STEP1: Each day write down one thing you noticed about yourself. If it’s an insight all the better, but anything will do and every day doesn’t have to be a breakthrough day.
Over time you will compile a substantial body of personal information in your inner work notebook.
Reflect on the fact that your personality must be finite, after all it lives in the realms of time and space. Every authentic remark and insight into your character is a step toward self-knowledge.
STEP 2: Watch yourself in social situations, when you’re alone, at work, in your primary love relationship and all the other environments, relationships and circumstances in which you act and function.
We tend to behave differently according to where we are and who we are with. Your personality is rich and diverse. There are so many sides to you. Sometimes you forget parts of yourself; sometimes you neglect certain parts and over-indulge others.
This exercise will help you to get in touch with all parts of yourself and work toward integration and wholeness.
STEP 3: As human beings we are always in one of three realms. Awake, asleep or dreaming. Now examine each one and study, compare and consider each one to see what you can learn about yourself.
Look also at the borders. The borderline between waking and sleeping, for example, is an extraordinarily potent time for accessing the unconscious. Enter into this with the excitement of new adventure and be open to new discoveries.
By the way, stop calling the waking experience your “real life.” Dreams have a reality of their own and since you will spend a substantial amount of you life in the dream world give it recognition and respect, because it also is real.
STEP 4: Self-observation is far harder than observing others, probably because it’s less challenging than observing ourselves and because we have become predominantly visual in our experience of the world. But this doesn’t mean that observing others is necessarily unhelpful to your inner work practice.
So, observe others. Choose someone at a party, in the street or at work and see how much you can learn about them through witnessing their body posture, their speed, their tone of voice, walking gait, functionality, general attitude. Do they speak using visual imagery, mental abstractions or touchy-feely terminology?
This will tell you a great deal about them. How do they react with others? Privately compile a set of information, a profile of them, until you have insights that are way beyond a glancing acquaintanceship. Now, the testing time: can you do the same with yourself?
STEP 5: Background assumptions and wallpaper beliefs are your moral suppositions, guiding principles and taken-for-granted expectations. They are like the water we swim in or the air we breathe.
Make them conscious. They were communicated to you by parents, teachers and authority figures, in domestic, educational and societal settings in your early life
They dictate your attitude to time, money, love, ambition, action, relationships, success and failure, and happiness. Bringing them to conscious awareness over time allows you to reconsider and make new empowered choices.
STEP 6: What do you do? What do you want? and What if your life purpose? For many of us there is a disparity between these three aspects of life. Can you see that, when they are in alignment and in correct proportion to each other, balance and success must surely ensue?
Make a chart: list your actions – working, relaxing, watching TV, reading, spending time with your family. List your needs and desires – I want to make money (how much?), I want to create a loving family environment, I want to learn to play a musical instrument. Finally, write down or explore your life purpose.
Now, as you do this you will start to notice discrepancies; things you want that you don’t allow yourself the time for, doing too much of this and not enough of that, procrastination, unreal expectations. Once you get the full picture, you may want to change it.
STEP 7: One of the most life-changing questions is, “What do I honor?” So, I ask it of you now. Spend a little time on it each day. Once you have refined your answer and it is accurate, heart-felt and true for you, live it everyday and make it your priority and the central theme of your life