The practice of Svadhyaya is the practice of self-study either through watching how and what you are or by reading works by teachers who have already trodden the path. It is a process of waking up to who and what you are. People generally find it is interesting to learn about human behaviour, fascinating even, especially when they are not the subject of the investigation. However to learn about themselves is some place they would rather not go. What if you found out some things about yourself that you didn’t like? What if learning about yourself meant that you had to make a change in your life? What if you discovered you had some work to do but would rather not? What if you would rather go out for dinner and have a nice time instead?
Here are some questions to align yourself with what you might be ignoring and to help point you in the right direction.
Who do I love and how do I love?
If you look at who you love and who loves you back it will tell you a lot about yourself. Also if you look deeply and more closely at how you love yourself you will learn about your connection to how you love others. Do you love out of need or wants? Do you love freely without expectation? Can you love someone without expecting them to be your version of how they should be? Have you learned how to forgive so you can hold everyone including yourself in your heart?
What triggers me?
What situations, words or people set me off? Why do they trigger me? Just learning and seeing what these arrows are will make you more alert each time they happen. Without going too much into your past become more friendly towards these bursts of energy that can send your spiraling down hill. Learn to see them as part of who you are but don’t accept them as something that has to change you each time. How can you let them bounce off you?
What are my conditioned responses when I feel trapped, fearful or betrayed?
What is the first thing you do? Do you run and hide? Do you feel and show anger? Do you feel shame and regret? Do you act out with words or actions? Do you add the situation to your ever mounting dossier of how the world had done you wrong? When you look at your conditioned responses more carefully you will see them as just that, conditioned. How can you jump off the treadmill of reactivity into thoughtful response instead?
Am I doing what I really want to do with my life?
Putting aside money and time are you doing what you are meant to in this world? What absorbs you, where do you get lost in time and space for what you love doing? Do you put up excuses to practice or to move closer in the direction that you should be going? Take one small step towards that dream.
What is the one thing I would like to change, put down or move on from?
Are you sure that you have put down your attachments to the past carefully? Do you still hold on to the conversation or the actions of another? Are you holding on to a person or a job just because the options not to don’t seem feasible? What are you clinging to from fear of losing? What can you do to make a change really happen in your life rather than just dream about it?
Practice for today: Choose one of the questions for today or one for each day of the week and work with it. Not just on a superficial level but really ask yourself to be honest with your answers.