Zen, mindfulness

Self-observation, mindfulness


Yoga, lotus flower, meditation, observation, mindfulness A large part of personal improvement is in Self-Observation, which from a psychological point of view, consists of becoming aware of the attitudes and automated responses that we all have when faced with the daily circumstances of life. Self-observation is then the ability to discover our true nature and begin to become aware of ourselves, which is the key to personal improvement.

Most people, whose examples are in everyday life; they live automated, that is; They carry out their activities automatically, without really observing what they are doing. Such as driving a car, doing bills, watching television or even talking on the phone, which triggers making mistakes, self-scolding and repression. Self-observation is the tool to begin to positively generate changes in all attitudes and ways of responding to life. Likewise, self-observation does not mean self-criticism; on the contrary, it provides a positive approach that allows us to notice repetitive behaviors and patterns that are not helpful.
Even self-criticism and self-scolding can themselves be negative behaviors that you must observe in order to change. For many people, self-scolding is already a common denominator that they never observe because it is automatic. Thus, observing one's own behavior and thoughts is an invitation to become aware, to realize what we have taken for granted for years and that has brought us to where we are now. As the first step in personal improvement, it is important to become aware and observe ourselves without criticizing.

The Discipline of Yoga Before you continue reading, I am going to ask you to forget about any concept you have in your mind of what Yoga means to you. I understand that it will be difficult because we have a preconceived idea that yoga is postures. But don't imagine it for this moment, just read what I have to say about Yoga from my point of view and then draw your own conclusions. When I started taking classes to become a yoga instructor, they told me that Yoga is a Physical Discipline. That means that by its definition Yoga includes a “ Set of physical rules or norms whose constant compliance would lead to a certain result .” Therefore, a person who carries out a continuous practice of Yoga should know what that "set of rules or norms" consists of and should also know what the "result" they can achieve is.

People who go to yoga classes because they want to exercise, others to rest better, others to relieve stress, others because their body hurts, etc. Each individual has his or her goal in mind and each of them is valid and important. The norms or rules are set by the instructor, monitor or yoga teacher who tells you what to do during the classes to obtain the expected results. The standards will be based on the school where these instructors learned Yoga, since there are many schools and each of them focuses on some predominant aspect of our personality. So you can find teachers or instructors who follow the path of activity (Karma Yoga); the path of devotion (Bhakti Yoga); the path of knowledge (Jñána Yoga) or the path of Introspection (Raja Yoga). That is why we see many differences in the way each school teaches Yoga and the norms or rules they follow.

The body and mind are worked on, and emotions become aware, all through Full Presence, Introspection and Self-Observation .

The Expected Result

The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means “Union”. That is to say that through the practice of this discipline we can achieve Union. But the union of what? I have found different ways of expressing that union where they talk to us about uniting body-mind-spirit; also of the union of the Individual Soul with the Universal Soul, etc. However, I recently understood the basic, or deeper meaning of what UNION means. This has given greater meaning to the practice that I follow of yoga in my daily life.

I discovered that we are not who we think we are, that what we see is only a small part of what really exists. That our EGO or what we believe we are, blinds us and does not let us see our true ESSENCE. That we are born with installed programs, which become more complex, and more structured, as we share with other people, but that deep down these programs condition us to DO and forget about something deeper, to BE.

Let's see how I explain it to you in a more practical and simple way. In the Enneagram of the Fourth Way, Gurdjieff told us that we have many Selves within us. I'll explain with an example: Our thinking or analytical self decides that you are overweight so it thinks that it is good to diet and that you are going to start fasting tomorrow. So early in the morning you get up and after a while your body, that bodily Self, asks you to eat something because it lacks calcium to strengthen the bones, but your mental Self tells you no because you are overweight, so the fight between the two begins. 2 selves to eat or not. So after a while your emotional Self gets nervous and has an anxiety attack and instead of eating something that your body was asking for, you decide to eat sweets because you are anxious. The thinking or analytical self criticizes and judges it, the body self complains and manifests itself as being heavier, and the emotional self feels guilty and goes and vomits. In this way we can go for a long time without realizing that none of these Selves are us, that they are programs that make us see the world from one perspective and that condition us to act, to DO. The thinking I has a program that tells what it means for society to be overweight and how to lose it, the emotional I feels empty, it is missing something and it does not know what, because its program tells it that it needs something to be well, to let it fill it. While the bodily Self has been adapting to all the decisions that the other selves have made, it has expanded, with high cholesterol or sugar and a lack of calcium, which is what it was asking for. Does it seem complex to you? then you have not realized that in addition to this there are combinations or subtypes of other selves; the perfectionist self, the authoritarian self, the insecure self, the conservative self, the adventurous self, etc….

Furthermore, there is an External Self, which is the reflection of what is in me but seen outside in the environment where we move. Because I suppose you know that what you see outside is only a projection of what is inside, so if there is a void inside because you feel alone, it is most likely that your reality shows you that. But that's not all, there is also a deeper Self in us that tells us that none of this is true and that appears like a gust to make you feel uncomfortable with what you are experiencing. It is what some call, the Higher SELF, the BEING, the Inner Self... How are you doing so far?

After you consciously practice self-observation for a while, you realize that each of these Selves believes they know what is good for you, because you are not aware of anything, so there is an internal struggle between all of them to decide who has more power.

Through the different techniques of the Yoga discipline I was able to become aware of all these reactions and began to distance myself from them, placing myself in the 3rd position, that of Observer. It's interesting because at first you can only realize that it exists, that your thoughts go one way, and many of them are absurd. That your emotions have another point of view and most of them are full of thoughts that often come from unresolved pasts or desired futures. You realize that your body shows pain, discomfort, bad posture, etc. that teach us what our past has been like..., That's when you realize that they are not you, because you can observe them and realize that they are programs. However, it is only when after a lot of work, a lot of observation, acceptance and understanding how these selves acted that I was able to get them to align and agree, that is when I understood what it means to achieve UNION.

There are few times that I have felt like a single SELF, but I can tell you that it is magical because there is clarity and everything looks simpler, you are calm, everything manifests itself fluidly, with minimal effort. However, our programs are so deep and are so well installed in us that a continuous practice of self-observation is required to be able to discern and recognize when there is something that comes from the Higher SELF or when it is something that comes from a program of the Higher SELF. EGO.

The Rules or Norms

To achieve Union, Self-Observation needs to be carried out continuously. But what should we observe? As a rule we should observe:

1.- Thoughts

We have already spoken that we are constantly thinking and that most of what we think is not ours, it comes from programs that we carry in our genes and that we also acquire updates in our lives with contact with other people, in society.

I really liked an explanation that a teacher named Sanam gave, she says that thoughts are like the frequencies of a radio. This radio is always on and we are not aware that it is a radio and that as such thoughts are frequencies that can be tuned. That is to say that we can decide what to listen to and what not, although it seems that we cannot turn it off, we can lower the volume to what does not interest us or put on another station that is more useful to us.

So the first step is to observe the thoughts, without doing anything more than observing them and letting them pass, realizing that they are not ours because there is a separation between them and what we are. photo Sam wermut

2.- Emotions and Feelings

It is important to learn to differentiate emotions from feelings. Emotions are bodily reactions that invite us to perform an action, while feelings are something more complex because they involve a thought.

To understand, let's look at the emotion related to fear. If you are in front of a person with a firearm in their hands and they threaten you, it is normal to feel afraid, because it has to do with our survival, this fear makes us flee or makes us fight in order to stay alive. While fear as a feeling is related to our thoughts, that is, you are at home and you see a news program where someone was killed and then you start to think that you could be the next, so you put alarm systems at home, you don't sleep in the house. night because something could happen to you, you stop going out because you are afraid, etc. If you realize it is not a real threat, it is something that may or may not happen, but that is only in your mind.

So as a second step we must become aware of that difference and perceive when what we feel is an emotion or a feeling.

3.- The Instincts

On the other hand, we must observe what the body tells us. Our body speaks to us and asks us through desires. When we suddenly feel like we need to eat something and we don't understand why, the body may be telling you that it is missing some component that contains what you wanted, so when you eat it you feel good and satisfied. However, the desire may not come from the body, so what you want does not satisfy you, you want more, you become obsessed and continue, that happens with sugar, fat, salt, sex, money, etc.

So the other thing we must begin to understand is when the body speaks to us because of a real desire and when the desire comes from scarcity or a void that will not be filled with what you give it, no matter how much you give it what it asks for. .

Yoga Techniques for Self-observation

The discipline of Ancient Yoga is made up of 8 angas or parts that are used in combination or alone with the purpose of helping us integrate or create union with ourselves and with the whole. These angas include:

  1. The Asanas – body techniques;
  2. The Pránáyámas – techniques for capturing energy through Conscious Breathing
  3. The Yoganidras – relaxation techniques
  4. The Mudras – gestural techniques
  5. The Kriyas – body cleansing techniques
  6. The Pújás – ritualization techniques
  7. Mantras – vocalization techniques
  8. Meditation – Mindfulness techniques

If you see, Yoga is not just exercising, Yoga is a physical discipline that helps you through self-observation to reach a different state than the one we currently have, which is that of being automatic. That is, we can reach a state of Consciousness. That is why I combine my coaching work with transformational Yoga when we want to find our true purpose in life, that of BEING.

Each of these angas is used for a specific purpose, which can be used alone or combined; For example, conscious breathing can be done to activate the right side of our brain and sleep better, or conscious breathing can also be used at the beginning of a meditation using an energy capture mudra. followed by a vocalization of a mantra in order to activate both parts of the brain, quiet the mind of thoughts and thereby increase our vital energy.

Each anga can be used during a yoga class or in our daily life while carrying out everyday activities, for example: we can meditate in movement while walking, breathe consciously when we are watching TV, become aware of our body and perform a yoganidra when we are in traffic, placing ourselves in a posture of balance or strength before entering a job interview, doing an inverted posture when we have no ideas coming to mind, etc.

Each anga helps us in a specific way to observe ourselves, but with the combination of all of them we can become aware of both our thoughts, our emotions, and our instincts, which is why yoga for me is one of the most complete disciplines that It can help us with our process of personal growth or evolution.

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