A peek into myself

As member of the IPI team I had agreed to submit blogs for the ipi-website at regular intervals, and now it was my turn. But… I am engaged in many unrelated things, and I was finding it difficult to put my mind and energy into coming up with something. Helplessly I observed the drama that got initiated inside me. How a small exercise can give rise to all kind of emotions, all totally unwarranted and needless!

Not trusting myself to come up with something interesting and meaningful, I scanned a few books hoping something might appeal to me and give me some lead into what I should write about, but it was a fruitless exercise. Rather, I felt more dejected and hopeless, and the sense of being un-creative, dumb, became more and more pronounced.

As this grew, I encountered a concrete block inside which did not allow anything sensible to emerge. While in the beginning this mental block felt somewhat tentative, soon it became conspicuously solid and thick, occupying a large space inside, not allowing any room for anything worthwhile to seep through. A feeling of anger and frustration tried to camouflage the feeling of worthlessness that was besieging this small creature. There was a real angst about the sense of being forced to do something, which I was finding increasingly impossible to do.

The space and energy that was taken up by a mental preoccupation with the ‘blog’ was an eye-opener for me. What stupid ability I had of making a mountain out of absolutely nothing! My spectacles were fitted with a lens which appraised EVERYTHING with a negative overtone simply because I felt too dumb to come up with something intelligent and worth sharing on a blog. Thankfully I was able to take some distance from the emotional drama that was happening inside, in spite of being at the same time involved in it.

Almost everything that I was doing during the last two days was riddled with the query what to write for the blog, and of course, no answer was forthcoming. To make matters worse, a sense of lack and ineptitude about myself expressed itself in quite an inappropriate reaction to a conversation, leading to further useless complications. I was aware of the pettiness of the issue, and yet I was finding it impossible to find a way out. The more these emotions played up, the more thickly entangled and messy it all became. The only saving grace was that a part of me could stand apart and watch the whole thing playing itself out on the inner stage.

A potent sense of desperation gripped this small creature. I prayed for help for everything that I was going through. Even that was not straightforward. I challenged Them by asking that if you really help as has been claimed, then I’d like to see you helping me produce a blog when absolutely NOTHING is coming forth in terms of ideas or expression, and there is a totally flailing confidence that I can produce even a single sensible sentence.

And finally help did come! It came in the form of a clear sense of melting of the concrete block inside, a sense of space being created, of finally being able to breathe a little more easily as a ray of hope shone through that something will come, I will be able to write something….

My takeaway from this experience is that I became aware how self-observation helps! When the inner chaos becomes too overwhelming for one’s sensibilities, it breaks one’s defences, and forces one to step aside and watch the drama that is unfolding (despite oneself being a party to the same). Also, when the cry for help is potent and sincere, it gets answered in a manner one may not have envisaged. I can only hope that such experiences will help me to step back more pro-actively in future and surrender right in the beginning rather than to wait for a near total breakdown before doing so.

11 thoughts on “A peek into myself

  1. Thank you Jyoti, for your beautiful honesty 🙂 I’m very familiar with making mountains out of mole hills myself! Much love :-*

  2. Jyoti:

    I have just one question for you:

    What steps did you take to acquire such heightened psychic powers as to be able to describe my procrastination mind-set with such eloquence and with such clarity and detail???!!!

    Seriously though (mostly) I really do know – all too well – that mindset. I’m often amazed, when I agree to write something for someone, how a small task can grow, day by day, into a monstrosity (there’s a philosophy forum where my proposed essay is at the top of the forum – and every time I visit, I see that slot staring at me, beckoning to me, reminding me I have yet to offer even the first draft of the essay! And it’s a topic I love – how learning meditation can help skeptics be more open to non-materialistic philosophy).

    The funniest thing is, if you were here in person, and asked me about it, I could probably rattle off enough spontaneous thoughts to write 2 essays.

    How our minds weave their marvelous web of nonsense!

    Anyway, not to put yet more pressure on you, now I’m really intrigued to hear your response to any of Sandeep’s questions.

    You know, one trick might be to interact with us in the comments section. If you respond to comments and we give our ideas, you’d probably quickly accumulate enough to simply organize it and create a new blog post.

    Well, thank you SO much for putting your internal process so bravely into words!

    • by the way, one more point, in the way of a friendly challenge. You wrote a post about western psychology vs Indian psychology.

      An interesting blog post might be this: Now that psychology around the world is becoming “one”, does it even make sense to keep using the modifier “Indian” psychology? For example, on your July 26 post, you stated the biggest difference between the two was the acknowledgment of the Self.

      But the Nonduality Laboratory at New York University (and similar labs at Emory and several other universities in the US alone) are studying the Self. Really. Look up http://www.lochkelly.com and you’ll see a list of research studies he’s participated in where they study the shift into nondual awareness. One might modify that with an observation from Sri Aurobindo that this might be the reflection of the Self in the mind, but I’m not sure how many fully Self-realized Yogis there are anywhere in the world today who would be available for psychological research.

      • Thank you for your comments. As for the term “Indian psychology”, it is used basically to honour and acknowledge the source rather than to float a parallel stream of psychology to Western, cross-cultural, or Buddhist psychology.
        For me personally what “Indian psychology” offers is so comprehensive, detailed and complete in itself, that this is “real psychology” or The Psychology, if psychology can be termed like that. It is slowly making inroads into the existing discipline of psychology, but perhaps it will take some more time before we don’t need the modifier “Indian” any more, and this comes to stay and be accepted as ‘what real psychology is’.

        • Very clearly said. I agree fully – one day, hopefully not too far in the future, “psychology” will include all that is so extraordinary about Indian psychology.

  3. Thank you Sandeep for your suggestions. You have raised very relevant questions, and I will consider them when attempting my future blogs. 🙂

  4. please peek more frequently into yourself so that we can read more from you.
    kudos.

  5. Dear Jyoti,
    I felt exactly the same when I wanted to write the last piece. Actually every time I write for something. Till now it has always dissolved and I was able to put something down, but still I have to go through this period of panic and criticism each time. Knowing through experience that it will eventually disappear makes it easier to hang in there and be patient.
    Thanks for an illumining observation.

  6. I have some suggestions to cure your writer’s block 🙂

    Since the authors of this blog are budding or practicing psychologists, perhaps you can expatiate on how Indian psychology is different from Western psychology (beyond the obvious differences about the notion of the Self, the soul being Divine etc).

    How would one put Indian psychology into clinical practice ?
    Do you need to turn to a Guru to solve all psychological problems ?
    How would you counsel an atheist ?
    How do you diagnose mental illness ? Is there an equivalent to DSM-IV ?
    How would you offer counseling for a wide variety of problems encountered by the common man who doesn’t necessarily follow a spiritual path ?

    How can you prove Indian psychology is more effective than Western psychology ?

    Is there a practical framework for using Indian psychology ?

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