Methods of Self-observation

Learn to separate feeling and concept. The moment a feeling is felt, a concept gets attached to it. That concept comes in the way of the feeling and prevents action or, if the feeling is acted upon, it creates guilt – which is another concept. Either of these will happen. So when a feeling arises in the system, catch the concept that is coming up to resist it. Put the concept/s aside and just feel the feeling. Don’t let there be movement in either the mental, emotional or physical body.

Self-observation comes in here. Observation may look like a mental act but it stands separate from the mental, physical and emotional. That ‘something else’ has to cultivated which sees an impulse hit all three bodies simultaneously, yet is separate from it. Cultivate this entity inside who sees your contradictions, your likes and dislikes.

While cultivating this separate entity, simultaneously, try to merge with everything else. Struggle with like and dislike. Eat food that you don’t like and learn to like it. Talk to everyone, from a leper to someone you admire with the same kind of love. Be able to have sex with even a leper and give him the same love you would give someone else.

Basically, learn to like what you dislike. When you dislike something, you create a split in yourself. The split has to be merged by making the object of your dislike a part of you.

There are two ways to merge into God – expand and become everything or contract and become nothing. In the first case, you like everything (expansion), and in the second, you dislike everything (negation). The second is impossible for the ego to do since there will always be something that will appease your ego. So take the first route – try to like everything.

1) Walk in a straight line, as much as you can. But don’t make it a practice.

2) In a crowd, try to walk with two feet of a bubble around you so that nobody touches you when you are walking. Be very agile while walking in a crowd.

3) Be aware of how much pressure is being put in the feet while you walk.

4) Everybody has a peculiar style of walking. Be aware of your style. Try to change the way you walk. Your hand and leg movement had to be observed over a period of time and changed. And you will see it is very difficult – nearly impossible – to change your walking style because it is so deeply embedded in you.

5) Don’t have your hands move without effort on your part, without you knowing how much movement or pressure is required to move your hand.

6) If you close a door, see if you can close it with minimum of effort required.

7) If in one day, you make 20 phone calls, see if you can say Hello in as many different ways as there are calls.

8) If someone calls out your name, learn to not respond.

9) If somebody calls out somebody else’s name, learn to respond to that. These two points are very important.

10) In the privacy of your bedroom, become the husband if you are the wife or the wife if you are the husband. Not literally. But put in effort to roleplay.

11) If you can’t do this, roleplay all the situations you would have liked to have done in your life. Eg. Sexual fantasies, but have been unable to have them all materialize in your life because of restrictions. So visualize everything in your mind.

12) If you are walking on the road, stop suddenly without reason and then move again. Don’t do this as an exercise. Do it only sometimes.

13) The exercise of closing all openings on the face (show) – do it suddenly, sometimes.

14) Try to lift up something or touch something eg. If you are touching a person, know how much to touch that person. Develop sensitivity of touch i.e. there should be just enough of pressure so that the person feels it softly. Don’t put your entire weight on the person. Only put your self in the touch. This is tricky. Practice it.

15) Don’t touch people mechanically. Try to refrain from unnecessary touching.

16) Refrain from unnecessary action –moving your hands while talking, facial gestures.

17) Try to resist unnecessarily eating, watching TV, eating gutka, smoking, drinking. There is no moral right or wrong about these things. It’s just that they are all about our mechanical habit patterns and we are unable to do something about them. Pleasure sensation is always sought and that’s why these things are indulged in.

18) Suppose you are calling out to a person or talking to a person, see if you can lower your volume so that you know how much of volume of sound is required for your voice to reach that other person and for him to be able to understand what you are saying. Speak clearly and know the exact volume of sound required.

19) Similarly, if you are listening to somebody, don’t tell them to speak louder, increase your level of hearing.

20) Do two seemingly strange or contradictory things together. Like, suppose you are playing 36 cycles per min on two gadgets, they will be out of sync. Pay attention to one and then switch to another, at all times being conscious that you are paying attention to this particular one. And you will sway automatically from one to another because you will forget. The point is to bring your concentration, awareness back to the one you decided to listen to.

21) Look into people’s eyes when you talk to them. Look straight into the eyes, do not look anywhere else.

22) Try to remember after having met a person, what the person was doing inside himself. Try to forget consciously- over a period of time it will happen – what the person was wearing (be it clothes or skin), what the person looked like, what kind of hair was he wearing, skin, facial expression he was wearing. Try to remember what you sensed about the person.

23) Suppose if you are feeling angry, try to shorten the time between anger that has happened involuntarily and recovery from that. So a physical thing you can do is to smile while you are angry. Break the pattern that is associated with anger. Break the physical pattern because you are not able to break the emotional pattern. So you break the physical pattern of looking grouchy, showing that you are angry – so you smile while you are angry.

24) When you are told something unpleasant about yourself or realize something about yourself, try to laugh as much as possible.

25) If at any time you see that you have to put in effort to do things which may discomfort you – say, dropping somebody when that person lives in a place not on your way – do it.

26) There are mechanical things we do every day. The moment somebody says, oh I ate great food at that place, so you will say, ‘Oh that’s nothing. That place we went to had really amazing food.’ Don’t talk, simply listen.

27) Try to listen to each and every word a person is saying. If you miss a word, you have to ask him to repeat it by saying I got lost in my own daydreaming, so can you please repeat? No matter what the situation.

28) Before going into a situation, visualize that this is what you will do and when somebody says this, you will say that. Then try to not do what those things are.

29) In connection with the above point, if you’re afraid of doing something, then you have to go do only that with that person.

30) If you say something stupid, let it be. Don’t try to correct it for some time by saying, ‘No but I actually meant…’.

31) Don’t try to tell people of how many connections you have, whom you know. If there is a familiar name that comes up in conversation, don’t jump up to tell people whom you know.

32) Now you may think you don’t brag, but that is not true. Everybody brags all the time – see how much you can cut down on bragging. Examples could be: You exaggerate some story in a conversation. So all you do is talk about the past – I went there, then I did that, we had fun. Do not recount anything of the past to create excitement again or to reinforce your image in front of others. Do not talk about any situation of the past.

33) Do not try to put down anyone. You may think it’s harmless gossip, especially women. Just simply don’t talk about other people and put them down in any way. If you have to talk about somebody, then speak about how you would like to progress on the path set by some other person, not materialistic but spiritual.

34) Don’t talk about current political situations, land prices, gold prices, falling or rising rupee.

35) Don’t talk about how difficult it is for you to live life. So whatever that difficulty may be, such as ‘What can I tell you. It gets really difficult sometimes.’ ‘My husband does this, or that’ ‘It’s getting really stressful at work’. Do not speak about how much you are suffering. You may think I am talking about all the big things in life. I’m talking about all the small things. Fundamentally, what I mean is do not complain. So if your wife gives you food with less salt, don’t put additional salt. Just eat it like that. If sweet is less, don’t try to add sugar. Just eat it the way it is. If you don’t like a certain sabzi, then eat it. Don’t eat it every day. Don’t go obsessive by saying no, I want to change myself.

36) Do not start thinking that you are on some spiritual trip and need to speak the truth at all times. Eg. Not breaking a red light even at night. Be practical. Don’t create a ruckus over being spiritual, principled.

37) Don’t wipe the sweat off your brow when you sweat.

38) Don’t sleep with the air conditioner (AC) on.

39) Try to sleep naked in the night. One may think what is the connection between spirituality and sleeping naked in the night? Just see if you can sleep in the night, naked. And you will find that you are in a very uneasy state and you won’t be able to sleep without your clothes on. Then I will ask you, what is the connection between clothes and sleep? But people can’t sleep naked. Why not? There is a deep connection. You don’t accept yourself the way you are. You must always look good to your own self, your mental image.

40) Don’t eat anything before 11am. Wait. At 11 you can have chai at the most, and some bread-butter. But have your food at 1-2pm.

41) Contrary to what people think about not getting angry, if you get angry, be angry completely. In every moment, try to be as authentic as possible without changing your state because of fear. Sometimes, if you have a lot of fear, do whatever you are afraid of. Of course without any harm to other people or yourself. Now this is a big rider and it will take you a long time to understand that.

42) Suppose, with all of your efforts of paying attention, you’ve still hurt somebody or said something sarcastic to somebody, immediately say sorry to that person. And there has to be an emotional state of feeling sorry, not just a verbal vomiting of the word sorry. And that state of sorry has to be one where we do not repeat that ever again. You always have to be on your guard now. When you make one mistake, if you do some one thing that you should not have done – like put your hand in the fire – then you will never do it again. Never ever repeat it.

All the points I have mentioned – in one day, you do all of these things without knowing you are doing them. If you start paying attention to yourself, you will see, I can’t do anything over here. And you will then be on your guard against doing any of these things. That is the time when you will have begun the journey of awareness, that you will know that I do this. You would have turned inwards, you would have begun observing these things in you. And observation does not mean to simply know, self-observation is that struggle against that which has a mechanical and a much more powerful hold over you because of which you just act without knowing what you are doing.

Points added later:
43) Don’t sell yourself all the time. Meaning, don’t keep networking with people to get work from them.

44) And when it comes to selling or networking, sell completely. Then don’t try to establish a personal connection. Work on your merit and establish what that merit is.

45) Don’t try to show people you are important, and more importantly, don’t try to show to yourself that you are important through your clothes or car or your house, or your mannerisms or speech.

46) Don’t try to intimidate people by the way you speak.

47) When you don’t like a person, see what is it about you that’s being reflected in him that you don’t like.

48) Don’t talk typical things or talk mechanically because you are expected to so that you will be accepted. Eg: If you meet someone from your hometown, you’ll talk about your hometown. Or if you meet someone from your professional field, you will talk about it. Behind this is the need to establish an image for ourselves, and to play the role the other person wants us to play so that he can establish his image.

Get out of this silly game. Resist this urge. Stop playing by the rules of the game and you will stop earning points. You will become unfit to play and this level of the game will reject you as a player. Now you’ll qualify for another level. Get out of this and you will become eligible to go somewhere else.

49) Never try to pry information out of someone about another person, what s/he was up to, about a business deal etc. so that you can confirm your doubts or take action accordingly. When the fear rises up, just feel it and resist the urge to get information that is not being revealed to you naturally.

50) Don’t hum songs in your head. It’s mechanical. Don’t think that this is better than constantly plotting and planning in your head. They are both equally mechanical.

51) Procrastination. Always take 24 hours to reply to or take a decision on something.
During excitement, it is all just talk. Wait for it to come to your emotions. You may think procrastination is something to be corrected. We always plan to get better but it never happens, and yet we expect it to happen. When procrastination ends, patience starts.

We don’t procrastinate in situations where there is emotional energy, where the nasha is. So when we say to ourselves, we shouldn’t do this, it’s a borrowed thing. We are saying it because we think that is the right thing to do in society. But it is not emotional. So even when we try to fit the idea into our minds, it doesn’t sink in. Emotions give us this energy.

For example, the energy if anger is emotional. So we force ourselves to not procrastinate or to give up a bad habit, but very soon we lapse and go on a guilt trip. We deliberately create a division in ourselves – one that is what we are and the other, that is what we should be.

Procrastination is good. It is a guard against impulsive behaviour. It helps you revisit a situation and be honest about it. By constantly talking about it, you work yourself up and by the third or fourth day, you actually create the emotional energy to do it. The real test now is when you go and do it. Do you really feel much by doing it, does it really give you any real pleasure? But by then you have moved on to something else.

Remember, there is nothing in the world that calls for immediate action. When something comes to you 3 times, without you running towards it, then look at what life is telling you. Then go do that thing completely. Because life is sending you something, you take the plunge and put in your 100%. Don’t think of profit or loss, simply do it.

52) If you have acted impulsively, don’t get into a circle of guilt over it. Understand how it happened and then let it be.

53) Don’t make others feel guilty of doing you harm in any way.

54) Don’t cut a line. Don’t take the easy way out of anything.

55) Adjust the volume of your voice depending on your surroundings so that the other person can hear you. Similarly, if you can’t hear what is being said, don’t ask the other person to raise his volume. Try to listen to him by adjusting your hearing.

56) All these points are about self-awareness. So don’t make any of them a rule. It will become mechanical. Sense what to do at a particular moment.

(All these points make us realize what not to be. But nobody knows what we should be doing.)