Meditation # 1: The only way to ‘self-realize’ is by remaining a part of the society, not by imposing self-isolation.
My Master and teacher, Maheshwar Nath Babaji, once told me: “The first step is to understand yourself. Understand your strengths, your weaknesses, what you actually are. Do not start with super-imposing the idea that I am great, I am blissful, I am this and that.”
The preliminary question to ask our selves is, “Let us find out who I am. Where do I stand? What is the position that I start (from)?”
It is important to understand one’s position to initiate a course of action. If we are standing on a platform and we want to get down from there, we have to first judge the height and decide on a mode of descending. If we were to not consider these points, there is a risk we might put ourselves in danger by alighting in a hurry.
Another example: Suppose, we were in a dark room, and want to find the door. We would have to first ascertain our position, and then find the switch, so as to turn it on and find the door.
So, before we embark on the edifying exploration of truth, consider this: We must, carefully and vigilantly, watch ourselves. A great deal of attention is required here for this self-examination. Otherwise, we are in great danger of being distracted by thoughts such as, ‘I am this, I am that.’ The big question here is can we look at our self as we are—without prejudice, without being judgmental, and without condemning our self?
The important thing to note while self-examining ourselves: This is possible only in the midst of society. Now this is interesting—we thought isolation was prerequisite for such self-enquiry. I say, we can’t really study our mind, or know ourselves, sitting in a cave.
Even though we have our mind and its thoughts to witness, there is nothing that results in progress because we are in isolation. There is nobody in the cave to interact with, to get angry with, to get jealous of when we are alone. We can’t get angry at the walls of the cave.
The remarkable thing is this: When we come out of that cave and get into a bus, if someone were to step on our toes unintentionally, we will instantaneously know who we really are, where we are and what our reaction is! What is the real content of our mind here? Nine times out of ten, we want to dig our elbow into someone’s stomach (the one responsible for our pain) or verbally abuse him or her, out of our maddening pain. I don’t mean to generalise that we will only do this, but see where I am going with this.
So, the only way to study our selves, the only way to know our selves, the only way to ‘self-realize’—understand ourselves as we are and not as we imagine we are—is by being in the midst of society.
– Sri M