"Understanding of the self only arises in relationship, in watching yourself in relationship to people, ideas, and things; to trees, the earth, and the world around you and within you. Relationship is the mirror in which the self is revealed. Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action." Jiddu Krishnamurti
Our intentions and actions often disagree. We find resistance in many forms. We procrastinate, avoid, make excuses, and fight ourselves so that we don’t have to deal with our internal struggles. Often we are completely unaware that we are even resisting. We make excuses through the conscious mind, but our unconscious knows the truth. This is where neurotic behavior stems from: the inability to control the discrepancy between the conscious and the unconscious, the losing battle of resistance; we can no longer sit still in peace because of all the unconscious turmoil that doesn’t agree with what we tell ourselves through the conscious mind. Our actions represent impulsive behavior, not articulated awareness.
The process of self-awareness is simple: become aware of your unconscious tendencies, then remove them to act in a clearer more purposeful way. This is where your intentions and actions agree. Otherwise your actions are influenced by unconscious impulses that are directing you to continue with the same patterns of behavior. This is where suffering comes from – when you are dominated by impulses. This brings suffering because you think that by fulfilling the particular impulse you will be happy. According to Buddhism, this is the definition of suffering – desire. However, when the fulfillment of the impulse doesn’t satisfy, we project another desire. Our goal is to become aware and understand these impulses so we can change the patterns that are holding us back from truly experiencing free will.
Your life is a compilation of patterns – cause and effect. Some of these patterns you are conscious of, while most you are not. If you want to understand what is going on inside you, just look at your reflection. Your external world is just a projection of your internal experience. As Krishnamurti said, “Understanding of the self only arises in relationship…” Your reflection can be seen in anything and everything.
We experience the self through our internal and external interactions. When we view our external as a reflection of the internal we can obtain another perspective of our patterns.
The following are some methods for becoming aware of your patterns by seeing your reflection in life’s mirrors:
Examine Why A Particular Person Is In Your Life
What do they make you feel or not feel, do or not do? How do they inspire you to be? Once you determine this you can go further, and ask yourself - why do I react this way to them?
Be Aware Of What You Notice About People
We tend to see what we are looking for. The unconscious has an agenda – to become conscious. Without our knowledge we will focus on something. So our fixation is an indication that there may be more to uncover.
Look at the people in the person’s life
Observe the patterns of interaction a person in your life has with strangers, friends, etc. Where do you fit in that pattern? Because you do, you are not the only random thing in their life. You are part of their pattern as well as your own. If you have difficulty seeing your pattern, look at theirs and see how you fit in it. If you begin dating someone and find out that their previous partners had a particular attribute, you may also have this. Especially if you have dated several people who have had previous partners with this same quality.
Look At How Your Emotions Are Directing Your Attention
If someone calls me fat, I know that I am not fat so emotionally it doesn’t have any impact on me. However, if I was self-conscious about my weight and someone called me fat, I may be angry, hurt, or offended. Why did I have an emotional response in the second scenario, but not the first? In the second situation I experienced emotions related to how I feel about myself. This should be an indication that there is something deeper. Emotions should not dictate your behavior, but they should focus your attention. Be aware of what emotions are reflecting back to you.
Think of life as a game. Through this earthly existence our external world reflects back to us all the ways that we are not love. If we accept this process and these reflections, adjusting our thoughts, actions, and words - we radiate more love with each passing day. This experience is challenging, but beautiful.
If we resist these reflections, denying the internal, externalizing the subject, our life is miserable. True lasting happiness doesn’t exist when we resist, as there is no peace in attaching happiness to the temporary, a collection of thoughts – the ego. This makes life dull and gloomy.
Only happiness based on love sustains because we are all pure love emanating from the source of divine love – God. If we are able to accept and adjust, reflecting an unobstructed, unfiltered love our life then becomes blissful.
The winners of this game are not just the ones that radiate complete love, but also the souls who make a conscious effort to expand their awareness of the source of love with each day despite the challenges. They make each day a beautiful mystery discovering new ways to radiate love, expanding their awareness and learning of their immortality.
Radiate love - connect to the source! Be blissful!