Sometimes, It seems strange to sit and drink a coffee as two good friends, with a person who once was exclusively my mentor, who in some way opened my eyes to a new view of perceiving life and the phenomena that happens in and around me.
Yesterday was one of these days of calm and pleasant drinking coffee and, in occasion of the first meeting which I am organizing in Zagreb, he spoke to me both as friend and mentor, giving me advice related to inner development.
Having seen that these indications are very useful for a seeker in the field of self development, I would like to share it with you considering that maybe they could be a “good reminder” (but not only this). Indeed, they represent a deep cleaning that I rarely noticed in other guides who tended to create a sort of dependence on them.
And this is just a peculiarity I could point about my mentor: the total absence of wishing to making the other dependent on him and his words in order to make him “feel like a seeker”.
The argument of the conversation revolved around how to proceed on a path for self research, and he pointed out three factors that, in his opinion, are indispensable for cultivating achievement of this aim- three factors that, if practiced with diligence, could allow the individual to cover a good part of the path in the field of self development, even without (I am quoting his very words) a guidance, a teacher, a mentor.
Once more I would like to say that, maybe, this could be interesting even for persons other than myself.
The first thing to cultivate: the capacity to use the mind to examine deeply, every argument and also to stop negative emotions before they manifest themselves. The active use of mind can be a great skill in self development, independently from the “line of work” one follows. What is important is to learn to think in an active way as best as we can so as to not allow, during the thinking process, the associative and conditioned thoughts to happen. This is what, in this blog, has been presented as pondering.
Also, one should never forget that, during such thinking processes, something has been surely ignored, so we haven’t understood it completely.
So, never forget that there always exists something on which we haven’t thought enough about, that there’s something we surely didn’t notice and what we don’t notice in this moment.
Such active use of the mind can allow us to see all things from many points view and it allows us to achieve a more and more objective vision of things, people and events. Indeed, probably we still know that our vision of phenomena is purely subjective, mainly seen from our own point of view. If we can use this term “seen”, it is when people often “look, but don’t see”.
Such acceptance of the fact that we hadn’t understood all completely, brings us to remember that things aren’t exactly as we see them, and should use discretion in stating indiscriminate judgments about facts and persons.
Speaking about the negative emotions, it’s true that emotions are faster than thought, but it’s also true that mind can do much regarding the administration of the emotional field. Indeed, once an emotion arises, mind can recover the delay and stop a negative emotion at its onset. Negative emotions are a poison for our consciousness and our emotional health. But what shouldn’t be forgotten is the skill to administer the emotional field and all the emotions, and not only the negative emotions. In any case, to administer and stop an emotional manifestation doesn’t mean to repress it. Of course, it isn’t easy as it’s easy to write about, but with a little good and sincere will, it can be done.
To stop for a moment and analyze what is about to rise emotionally in us, deprives energy to the emotion itself and uses the same energy for a constructive observation and realization of what is happening, namely, to an intelligent and active use of our mind,
This is the reason why presence and swiftness are fundamental.
The second thing to cultivate is being honest with ourselves and, consequently with others. Being honest means not finding every type of excuse for something that is happening or something we are doing, or for a lack we don’t wish to see. In order to achieve this aim, it is fundamental to detect what Gurdjieff called “buffers” and seeing ourselves as we are, we avoid the usual reflection of a false image about ourselves.
Of course, it’s not pleasant nor easy to see ourselves as we are, with all the defects, limitations, and fears, but if we don’t see these fields of ourselves, how could we know and realize how we are… and how do we release ourselves from these behaviours and begin to develop in an efficient and definitive way?
Why fake it? There are dozens of people involved in a “work” for inner development and research and they bring with them such an attitude – lying to themselves and others; they had never done it, even with the habit to meditate, meditate, meditate… and that’s enough about the third factor, because it is a science in itself.
Those who are interested in deepening the knowing about meditation can find many theoretical and practical posts concerning this topic on this blog.
In any case, the most important and comforting thing is that, after my mentor’s long speech, which was longer and much more articulated than what is reported here in brief, he concluded with saying that, through the cultivation of these three factors, one can really make huge steps forward in the path for self development, even without guidance.
Of course, guidance is important, but…. have we all the possibility to meet one who could guide us? Once more, use the second thing to be cultivated and avoid the mechanical lying. There are so many people who use the label of self development and spiritual path exclusively to make money, without giving something effective and efficient to advance in such fields. But this is another story…