Malicious Gossip – Know The Game

Writen by Swami Mohana-Bhaktananda; Edited by Annette Vanderzon

I have experienced situations which have made me think about people’s nature and I think there is value in sharing this with you. I always try and do my very best in all the tasks I need to complete. Mohanji says, “Do everything with full application, sincerity and objective commitment. Never do anything absent-mindedly or half-heartedly”. That last line pierces through all the walls I have put up . . . never do anything half-heartedly. This is why I always go out of my way to do what I do, not out of the need to prove myself, but because every task I do to the best of my ability is being true to Mohanji, is being true to The Tradition, is being true to myself. Every task and relationship is expressed passionately because it is sadhana to Mohanji and The Tradition. Of course, the last time I checked I was still human. I haven’t managed to grow multi-dimensional antennas to talk to the universe — yet — lol. In fact, I’m not even on the right network yet hahaha. With all my associated weaknesses and limitations I do make mistakes and do things incorrectly. But recently, I noticed how malicious people have become and how they seem to hang onto anything negative about me. Some things were exaggerated, incomplete or even if they were true, the point is that through gossip I suddenly was a demon. This really brought me down and I felt useless, but Mohanji’s teaching grounded me again. Understanding why people are malicious or why they gossip has really brought me back to a positive space. From my experience, people become malicious and gossip (especially if they publically try to defame you) for the following reasons: projection, consciousness level, to feel superior, boredom, envy, to get attention, and/or their egos are threatened.

Projection

(Schimel et al., 2003) showed in their study that maliciousness is a reflection of a person’s own internal constitution. They specifically conducted two scientifically sound experiments that showed that an angry and dishonest person will judge other people as being angry and dishonest. This was called physiological projection by Freud (Freud, 1894) or later “Freudian projection” by the psychological community. Freudian projection is a defense mechanism employed by insecure people, subconsciously, to deal with situations that they cannot cope with. So instead of dealing with the problem at hand, they project the undesired feelings or emotions onto someone else.

So why would someone project on an ordinary person like me? Mohanji says “Actually, there is nothing apart from you in this world. All the people you come across or all the situations you handle a day, are your reflections. When you have tremendous fear about something, it comes to you, because you are attracting it.” So what does this all mean? Simply, each malicious or difficult experience you encounter is just a projection, of what is projected, by what we reflect as ourselves . . . hahaha confused (because I think I think i just confused myself) . . . simply . . . everything is just a projection and it’s not real. “There are no problems anywhere, except in the mind. Even that is only when you are awake. When you are dreaming the same problem doesn’t exist. When you are in deep sleep, no such problem exists. When you wake up, you bring back that problem.” – Mohanji

So in truth, Mohanji taught me that whatever I project inwards or outwards is what I am attracting and whatever people gossip about me was just what they are projecting about themselves. So in the end, all that this is, are just projections of the mind and ego. The ego and the mind are not the truth behind a person. The truth is something that is eternal and unchanging. The ego and the mind change all the time, so if the source of the projections is not the truth, how can these projections possibly be not real?

Consciousness Level

Those that consistently harp on the same matter over and over and cannot let go of something, are simply demonstrating their level of awareness. It is important for us to understand that a person can only operate from the level of awareness where they are. A person will only be able to understand someone that is of the same or lower level of awareness as themselves. A person can never understand someone of higher awareness or consciousness or stature. So all they can do is bark. There is a Chinese saying: “Let the dogs bark, the lion is still king.”

So to reiterate, a person can only operate from the level of consciousness where they are. In psychology, this is called the theory of social comparison (Festinger, 1954, Forsyth, 2012). Research based on this theory supports the notion that people are more negative towards others when they feel low or have a low level of awareness/consciousness. This is an important aspect for us to remember because many times people behave unreasonably and we will not be able to fathom it. It’s something we just have to accept because we cannot change their operating level. We have to rise above their awareness level so that we don’t respond with the same maliciousness, and flow through the issues with integrity and consistency. We should not entertain lower levels of awareness. Mohanji says: “Negativity is like poison. One drop of poison can spoil one bucket of milk. Normally what I do is if I know there is somebody talking about other people, gossiping, I would tell them clearly that I’m not interested. I don’t want to know. Sometimes it’s better that you keep to one stand and say, ”I’m not interested in talking about other people or talking about certain situations, rather let’s talk about something which is creative or something which is of higher nature, like kindness, compassion, love, what we can do for other people, what we can do for the country, how we can raise the consciousness of the people, how we can raise the awareness in the country. Such discussions you can entertain, and such groups can be formed while you say to the people who are just pulling you down with negative or lower frequency, just tell them, ”I’m not interested. I don’t want to know.” Say it repeatedly, gently, with kindness and love, they will not talk to you about it anymore.”

To Feel Superior

For some people, there is an unrelenting need to feel superior to other people. They begin to accuse you of actions that are ridiculous, just so that they feel better about themselves. This is a clear sign of insecurity. When people identify themselves with the body or the mind, naturally, there will be no stability. The body and mind change consistently. If you base your essence on what is not consistent, how will YOU be consistent? If you constantly are pushed up and down, eventually you will grow a need to want to prove your superiority. Psychologists call this positive distinctiveness: “people have a need to feel unique from others in positive ways.”(www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-big-questions/201306/why-are-people-mean-part-1)

Sometimes this positive distinctiveness reflects in a person full of hurt, in such a way, that instead of dealing with the pain, they rather impose pain on the other person. Again this does not solve the issue for either person. It just spreads the gossip and is simply a means to try and look good in the eyes of the world.

Mohanji says: “Someone who is authentic enjoys his originality and exercises it to the hilt without imposing anything on anyone. He becomes a trendsetter.” So people that gossip or spread negativity about you just so that they look good or to feel vindicated, are expressing a disjoint in their own authenticity. How should we respond – We should always express our own authenticity.

Boredom

When people can’t generate interesting discussions based on knowledge or ideas, gossip can rouse people’s interest. In other words, they don’t have the capacity to do anything but gossip. It reminds me of what an old PA used to say: “We are not gossiping, we are just sharing our opinions about people’s life choices” Hahahaha. So why should we become worried about the output of boredom? Let them be bored and give options about other people’s life choices. Because we all know our lives all revolve around them lol!!!

Envy

(Vrabel et al., 2018) conducted a study that proved that trait self-esteem level and state self-esteem instability have important connections with the benign and malicious forms of envy. This means that people with poor self-esteem act out negatively because of envy. Again, research often proves that people’s poor self-beliefs, inappropriate desires, and untamed emotions are projected onto others by envy (Steinbeis and Singer, 2014). Three studies with correlational, experimental, and round-robin designs were conducted and proved that envy mediates hostile behavior (Rentzsch et al., 2015).

Sometimes people see only what they want to because of what they are suppressing in themselves or what they feel they want and count never have. For example, someone may look at a dynamic selfless spiritual leader and only see the ladies around him but are completely oblivious to the men. This is because they themselves want to be surrounded by the ladies but they can’t. So this breeds malice and eventually boils over as malicious gossip to destroy the reputation of the other person. This idea has been spoken about in many studies (Smith et al., 1988, Shamay-Tsoory et al., 2007, Ramachandran and Jalal, 2017, Maijala et al., 2000)

Acceptance is the key. When you grow into a state of consistent acceptance, naturally you will stabilize.  Mohanji says: “When you stabilze within you, your mind will be inside.  Contentment with what comes to you, what comes your way and contentment with the way you are, which means you accept yourself totally. You accept, understand perfectly,  merge with your constitution, yourself, not trying to compare yourself with others, not trying to change. Allow the transformation to take place.” When you are in this stage, there can be no envy. What can you be envious of when we are all the expressions of that one same Divine being?

Attention

For some people with a sadistic personality, the idea of harming others brings great joy. These people have no remorse when hurting people or the people around who they are targeting.  They will go out of their way to contact who they are targeting just to be heard, just to express some vulgarity. These type of people need medical help.

Ego threat

Endangered self-esteem results in a lot of projected aggression. It doesn’t really matter if people feel good or bad about themselves in general, but what matters is that, at that moment, are you feeling worse about yourself than usual?

This line of research has found that threatened self-esteem is associated with a wide range of heightened aggressive behaviors. For instance, when people’s expectations are not met, e.g. a relationship breaks or a promotion is not given etc., they are more likely to force another person to listen to obnoxious stories praising themselves or insulting the person.

So a lot of times, people act up just simply because their ego took a bash. Something happened where they did not get what they wanted, and now they are expressing anger and frustration. So it’s important to remember, that their outbursts are not about you or what you have achieved. But it deals with their ego being broken. Many times people may say a certain thing to you like I love you or I don’t want to be involved in something, but later on, they turn on you or ask why they are not involved. This is only a sign of inconsistency and living in an ego space. What should your response be? Consistency!

Conclusion

In the end, It is only people that have lost their internal alignment that maliciously gossip about you and try to make your life difficult. So the point is to just let go and do what you have to. Choose a few projects or activities in this world and put your head down and work. But this does not mean that there is no room for flow, expansion, and change. Who are they talking about? They can only gossip about this body, mind, intellect, ego, personality, prana, your past actions, or constitution. These are not who we truly are. I am NOT the body, mind, intellect, ego, personality, prana, past actions, or constitution. I am the truth. I am eternal. I am never changing. What can anyone gossip about the truth, or the eternal or the never changing?

“Accept life, embrace life. Love yourself. That’s a practice which we must follow. And always believe that God is inside. Everything comes to you – if you are peaceful, peace comes to you, if you accept yourself, acceptance comes to you, if you love yourself, love comes to you. When you love yourself, you can’t judge anybody because you only see yourself around. When you judge yourself, you judge others. When you criticize yourself, you will start criticizing others and you’ll see problems everywhere.” – Mohanji

References

FESTINGER, L. 1954. A Theory of Social Comparison Processes. Human Relations, 7, 117-140.

FORSYTH, D. 2012. Social Comparison and Influence in Groups.

FREUD, S. 1894. The Neuro-Psychoses of Defence., Early Psycho-Analytic Publications.

MAIJALA, H., MUNNUKKA, T. & NIKKONEN, M. 2000. Feeling of ‘lacking’ as the core of envy: a conceptual analysis of envy. J Adv Nurs, 31, 1342-50.

RAMACHANDRAN, V. S. & JALAL, B. 2017. The Evolutionary Psychology of Envy and Jealousy. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1619-1619.

SCHIMEL, J., GREENBERG, J. & MARTENS, A. 2003. Evidence that Projection of a Feared Trait can Serve a Defensive Function. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 969-979.

SHAMAY-TSOORY, S. G., TIBI-ELHANANY, Y. & AHARON-PERETZ, J. 2007. The green-eyed monster and malicious joy: the neuroanatomical bases of envy and gloating (schadenfreude). Brain, 130, 1663-78.

SMITH, R. H., KIM, S. H. & PARROTT, W. G. 1988. Envy and Jealousy: Semantic Problems and Experiential Distinctions. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 14, 401-409.

VRABEL, J. K., ZEIGLER-HILL, V. & SOUTHARD, A. C. 2018. Self-esteem and envy: Is state self-esteem instability associated with the benign and malicious forms of envy? Personality and Individual Differences, 123, 100-104.


4 Comments

  1. Prathiba

    Thank you Swamiji for an in depth explanation of negative emotions. We all need to look within and become more and more aware of our thoughts and actions.
    Points to ponder on for expanding ourselves spiritually.
    Special and Deepest Appreciation and Gratitude for your unconditional love and assisting me grow in all areas in my life.
    You are a pure bhakta of Mohanji.,and my greatest inspiration.
    Love you lots Swamiji.
    Jai Mohanji

  2. Chitra

    Many times people behave unreasonably and we will not be able to fathom it. We just have to accept because we cannot change their operating level – a good point to be highlighted. Lot of things to learn from this write up- check ourselves, watch the mistakes, correct it and keep moving with unconditional love. Thanks a lot Swami Mohana Bakthananda Bharathi.

  3. Jayshree

    Swamiji you are the most amazing, caring, loving, selfless soul I ever met. You work tirelessly helping and healing people with miraculous power and blessings through our Guru from town to town.  You remind me of a Lotus Flower- Though conditions are tough, the lotus heeds the call of the sun each morning, breaks the surface of the water and blooms untouched by the mud; each petal remains clean and pure. Closing at night, it sinks below the water’s surface, only to resurface again in the morning.  Fully grounded in the earth, aspiring toward the divine, ever blooming from within toward the light.
    People’s attitude is like a box of crayon that color our world.  Their sadistic and dull attitudes keep coloring the picture grey.  You changed the picture by adding color to it by your unselfish acts, laughter and humor.  Bless you and keep going. You have my and many others support. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *