Introspection is the process of conscious self-awareness. Learn why it’s important, and how to cultivate it for spiritual growth.
It is crucial that you become an expert in yourself. A self-expert — a master of your ‘self’, and hence your thought process, behavior, habit, and life.
However, modern life, culture, and society has made this harder than ever before.
It’s ironic that during the last three hundred years modern humans have consistently generated the knowledge, found methods, and created tools for mastering nature and the world around them, while failing to create the knowledge or the tools to master themselves.
As a result, we observe a plethora of specialists — people who have in-depth knowledge and understanding of things and people, and who can share insights and offer tools and solutions for problems others are facing.
At the same time, finding self-experts has become a rarity.
We are experiencing a total inversion of what it means to be.
As we grow older, most of us find that we are less in tune with ourselves and hence more dependent on externalities.
We live, desire, and struggle to achieve, without knowing what we truly want — without knowing ourselves. As a result, we have externalized meaning, and hence every aspect of our lives.
We’re trapped in a culture of doing, and where pause is literally a waste of time.
It’s time to get out.
And the only natural way (that we humans have practiced over the ages, in every civilization) is through introspection.
What is Introspection? When does it happen?
Introspection is the process of conscious self-awareness. It is a critical assessment of our actions and behavior. It happens when we look inward and examine our behavior, emotions, thoughts, and motives.
What Happens When We Fail At Introspection?
We fail at introspection because it’s hard to control our flow of thought and to master the brain.
Two primary causes include:
- Our education system and society offer us methods of critical evaluation of things outside of us. Hence, we readily judge and analyze people and environments around us without analyzing and reflecting on our own thought process and behavior.
- Our culture of consumption (i.e. consumerism) has made us more open to external, readily consumable forms of content (visual and aural) instead of being introspective of the content that we, ourselves, are creating.
As a result, we readily judge others (because watching someone else behave, talk, react, and respond to you is a form of consumable content), instead of allowing our consciousness to expand and understand them.
Consequently, we become conscious of how our actions and thoughts might be judged by others.
As a result, we become locked in a vicious cycle where we remain cynical, critical, and judgmental about what others have to say instead of listening to our inner voice and doing what we want to do and say — in a phrase, what will make us grow.
We can outgrow it by investing in creating and sustaining an ethos of introspection in our lives.
Why is Cultivating an Ethos of Introspection important in our lives?
Our souls are growing continuously. They perceive every event in our lives, take wisdom from it, and build intuition.
As we avoid introspection and self-reflection, that knowledge and wisdom (“those unconnected dots”) remain untapped and unorganized.
As a result, we feel troubled, and experience meaninglessness in our lives — we hear a troubled calling, as our inner voice (which though suppressed due to lack of self-reflection and introspection) calls more often, with irritable urgency.
Like a child pulling at us to change our direction and to see what it wants us to see.
Introspection allows us to become more self-ware. It allows us to:
- Observe negative patterns in our lives
- Know, prioritize, and face our fears
- Define what happiness means to us, from within, instead of borrowing its definition from without
- Avoid worrying about things beyond our control
- Remain focused on the bigger picture
- Parent our inner child and connect with the wisdom within our souls
- Become masters of ourselves
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