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Self Development: How introspection can help us transform ourselves

There is always space for self development and there are plenty of things to improve in every individual. Most of the times we all have a list of the things to do, to improve or bring the value in us. But we are not able to do that because of various reasons (Laziness, being afraid of what others may think, lack of courage etc).

For example, because of not so good performance in studies you decide to wake up early in the morning and study. You have also planned a proper timetable for the whole day. Next day when the alarm rings, you get up early as decided. For two days, it goes on well like this. But on the 3rd or 4th day at the sound of the alarm, you are unwilling to get up, snooze the alarm and you continue sleeping. Next day the same thing repeats.  You give yourself an excuse that because you had slept late, the next day, the excuse of lot of work to do etc. Reasons to miss getting up early will come to mind unknowingly. After a few days like this, you will also get irritated by alarm sound and you will turn it off.

Here two things can be observed:

First,the wish to study well and get up early was motivated by the pain of bad performance in exam.

Second, When the intensity of pain reduces automatically motivated wish is also reduced.

Let us not re-check whether the reasons which were there in the mind to miss getting up early were valid or not. So, mind was misled by reasons.

A Subhashitam in Sanskrit gives more light on solution to this:

àTyhm!  àTyveKzet nr:cirtmaTmn>,
ikm! nu me pzuiÉStuLym! ikm! nu sTpué;Eirit.

pratyaham pratyavekçeta narañcaritamätmanaù|
kim nu me paçubhistulyam kim nu satpuruñairiti||

Meaning: Everyday one should introspect or see clearly what was their conduct that day. Are their actions being like Animal or like Sat Purusha (Good Human)? What is called being like animal and who is sat-purusha?

Actions towards fulfilling desires are common in animals and human. But animals are impulsive and humans are thoughtful. When the cow sees the green grass, it will automatically go to eat it.Cow will not think whether this grass field belongs to the owner or not. It will not ask another cow to watch in the corner so that this cow can ‘steal’ the grass.

 Cow is bound to go towards these desires. It does not have option. Whereas humans, being thoughtful, always have three options before any action i.e.,

  • 1. To do
  • 2. Not to do
  • 3. Do it in the other way

Using this capacity of thinking one has to conduct all actions rightly. And thinking again and again in this direction about self-development is the way.

Whatever we do, may not be always triggered by pain. It also can be a thoughtful understanding. When you know it properly, knowledge will never fade away. Ex: ‘fire burns’. This knowledge is well understood to all. So no one will forget and touch fire. (that knowledge never fades.)

Likewise, when goal is clear, one can easily differentiate things into two categories.

  • Actions/things which are helpful to reach the goal (directly or indirectly).
  • Actions/things which are obstacles to reach the goal (directly or indirectly).

The above two will help to introspect ourselves as to what to avoid and what to retain. A wise person always avoids the avoidable and retains the retainable. To develop good values in us also we can use this method. This change may not happen drastically by one or two introspections. It will take its own course of time based on our intensity, continuity and respect.

Introspection is called Simha-avalakona in Sanskrit. The courage like a lion is required to do so. Introspection presupposes nothing but leisureliness of mind. That is possible only when we spend some time for ourselves. In a day, we can sit for 10 minutes doing nothing but introspecting. This will bring tremendous life spirit in us. Even people around us can identify our transformation. The purpose of every introspection is to reduce the impulsiveness and bring the thoughtfulness in us.

There is time for study, time for dance, time for entertainment, time for earning in our daily life but can we include/have little time for ourselves?!                                     

-by Vishwajith KM, Asst. Teacher, (Sanskrit) Vidya Soudha Public School

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