The Art of Introspection – Self-Knowledge, Awareness, and Tools for Transformation
Posted On January 14, 2020
/ Written by Dr. Linda Gadbois
The cornerstone of all spiritual growth and psychological healing comes through the motto “know thyself” as attaining deeper forms of self-awareness that brings realization and insights into your true nature and why your life is the way it is. The whole basis of healing in the psychological sense comes naturally when we bring what’s working to create in our lives at an unconscious level into the light of awareness and we “own it” instead of denying or attempting to somehow justify or glorify it. To be empowered in your own life only comes through gaining knowledge of yourself in terms of both your conscious and unconscious tendencies and the success or failing that result from them. The only thing we truly have the power to change in our life is ourselves. All transformation comes only by way of self-awareness that brings deeper realizations around how it is that we have created ourselves and our life to be the way it is.
Many of us spend our whole life focused primarily on other people and what it is we imagine they’re “doing to us”, instead of forming awareness around ourselves, our own characteristics, and what part it is we play in co-creating our own life experiences. Like all ideas this one exists as a form of paradox born and maintained out of a sense of separation and detachment from our own power to create in our life. We can spend the better part of our life trying to figure out how to “change others” or by forming the perception that others are the ones responsible for why we’re the way we are and why our life has formed the way it has without realizing that both our “self” and our “life” are virtually the same thing, and in order to change one we have to work by way of the other.
This idea is compounded further by the idea of what it means to be “selfish” as opposed to “selfless”, and that our “faults” and “weaknesses” are something that’s usually pointed out by others, or is only known through the opinion of others. In our modern day society we’ve made the idea of “self-perfection” out to be a dirty word because we base it on a form of judgment that’s imposed on us by others as their perception of us, rather than on our own ability to observe and closely examine our own tendencies in any situation. One of the key practices in life comes through our ability to determine our own faults and destructive tendencies and then take the measures necessary to correct ourselves.
The idea of “self-perfection” comes by whatever we deem to be the best version of ourselves and then commit to achieving by transforming our weaknesses into strengths. It comes by consciously acting to develop ourselves to be the best we can be. We take responsibility for ourselves instead of blaming our self-destructive tendencies on others. We form an “ideal” for our own development then undergo the process of self-transformation from a semi-unconscious state of being to a primarily conscious and aware state of being. Perfection comes through consistent growth and by developing ourselves in an intentional way in order to create the type of experiences we want to have. It’s only by fully recognizing our own faults that we have the foundation necessary for using our higher powers of choice, will, and realization in order to transform them into our best traits.
All of what we call “higher knowledge” comes as comprehension of Universal Laws to the extent of being able to apply them at the practical level in order to heal and step into our power as our own creator. All Universal Laws (of mind and spirit) form a direct correspondence and work harmoniously to create within the material world through Natural Laws. When we work by way of law, we create in what seems like an effortless manner as a synchronized flow of correlated events, and when we fail to understand and work by way of law, we counteract ourselves and create a constant feeling of hardship and self-sabotage. The material world only serves as a “stage” for us to create ourselves by how we enter into relationship with it. It’s a form of school where we can practice our ability to create until we can do it in an accurate and consistent way.
Introspection and Objective Self-Observation
The most primary law there is, the one that everything else is based on and rises naturally out of as a growth process, is what’s called the “all in One” Law, or in Sacred Geometry the Law of the Monad. This law basically demonstrates that all of reality is a unified whole, and that the “self” and the “reality of the self” are actually the same thing. One systematically produces the other, and vice versa. What we perceive as a separation between our self and another is actually a very fundamental illusion that deceives us in the most basic sense of the idea. It’s “who we are” in terms of “how we’re being” that determines how we “perceive” ourselves in relation to and comparison with others. Our outer perception of others and the world and our perception of our self are complementary opposites of each other and provide us with a mirror into the hidden aspects of our soul. Our outer reality only changes as a direct reflection of our inner self. As we change internally, our life changes to the exact same degree.
One of the most valuable and fundamental spiritual practices there are is the practice of self-observation and the objective examination of our own characteristics and the tendencies that result from them. We have to cultivate the ability to look inward in all situations in order to see what our own characteristics and behaviors are, and how it is that they serve to influence and actively create in the situation. We take an attitude of observing any situation in a way that allows us to see and form realizations around our own negative and destructive characteristics.
As we gain realization into our own unconscious behaviors and what they cause, it’s important to record them in a diary or notebook, because like all realizations that come through a form of meditation and introspection, they’re fleeting and you may not be able to remember them later. Awareness is the key to transformation, and the more defined our awareness is around something, the more immediate and powerful the transformation is. As you write down realizations about yourself in the moment when they’re happening, you record them so you can continue to reflect on them later. As you begin writing and defining them with detailed descriptions the deeper you go and the more pronounced your realizations become. As you define your character flaws and weaknesses in order to gain clarity around them, you simultaneously transform them through the realizations they bring.
This diary or personal notebook is your own to use and you should never, under any circumstances show or discuss it with anyone else. This is your own private tool for developing yourself. The only thing that goes in it is your own ideas for yourself. All self-development and healing is something we do to and for ourselves. These observations about your own character provide you with the knowledge you need in order to begin healing your own unproductive tendencies and develop your weaknesses into strengths. The foundation for self-mastery comes through self-control and your intrinsic ability to discipline yourself in order to implement new ways of being and create in new ways as a result.
The art of objective self-observation requires you to be frank and honest with yourself in realizing your poor character traits, moral weaknesses, shortcomings, habits, failings, passions, and compulsive urges. You’re not engaging in “criticizing” yourself because of them, but simply opening your mind to honest self-evaluation and recognizing your part in creating the events of your own life. You have to resist the urge to justify your right to be that way, or to try and glorify your failings and shortcomings somehow by the story you tell yourself about them. You remove your focus completely from what other people are saying or doing that’s causing you to be the way you are, and place all of your attention on what’s happening inside of you, what characteristics are brought out in you, and how you behave as a result. You refrain from the natural tendency to build an illusion around whatever it is you don’t want to see about yourself, and witness your life without attachments of any kind.
To start this process, relax in a private environment and reflect back on yourself in different situations that didn’t go very well or that caused you pain and suffering somehow, and simply contemplate them. Replay what happened while focusing inward on how it made you feel and how you became as a result. How were you influenced by another person’s behavior towards you? Ask yourself what your part was in creating it? What role did you play in producing whatever resulted? What did the situation act to bring out in you that caused you to react the way you did? Analyze the experience by replaying how it happened in a step-by-step way while only focusing on “you” and what part you played in co-creating the outcome. Make detailed notes on all of your own errors, inappropriate behavior, and shortcomings, while continuously resisting the need to explain and justify your right to be that way by making it the other person’s fault. Make notes of even the smallest and most insignificant details in order to see yourself clearly.
As you make notes, meditate deeply on them as a means of penetrating deeply into your own soul. Realization is the most primary way we have of “transforming” things. All healing in the psychological sense comes through self-awareness that brings self-realization as to your own character. Constant self-observation and evaluation is the most important part of self-development. This is the most important step in preparing for initiation, achieving inner balance, and engaging willfully in the process of ascension. As we realize and resolve our own character flaws and destructive tendencies, we make a constant ascent towards a higher level of consciousness, and master our ability to create.
You can review any past event that had a strong impact on you or served as a turning point in your life, as well as how relationships were established and evolved through the course of time. You can also form a daily practice where at the end of every day, you sit quietly and reflect back on the main events of the day, and review how things transpired and turned out, and what your part was in co-creating them. You can examine your own attitude and behavior to see what was productive and went the way you wanted it to, and what didn’t. As you examine your own behavior, you can realize where your flaws were and actively choose what you would have liked to have done instead.
As you realize what you could have done differently to produce a more desirable outcome, you can replay the event in your mind while employing different qualities and behaviors. You can change the event in your mind by changing your own part in it. As you “correct yourself” and replay the same situation in a different way while behaving differently, you act to give yourself a “new pattern” to use in all future situations of a similar nature. This way, whenever the same type of situation occurs in the future, you have a well thought out idea on how to respond in a much more purposeful manner. Once you get good at this, you can practice it throughout the day when you have time to relax and reflect, and learn how to identify all your flaws and what it is that causes you to do them.
Identifying Severity of Destructive Tendencies
Another thing you can do is evaluate the extent of the problems these character flaws cause in your life. Some attitudes and behaviors are much more destructive and counterproductive than others, and these need to be identified for what they are and corrected as quickly as possible. One of the ways you can do this is to divide the character flaws into three categories in terms of the type of problems they cause. This will give you an idea of which ones cause the greatest problems and are outright destructive, and which ones are minor and somewhat irritating.
3 Levels of Bad Character Traits:
High – negative characteristics that influence you the most, happen frequently or are intense and super dramatic, and tend to cause the greatest problems.
Medium – ones that occur less frequently and have less influence and produce minor problems.
Low – ones that only occur occasionally and has minimal influence in our life.
This process will help you to become self-aware of your own character flaws and what it is about your behavior that causes you to fail in achieving what you desire to create, and in what ways it is that you act within your own life in a destructive and unconscious manner. You may want to practice it intensely for a couple of weeks, and then periodically as new realizations arise and become apparent.
In the same way you record all of your character flaws and shortcomings, you also want to record all of your positive characteristics and strong points. Reflect on and gain detailed awareness of your good character traits, high morality, and situations where you created just what you wanted to. In this way you can gain detailed information around what it is that you’re doing that both works and doesn’t work. You can realize your own faults and act on yourself to correct them in whatever way you want. You can acquire knowledge that will provide you with the basis for becoming a conscious creator in your own life and learn how to work by way of law in order to shape yourself in whatever way you choose to.
This practice will provide you with a form of mirror into your own soul where you can master self-control and create yourself and your life in whatever way you choose to instead of feeling as if you’re a victim to others and to the circumstances of your life. Our outer perception of reality is formed as a correspondence to our inner perception of our self. Our outer life is the result of the story we tell through our inner life. However we choose to intentionally develop our character determines the type of life we live and the story we tell about ourselves in living it. Every story has a main character that’s ideal for telling that type of story. If we don’t like the type of story we’re living, then the most natural way to change it is by developing our own character to be the main star in telling a different kind of story. This journal will help map out your character and provide you with greater insights into your own soul and why your life is the way it is.
Linda is a scholar in Esoteric Sciences and holds a doctorate in Spiritual Sciences, and a BS in Clinical Hypnotherapy, along with numerous specialty certifications in various healing methods. She's professional writer, artist, educator and Mentor, and offers a wide variety of Mentoring and Consulting Services, along with professional training programs. Her specialties include Personal Transformation, Self-Mastery, Spiritual Sciences, Transpersonal Psychology, and Integrative Mind-Body Medicine. For more info visit our Personal and Professional Services pages in the top menu bar of this site, or email us at: [email protected]