How Do I Understand Myself?

I want to understand myself, learn about myself. In observing myself… do it actually, don't take it home and think about it, do it now. This is not a group therapy or a confessional or all that nonsense, but watch yourself as we are working together.

Usually, when I want to learn about myself, my mind is already conditioned to learn in a particular way.

I call it learning about myself, but isn’t my main motivation to better cope with my problems? In the outer technical world this form of learning poses no problem; but in learning about our foggy, unresolved, inner conflict – is this going deep enough?

Either I look to others or I look to experts in the field; gurus, teachers, psychologists, YouTube videos, even Google nowadays…

My mind usually searches for a cause of the problem. When I have understood the cause, I feel I can now control the effect. But the cause is deep in my psychological make up; am I the cause itself and unaware of it? In fact, am I the problem?

As we watch ourselves, do we see that we are in the habit of moving away from our problems: either towards a solution or a distraction. Or, I may just swim in the paralysis of self pity. I begin to realise that there is an automatic impulse in me to somehow avoid the discomfort of an issue and find a comfortable psychological resting place.

When I can identify the pain – when I think I know what this state is, when I can put a name to it – there is no vital necessity to look at it. If I really do not know what to do, isn’t there a naturally pressing urge to find out? Attention is activated as a matter of course. The mind gives tremendous energy to meet this existential crisis that is now alive inside.

More energy is generated to face the problem as it is. I meet the immediacy of no avoidance. Without the relief of conditioned thinking taking over and escaping, the uneasiness of the problem may grow. What has been avoided now looms inwardly. There may come a sense of panic being alone with the unresolved; or an impatience for solace may increase.

I go deeper… What wants solace? Or release from fear? Is there a strong sense of “me” to whom all this is happening? This is my problem, my confusion, my apprehension. Watching myself carefuly, I see there are two elements present in the mind: the “me” and the psychological disturbance. Is thinking conjuring a separation between myself and the sensation?

Without me within, there is only the presence of a disturbance and no moving away from it. I realise without a separate entity, there is no sense of conflict towards whatever is present in the mind. What was once felt as “disturbing” is now a totality of sensation. A feeling with no boundaries, fully activated, freely revealing of its content. 

Self-discovery might be a process of energised revelation that is totally new from moment to moment. To see this, I can only find out for myself.

And this cannot be taught by another, it comes through your observation of yourself, watching all the time. You know, it’s great fun if you don’t condemn or justify but watch ‘what is’…. just watch it, in yourself and outside of yourself. Such a mind that watches it becomes extraordinarily sensitive, alive, because it is not breeding conflict.

J. Krishnamurti