Does image matter to you? In this case we’ll describe image as the perception other people have when they consider someone (such as you).
So does image matter?
There’s an inclination among many people to consider image, as it’s been described here, as vain or superficial and so something that should not be embraced. If you ask people then whether image matters many of them will answer no to not be associated with vanity and superficial behavior.
They don’t want to project that kind of an image, after all.
In fact image is important to many people, even if they aren’t willing to admit it. Most of us do want to be perceived by others in a certain way. There are times when I’d very much like to be perceived in a certain way, perhaps as someone who’s knowledgeable and competent and can help others improve their life experience. But a part of me recognizes that this outlook is a self-imposed prison and so I’m not comfortable with it for long.
Image as a prison? How so?
The sense of image, the sense of how one is being perceived by others, almost always comes from the ego self. In nearly every case we really have no idea how other people are perceiving us — the information of how other people are perceiving us is, in fact, typically ego output.
Look at how they’re looking me over. I’ve got it all together.
Look at how they’re looking me over. I’m a fool.
In those rare cases when someone does tell us how they perceive us, how do we respond? Do we go up or down? Or do we have no reaction at all? When we go up or down, we have become identified with output from the ego. We are under the ego’s influence. We are imprisoned. When we have no reaction at all, we are free.
The reason to be unconcerned with image is not to avoid vanity or being superficial, but rather to avoid becoming entrapped. Outside of the ego’s output, there is no concern whatsoever from the self about judgments. In fact judgments are the ego output of others. They are imprisoned. Be imprisoned as they are, or be free?
Some would say that concern with image allows us to act appropriately in particular situations. This is another way of saying that we should meet the expectations of others and that we have to make a particular effort to do this. Taken even further this outlook translates into ‘I am not good enough.’
Actually you are ideal. There is nothing that can be added to you for improvement. You are a projection of Divine Intelligence and so are inherently perfect. What you need to do is not add, but subtract: subtract the filter that separates you from your perfection. This is done by internal silence, by the cessation of ego output (typically referred to as thinking).
Be still, and know that I am God.
When you are as you were meant to be you will be as you were meant to be. You will not need to be concerned with external output. You will be, and that will be more than enough.
No image needed.