- Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbahi
The art of turning within is the key to being immersed in the bliss of the soul, dissolving in its limitless experience. In order to learn this art, practise is imperative. With the help of devotion, study of the scriptures and listening to the discourses of masters, the intensity of detachment increases while passions are subdued. This results in an increased purity of the consciousness and sets up the stage for self-study.
Self-awareness is a process wherein you keep an eye on your own dispositions and observe your own faults. With continued observation, your awareness towards your own dispositions and faults increases and an amazing transformation takes place within you. With awareness, your faults start dissolving; you experience yourself becoming quieter, more silent, independent and joyful.
The process of self-awareness is generally, accomplished in two stages, namely:
a) Introspection, where emphasis is laid on contemplation.
b) Observation, where the emphasis is on being a witness.
After an episode of anger, in introspection, you start thinking about why you got angry. You analyse the reason for anger. Your attention is focused on the mistakes committed by you. As you analyse your anger, your consciousness is focused on anger, not on the Self. You pondered over it, analysed it and so on. This is the process of thinking. You resolve that you will not make the same mistake again. This is your effort to control anger by determination.
Thus, introspection opens the doors of inward focusing. It allows one to minutely study one’s own faults. It corrects deluded beliefs; makes you more aware of your mental disposition and eventually, readies you for the stage of witnessing. Therefore, if there is no introspection, you have not even begun on your spiritual path.
In observation, there is only witnessing that anger is passing through you. There is no analysis of anger, nor is there any need for it. The truth is that the very act of thinking creates an impediment in observing your anger. Do not think at all. Just be in a thought-free state.
When you are only observing anger you do not contemplate because you have neither to go back into the past to find out its reasons, nor have you to go into the future to make a vow about not doing it again. Just by being aware, you remain present with the occurrence of anger. This is self-awareness.
Introspection and observation are not two different paths, but two different stages of the same path. In order to clean your body you have to apply soap initially, and then wash it off. Even though these actions are mutually contradictory, they are considered obvious.
In the initial stages of our spiritual efforts, where the impurity of the mind is an impediment in progress, evaluating your thoughts and encouraging good thoughts is essential. But in the advanced stage, where there is a preponderance of good thoughts, even they become a hindrance in the attainment of a state of no-mind.
It is important to realise that thoughts have no life of their own; they have no independent existence. They thrive on your identification with them, which you have already provided. When you say, ‘I am angry,’ you are pumping life into it, because you are identifying yourself with anger; but when you say, ‘I am observing anger passing through me,’ you are not imparting life, you are not giving any significance to it.
You will be able to observe it, because you have not identified yourself with it. If you observe, you will notice that it has no influence on you; it has no impact on you. It is completely empty and lifeless. Just as when the clouds pass away, the sky looks clear; when anger passes away it will leave the sky of your consciousness clean and clear.
This is the essence of religion. There is no liberation without this. With the grace of the Sadguru and with constant practise, use the key of self-awareness, to unlock the portals of paradise that lie within each one of you.