In our last post, we outlined the importance of Japa, introversion, and self-analysis as mechanisms for developing discipline. In this post, we’re diving into how to perform self-analysis as a practice to develop discipline and provide support for the spiritual path.
Self-analysis can be seen as an action allowing you to become an active participant in your growth and development. It requires you to look at yourself and helps guide you to become the person you want to be.
There are four parts to the process, so let’s get right into it.
Four Parts of Self-Analysis
Have a tangible, realistic, practical goal
The key to proper self-analysis begins with knowing exactly what you want to analyze. You may have many goals and things you want to focus on. That’s great. Pick one.
Yes, just one.
Your goal should be something that will show tangible results with effort, be realistic, and be practical. For example, become a better listener or increase your commitment to a quality sadhana practice are both goals that can be scaled and monitored.
Goals like realise your Self, while beautiful and wonderful, are not practical goals. This is because we do not have the knowledge required to properly analyze this. It’s a great goal for life but it’s not a practical goal for self-analysis.
Become the Observer
When you take time to practice self-analysis allow yourself to become the observer. Separate yourself from your day and look back as if you were watching someone else go about their day. Be clinical and even cold. Think like a scientist monitoring a subject’s progress.
Only when we separate ourselves from our actions can we see them for what they are, rather than what we want them to be.
Use the Lens of Helpful vs Not Helpful
Rare, if ever, is the situation where judgement is helpful. In fact, it is the very thing that can drag us down the most. Where there is judgement, there is pride. Where there is pride, there is no room for growth.
Rather than analyzing your day based on judgements like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or ‘should’ and ‘should not’, take a non-judgemental approach and analyse your day from the perspective of ‘helpful’ vs ‘not helpful’. More specifically, focus on what actions, thoughts, and words you had that day that were helpful in achieving your goal and which ones were not.
Terms like helpful and not helpful are objective, clear, and observable. For example, if your goal is to have a more quality sadhana practise behaviours like being on your phone right before your practice or waiting until late at night are unhelpful. Alternatively, behaviours like setting an alarm as a reminder and taking time to wind down before meditating are objectively helpful.
From there you can ask yourself what you want to do tomorrow to achieve your goal. Consider what you would do differently, and what you might want to do the same.
Get rid of expectations
This may be the most important part of self-analysis. Lose any expectations you may have of achieving success. Why? Because success is dependent on God. Only He can grant success or failure. Your duty is to put your effort in and strive for humility. Leave the rest up to Him.
Get practising and become an active participant of your own change and growth. Self-analysis is not easy. It requires us to take a hard, honest look at ourselves and who we want to become but it is well worth the effort. It might seem like a lot at first but in practice, it should only take about ten minutes.
We hope you join us in a daily practice of self-analysis and share in your joy as you grow on the spiritual path.