Your center, your real self is like an infinitely deep well. You are constantly pulled downwards, but you keep fighting against it. A sort of spiritual gravity is pulling you inwards, but you are making every effort to climb out. Thinking means moving outwards because then your attention is focused on the world outside.
You are thinking about this and that, but never realize the one who is thinking. You pay attention to the outside world but forget about yourself inside. Sometimes when your mind is too tired to think, you are thrown back to your center. The same thing happens during deep sleep, but you remain unconscious. A meditative state means returning to your center while remaining conscious.
The goal of the next exercise is to throw you back to your center by gaining back part of this lost attention moving outwards and turning it inside. The goal is to take back the control from your mind that almost forces you into these repetitious and automatic patterns. The first step is to realize this process and notice it in the first place, and this is where this practice can prove to be very useful.
The essence of this exercise is to constantly verbalize what you are doing. Become a commentator of your own life as if you were the main actor and the storyteller in a novel at the same time. Remind yourself again and again of yourself.
When you are reading, say in yourself: I am reading. While walking, constantly remind yourself that you are walking. While eating, repeat in your mind over and over that you are eating right now. Through every activity, be it even as passive as lying in your bed, make mental comments. The emphasis should be on the fact that you are doing it, that you are the doer. It doesn’t just happen by itself, it happens through you, and you are aware of it.
It may sound stupid first, but this is one of the most effective techniques in the entire academy. It is one of the easiest ways to make yourself conscious of yourself. Just don’t mix it up with being self-conscious, because then you will miss the point. When you are self-conscious, you are actually thinking about what others think about you. But when you are conscious of yourself, you simply remember yourself. By and by your attention will slowly turn inwards, towards your center.
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