Awareness of lack of self-awareness is also self-awareness
When we practice meditation and strive for spiritual awareness, we often find that our mind wanders here, there and everywhere. We may become discouraged, thinking, “I just can’t focus – I am simply wasting my time by meditating. Is such meditation of any use?”
Intriguingly, Arjuna too expresses a similar apprehension when he states (06.33) that the mind is restless and unsteady. Empathizing with him, Krishna responds (06.35) by urging him to not become disheartened, but to persevere in focusing the mind.
To cultivate such diligence, we can contemplate that even our awareness of our lack of self-awareness is a step forward in self-awareness. Consider the example of eating. Suppose during the course of the day we feel an urge for an untimely snack. And, even without our conscious awareness, our legs and hands start moving towards some unhealthy food. In the past, when we had been largely self-unaware, we may have consumed several snacks before we became aware that we were bingeing. When we eventually did become aware, we might be so frustrated at our lack of self-control that the wily mind might impel us to binge further.
But we can catch and stop ourselves much earlier if we strive for mental discipline during our meditational practices. Such diligence becomes much easier when we make our meditation devotional. Bhakti-yoga makes us aware of not just our self, but also the self of the self, Krishna, the whole of whom we are eternal parts. Meditating on him connects us with an unlimited reservoir of higher happiness, thus making focusing on him easier.
Therefore, instead of giving in to discouragement, we can strive for as much self-awareness as is possible for us. By such diligence, we will become increasingly focused not just during meditation but also throughout the day and throughout our life.
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