because what we, the ego, are really fearful of is God/dissolution even when we profess love.

      And the heart must win

  4. Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

    All desire is on behalf of the self… an assumed identity that nobody really cares to investigate sincerely.

    On investigation, it gradually dissolves, contracting from it’s associations until it implodes on itself completely. People already know this is so, on some level, which explains their hostility toward those who threaten their identity; ‘their’ nation, ‘their’ culture, ‘their’ morals, ‘their’ property, et cetera.

    People use the most nonsensical associations as a basis for their identity, when the dissolution of all identity is really the best course.

    But when the mechanism of suffering is seen, and one has truly had enough, then a powerful inner urge propels the mind inwards.

    I’m still waiting for the free will versus determinism debate… ^_^

    • Waiting for debate?

      Maybe it’s not destined to happen?


      If a person believed there was no such thing as free will, maybe he’d have to coerce or manipulate people to do XYZ. Whereas if he did believe in free will, maybe he could simply invite people to participate in some situation – as you’re doing here – without trying to force the situation.

      So, whether there is free will or not, one’s opinion about it seems to carry a lot of repercussions for how we treat people and how we make choices.

      Regarding identity… I think you might be right that as human beings we tend to invest a lot of energy in protecting our sense of “identity”.

      However, I’ve met people who turned away from all associations, turned inward, contracted inside themselves, and they didn’t necessarily seem any less identified than before. I’m kind of of the opinion that letting go of our fixation on our sense of identity has more to do with *radiating* than with *contracting*. It’s like if I hold on to something tightly, that reinforces a sense of identity, or tension, or fixation. But if I let go, or am less “armored” as Reich would put it, then maybe there’s less “identity” automatically, without having to turn away from anything…?

      I dunno, that’s just my sense of it.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      Isn’t this all bullshit anyways?

      I don’t see how free will could be said to exist on any level, when beingness itself is not in one’s control.

      All it takes is damage to a certain part of your brain, and you become a completely different person. Or you lose a significant amount of cognitive functioning. Free will?

      We are subject to innumerable causal factors and chains.

      Where exactly does the free will come in?

      I’d like to believe we have free will, but I don’t see it.

    • Suit yourself.

      Hey! That’s more “free will” goodness, perhaps? If there wasn’t free will we couldn’t suit ourselves. :)

      The way I see it is we can’t control everything, but it seems like we can control how we react to situations. Or we can control whether we choose to identify with this or that – identify with our clothing, our waist size, our ethnicity, our bank account size, etc. If there was no free will, people would have no control over their actions, I guess, and the best solution to violence in the world might be massive worldwide overt enslavement – because nobody could be trusted and people’s individual choice would be unimportant. Just drug everyone, put something in the water to make people numb and make us feel “good”, broadcast mind control, etc. I mean all that stuff is already done – everyone knows that, I hope – but currently it’s almost all optional; we’re free to opt out of much of it.

      Do you ever wonder why that is? Why is so much of the poison optional? Why is it setup that way?

      Not all of it is optional, but the fluoridated water, the GMOs, the xanax, the television, the cocaine, the fake news, the false prophets, the flu shots, the fake websites, the flirtatious women (or men) who want to seduce us and abuse us, etc. – so much of it is optional!

      Weird, huh?

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      I wouldn’t have said that fluoridated water, GMO foods, mind control à la NLP et cetera are ‘choice’ issues, for most people.

      For the former two, perhaps they have simply been too busy to do the research, or just don’t have the money for the extortionately priced organic superfoods and supplements.

      The latter, much like subliminals, bypasses the conscious mind, so I don’t see where the choice would be.

      You speak of choice like it exists in a vacuum, independent of stimuli or conditioning of any nature.

      The term ‘free will’ is itself something of an oxymoron. Will is a pre-determined course of action for the sake of bringing about a specific result. It cannot be ‘free’ by definition.

      Even more facile, is the idea that such an absolute concept can exist in degrees, when free will and causality are logically, mutually exclusive. If it is conditioned by circumstances, it isn’t free will. Period.

      Lots of the blather in ‘spiritual’ circles is just ridiculous, riddled with imprecise thinking, which reflects on the level of sincerity of the exponents.

      Even the stuff that is technically feasible, is so utterly impractical for everyday people, that it is effectively redundant.

      Ordinary working people, subject to economic problems, workplace problems, health problems, family problems… how much time do they have to devote to meditation? How are they going to find a still mind amongst a mental mosh-pit of noise, reaction, and aggro?

      I myself have tried for years, but I think my mercurialism issues are preventing my reaching deeper levels of consciousness, which would imply that the change is reliant on the physical brain in some way (thus not an issue of free will and ultimately, a transient occurrence in consciousness only).

      Find me ONE self-appointed guru or mystic that doesn’t have or exhibit notable contradictions or irrationality, in their material and/or their behaviour.

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