Before we can choose not to compromise ourselves, we must first become acutely aware of those thoughts of ours that may be holding some secret seed of self-defeat. If we don’t know we’re doing this kind of compromised thinking — or acting out their emotional counterparts — what else can follow but to receive the defeat that they embody?
For example, these harmful inner voices and emotional forces may tell us to resent someone or to hate our life; or to give up, and accept fear as a way of life. Our own thoughts may instruct us, without our ever knowing it, to cling to doubts or to jump headlong into pools of self-pity. And because we don’t know there’s any alternative, we do as we’re instructed.
We can wake up right in the middle of these mental ordeals. Working with self-observation, we can actually see, for ourselves, that these self-compromising thoughts are just that: thoughts. They have no real authority, which means their unconscious direction does not have to be our destiny.
To begin with, always take a conscious step back from anything that howls at you from within. Now see that any shriek of discomfort, worry, anxiety, or shame, can never be a part of who you really are. Become an observer of yourself, watchful of both the content — and the intent — of everything arising from your own mind and heart.
Allow the following three higher facts to help you develop your practice of self-observation.
1. Casually, but definitely, consciously defy any feeling that tells you you’re stuck with it.
2. Stepping back from your own thoughts and learning to watch them is the same as stepping up to a free mind.
3. Being receptive to a higher fact about yourself lifts you to the level of that insight where the fact you once feared no longer frightens you, just as eagles don’t fear sharks.