First Steps to Discover Yourself
During our recently concluded group meeting, we brought up this topic to help people get started on the journey to discover themselves. This blog provides information on how one can get started and see the guaranteed difference in as little as six months. Tall Claim? Well, read on and find out for yourself.
Begin by finding out what is driving your need to find yourself
The question and solution of finding the self seems very simple as many people may be able to tell you what needs to be done. For me, the quest to find oneself starts even before one comes across the need to find the self. It is important to know what is driving the need to know the self.
Figure out what is driving your need as it may have a bearing on how deep you can go in your quest to know yourself!
The pertinent question one must also be asking is how many people actually succeed in finding the self for the answer to this will provide insight into best practices and pitfalls on the journey. While there is no simple answer to this question because of the sheet subjectivity of goal, level, commitment and perspective of finding the self, one can find commonalities in the patterns that drive human emotions and behavior.
These commonalities are:
Curiosity - People who are driven to find answers or solutions due to curiosity tend to not get deeper into the self enquiry and realization. In fact, you would be amazed only as little as 10% people typically succeed in finding meaningful progress on the path to discover the self. The main reason is that they either find quick answers or loose patience to find deeper understanding. Hence, they give up too soon. Also, the the physical stimuli of or life overpowers the intellectual stimuli in general.
Suffering - People who are driven by suffering to find the solution somewhat succeed more than the people driven by curiosity. In comparison, about 30% of people driven by sheet suffering are able to make meaningful progress in self-enquiry. You may argue when people driven by suffering are not more successful, that is because typically people are driven by specific suffering which forces them to find deeper understanding of self and life in general. When the suffering stops or when the situation changes, people tend to give up on their quest.
Propensity - People who are driven by propensity tend to be able to go deeper in the quest to find the self. As much as 60% of people driven by propensity succeed. But what is this that I call as Propensity? My definition of propensity is accumulated energy through many possible sources, past karma, wisdom, and detachment. In other words, it can be described as 'directed momentum.'
You may wonder why I have not included the most obvious reason in the list, Desires. That is because desire is at the base of anything we do. Our reason for being born is also due to a desire. Without a desire, suffering and the need to find self will not exist. In fact, without desire and accumulation, we won't exist.
The other thing you will notice is that I have not give 100% success rate to any of these factors. That is because the path to self realization is not as simple and objective. There are numerous pitfalls and many of us fail due to not what we don't know but what we have come to know.
The reason to talk about the factors that are driving you to find yourself is to inform you of what your chances of success are and what you can do to go deeper. Now that we have discussed the context, let's talk about how one can go about finding the self.
Approaches that paves the way for learning
Any learning happens from two sources, Information and Experience. In both the case, we use our senses. Whether you are aware or not, we use our physical and astral senses to receive information. Some of the information we receive, we are able to interpret and use, the rest of it goes useless.
When I talk about the approaches, I like to bring your attention to using some tools that can help you in your quest to find yourself. These tools are:
Introspection - It is an excellent tool to question yourself and get to the hidden information. At times, we assume we act based on the obvious without knowing that deeper connections may exist. At other times, we simple act compulsively without even realizing. In either case, Introspection can be an effective way to find out the truth.
Contemplation - It is an eye-opening and brain-striking tool that can really challenge the whole foundation of our actions. Contemplation is not just to ponder over things, but to objectively apply varied perspectives to any event to gain insight that hides in the plain sight.
Observation - It is a tool that gives us maturity. While introspection and contemplation help us by getting deeper understanding, Observation helps us by focusing on what to use introspection and contemplation on. So if introspection and contemplation are like vaccum cleaner to help clean the area, the observation tells you what area to clean. The more you observe, the more you can learn, if you use the introspection and contemplation wisely.
Concentration - It is of utmost important that there is concentration in what you do. Without it, you will not be able to go beyond surface level learning. So, in previous example of vacuum cleaner, concentration is your ability use the vacuum cleaner to do the cleaning. If you don't have concentration, you may not be able to do a through job. Mind it, while it may sound similar to observation, concentration is different. Concentration is the fuel that you need in any thing that you, including your observation.
Repetition - It is equally important that we use repetition as our success largely come to depend on it. You can improve all other tools (Introspection, Contemplation, Observation, and Concentration) when you have repetition. There are many studies available that talk about the importance and impact of doing things repeatedly. Just remember, we are a creature of habit, and habits are built by doing things repeatedly.
Steps to find the self
Now that we have discussed the tools that can help you find yourself. Let me break the steps down into smaller, achievable actions.
Note: Kindly note that I am trying to write these steps in as simplistic way as I possible can. This by no means is extensive or comprehensive approach. This is just to help someone get started on the journey.
When you look at yourself from third person's perspective, you don't find information, you find wisdom!
In order to find yourself, do the following:
Introspection - What brings objectivity into introspection is taking yourself out of the equation by looking at things from a third person's perspective. This is a technique I used to greater effect to uncover the blindspots. This helps keep the emotions out of the memories and events.
Follow your Dharma - Kindly do not use the dictionary meaning of this word. The word originated in India and the real meaning is lost in the translation. Rather than English translation of Religion, Dharma is closer the the word Duties, responsibilities and expectation of being in a specific role. One person can have more than dharma for each role one performs. Our Dharma is to fulfill our purpose, but how many of us are aware of it! So if you do not know your purpose of life, align yourself with the various roles you play, and fulfill them with diligence. This will take care of issues related to actions, behaviors and guilt or suffering emanating from those.
Informed breathing - While it is something that is an automatic process. It is important we pay attention to process of breathing, inhale and exhale. Better still, increase the depth of your inhales and exhales. When you do that, from informed breathing, you move towards intentional breathing. It is really important for people who are starting out. Intentional breathing will help you develop concentration while slowing down your monkey mind jumping from one branch to another. To know more about the intentional breathing, you can listen to the podcast on Intentional Breathing.
Meditation - I cannot emphasize enough about the criticality or cruciality of the role that meditation plays in the inward journey. There are numerous methods of meditation exist, and there is a vast resources easily available on internet.
Company of wise people - Ultimately what we do and how communicate with the world is through energy. Whether it is words, actions, intentions, emotions, or any other method of communication (Visual or non-visual). Who we are depends on sum of our accumulations of emotions, feelings, knowledge, awareness, fear, happiness, desires, outlook, and so on. This sum of accumulations gives us the resultant energy known as Aura. When you are surrounded by people who are wise and/or contribute to your cause, your gain supporting hand to help you propel faster on your journey. Even if you do not understand energy, I advise you to be in the company of positive, supporting, wise and aware people. You will see this will start impacting your thinking and actions.
How to follow these steps?
Let me take this one step further to help you by sharing how you can follow these steps to gain more out of your efforts.
During the first few days -
Dedicate one hour a day at the very least.
Make use of Journals, Diaries, App or memory (Your consciousness) to make physical, digital or mental notes.
Remember to do it daily whenever you remember - not time of situation is bad for it.
After first month - After you you have completed one month, start doing a weekly reflection of your practice. This means you reviewing your notes.
After two months - After you have completed two months, start doing assessment of reviewing your notes, growth, and efficiency of the practice.
After six months - After you have completed the six months, start doing a monthly reflection and assessment. By the time you will reach this stage, you will have some realization or awareness that you did not have when you started the journey six months ago.
I guarantee that if you following this information for six month, you will surely make progress on your journey to find yourself!
Note: If after successfully following the above direction you do not see any progress in your quest, you can hold me responsible. 🙏
With the hope that you will be able to successfully implement this practice in your life to take first steps to know yourself, I wish you all the best in your journey!
With blessings! 🙏