When don Juan was training Carlos Castaneda to be a warrior, he often pointed out to Carlos when he was indulging in self-pity. But at one point don Juan clarified that denying the Self is also a form of indulgence. The idea of indulgence comes from his teachings on eliminating self-importance. What he meant by self-importance is what we often think of as the petty ego, the small ego. This is very difference from the True Self which is the Self with a capital S. That is the person we came to this earth to be. We came here to be our True Selves.
So the idea of eliminating self-importance is about NOT feeding or indulging the petty ego. We feed the ego when we feel sorry for ourselves, blame the world for not meeting our needs, become controlling and manipulative, etc. But we also feed self-importance when we act like martyrs and starve ourselves of what gives us happiness, pleasure, and joy (within reason). That’s what he meant when he said that denying the Self is a form of indulgence.
Your True Self gets clues from feelings of happiness, pleasure, and joy. You know those things you do that cause you to lose track of time and when you finally notice how much time has passed you have a deep feeling of satiation? That’s a clue that you are living in alignment with your True Self. So many of us have been taught to deny the True Self. We are taught not to listen to the ques because they don’t fit well with a factory or slavish lifestyle. In other words, listening to your True Self isn’t good for the capitalist economy. You won’t make a good factory worker or a good slave, so children are taught to disconnect from their True Selves. That way they will obey the clock and show up to work on time.
Not only that, but when we feel the joy, pleasure, and deep satiation of the True Self, we feel less need to go shopping. But what’s more important to you, being a good little slave and a good little consumer, or being True to your Self?
Feed your True Self. That is empowerment, not an indulgence.