The Art of Turning Within Have you ever caught yourself half-way through a fit of anger and realised its futility? Pujya Gurudevshri introduces powerful tools to increase your awareness, and check yourself before the act, not after the damage is done. 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, practice 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 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: Introspection, where emphasis is laid on contemplation. Observation, where the emphasis is on being a witness. Introspection 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. The process of self-awareness is generally, accomplished in two stages, namely: Introspection, where emphasis is laid on contemplation Observation, where the emphasis is on being a witness 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. Observation 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. Contradictory, yet obvious 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 I am not the thoughts The thoughts are not mine I have no relation with thoughts 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. Observation with awareness involves three steps. Again, taking anger as an example: When anger has already peaked and is now waning, just as you would see the gradually disappearing tail of an elephant, after it has passed through. When you were angry, you were so consumed by it that you were not able to maintain any awareness. Now that the anger has nearly subsided, 99% of it has retreated after doing its damage, only when the final part remains, do you suddenly become aware of it. This is the first step of awareness. This is good, but surely not good enough. This is when the entire elephant of anger is standing right in front of you, not just the tail. When your anger is well-established, you are fuming with anger – that is the time when you suddenly become aware of it. As your practise of awareness increases you will gradually go beyond this and reach the third stage. This is when anger has not even manifested fully. It is just starting to surface. The head of the elephant is just emerging, just as the anger is entering the boundaries of your consciousness, you become aware of it. Your anger in the form of an elephant has not even been created yet. You have killed it before it is born. This indicates the height of awareness. Maintain constant awareness. Let there not be even a single moment of unawareness. When you see your thoughts, do not start interacting with them. Try to stay aloof from them. Cultivate a feeling of being merely a witness of the thought process! Your relationship with thoughts is confined only to witnessing them, nothing more than that! In order to free yourself from the onslaught of thoughts, first of all, arrive at a decision on these three statements, and then practise them with a firm resolve: I am not the thoughts, The thoughts are not mine, and I have no relation with thoughts. The oneness you establish with thoughts by considering them your own, prevents you from freeing yourself from them. One who is merely a guest becomes a permanent resident! When you remain an observer, the oneness with your thoughts snaps and a separation is created. Thoughts no longer get nourishment and hence they start dying, disappearing; and you get a glimpse of the state of no-mind. You experience an unprecedented tranquillity, happiness – the first experience of happiness without any reason, the first glimpse of joy without any association with the non-self! With constant practice, you may feel at times that hours pass by without a single gross thought arising in your mind. The most amazing thing about the mind is that as soon as you become a witness, it starts dissolving. Just as by lighting the lamp, darkness disappears, by kindling the witness attitude, the mind starts dissolving. You enter into a void, a deep silence where there is such unfathomable peace, such fragrance, such beauty, that you will submerge in divinity. Having plunged into divinity, when you surface, you will experience that you are a totally different person. You will lose your karmic identity. There will be no masks. There will be constant awareness of your identity with the Pure Soul. You will be in this world, but very different from worldly people. Though you will be in their midst, you will live with a totally different outlook. You will be in the same waters, but remain untouched like the lotus. In the water, and yet untouched by it! 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.