The Sleeping World functions according to laws of separation, competition, judgement, domination, submission and division. In terms of body image and self-esteem, the Sleeping World holds us hostage to ideals for the human body that are unrealistic, often unhealthy, and founded on a lack of respect for our essential worthiness or goodness. The diet industry, fitness industry, fashion industry, cosmetic industry, entertainment industry, and even the yoga industry, bombard us with images that narrowly define beauty, while setting an unrealistic value on its attainment. An inordinate amount of our time, money and mental, emotional and spiritual energy are spent in the pursuit of an essentially empty ideal. The Sleeping World is a big machine that functions to reinforce the myth of separateness, fear, and unworthiness, while convincing us that those meaningless pursuits will relieve our existential suffering. The machine tells us that the suffering we feel is due to the conditions such as our looks, our financial status and our psychology.
The Sleeping World hides from us the root cause our our suffering - our mistaken belief that we are separate from the Divine. With the true cause of our suffering hidden and our attention directed toward promised "cures" that actually only perpetuate our suffering, we stay forever trapped in a cycle of illusion and searching.
(from Yoga from the Inside Out - Christina Sell)