The Complete Guide on Introspection

The Complete Guide on Introspection

Life is too fast to sit, relax and observe the insides of the mind.

However, for the neophyte who is interested in becoming the master of his mind rather than the mind being the master of him, introspection is a must.

Some resources used in this article can be found for free on the Free Resources page.

What is Introspection

Introspection is the practice of analyzing the contents of one’s mind. This can be analysing your fears, trauma, strengths, weaknesses, memories and dreams and fantasies.

From the analysis of the contents of the mind, one can improve on his weaknesses, attain closure with his memories and trauma, distinguish between his fanciful dreams and his real dreams.

Study yourself. Find your strong points and make them stronger as well as your weak ones and strengthen them. Study yourself carefully and you will see yourself as you really are.     

William Walker Atkinson

How can one improve himself without becoming known of his shortcomings?

How can one improve himself if he does not even know himself?

How can one harness a control over his mind if he does not know the contents of his mind?

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What is the Yoga Perspective on Introspection

In the Yoga tradition, Introspection could be likened to the practice of Pratyahara.

Aleister Crowley defines Pratyahara as an:

introspection, a sort of general examination of the contents of the mind which we wish to control.

BOOK 4

Pratyahara is considerd to be one of most important practices in the yoga tradition.

Pratyahara itself is termed as yoga, as it is the most important limb in yoga sadhana.

Swami Sivananda

Pratyahara enables individuals to become keen observers of the deep mind so to assist in checking for the rise of thoughts before acting on them.

We believe that this diagram from BOOK 4 explains this process effectively.

  1. BD represents the Control of the Mind. It starts at zero and improves nearly exponentially.
  2. EF represents the Power of Observation. Generally in the case of educated people, it begins above zero and slowly rises.
  3. The distance between H1 and what seems to be I1 represents the level of dissatisfaction of the student with his power of control over his mind. As you can see, as EF & BD rise, the level of dissatisfaction decreases.

These three factors reveal three important points:

  • As the Power of Observation slowly rises, the Control of the Mind quickly rises. This shows us that a small improvement in the Power of Observation leads to a great improvement in the Control of the Mind. Clearly this signifies the importance of observation.
  • As the levels of Observation and Control of the Mind increase, the amount of dissatisfaction of the student will decrease. This is an important point. Many students will be dissatisfied in the beginning with their progress and give up early. We advise the student to persist in his training as dissatisfaction will become non-existent only if the student persists in his training.
  • A concluding point which is similar to the first, is the notion that improving the Power of Observation is the main exercise required. Once you observe, you can easily control. But what you cannot observe, you cannot control.

Now let us look into how we can improve the Power of Observation and the Control of the Mind.

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How can you perform Self Introspection ?

1. The control of speech, action, and thought.

“The Unicorn is speech. Man, rule thy Speech! How else shalt thou master the Son, and answer the Magician at the right-hand gateway of the Crown?

The Horse is Action. Man, rule thine Action. How else shalt thou master the Father, and answer the Fool at the Left Hand Gateway of the Crown?

The Ox is Thought. Man, rule thy Thought! How else shalt thou master the Holy Spirit, and answer the High Priestess in the Middle Gateway of the Crown?”

Liber III

There are two aspects to this technique.

First is the aspect of using general exercises to train the mind.

For example, this is what Crowley mentions in LIBER III:

Here are practices. Each may last for a week or more.

(a) Avoid using some common word, such as “and” or “the” or “but”; use a paraphrase.
(b) Avoid using some letter of the alphabet, such as “t”, or “s”. or “m”; use a paraphrase.
(c) Avoid using the pronouns and adjectives of the first person; use a paraphrase.
Of thine own ingenium (genuis) devise others.

LIBER III

These are general exercises, and anyone can devise their own. The purpose of these types of exercises is to only train the mind.

It is recommended that you read LIBER III, which is only a few pages for the full list of exercises.

The second aspect is using specific exercises which have multiple benefits.

The main benefit would be training the mind and the additional benefits may include a decrease in stress, joy, improvement of physical and mental health and so forth.

For example, the exercise of ‘controlling your thought on a single point’ includes the main benefit of a stronger mind, but can also include benefits like, improved concentration, more positivity, better motivation and so forth.

“The man of self-control, moving among objects with his senses under restraint, and free from attachment and hate, attains serenity of mind.”

Bhagavad Gita

We will put the Yoga perspective to the side and consider other occult and philosophical views of Introspection

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2. Confront Your Dark Side

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”

Carl JUNG

It is of upmost importance that everyone confronts their dark side, even though if it’s extremely difficult to do so.

“It is almost unnatural for us to look inward at this side of ourselves. But remember that you are only half a human if you keep this buried.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

To confront your dark side look for signs of the shadow self.

Robert Greene lists some of the different signs below:

  • Signs of Snobbery. If you have the extreme desire to differentiate yourself from others.
  • Tough Masculinity. If you feel that you need to compete excessively and act aggressively.
  • The Rigid Rationalist. If you have the need to be rational at all times and reject your emotions all the time.

There are many more, so we will advise the reader to read the full book for the full list.

Franz Bardon writes about confronting ones deepest evils as well.

“In the first days of psychic training, let us deal with the practical part of introspection or self-knowledge. Arrange for a magic diary and enter all the bad sides of your soul into it.”

“Make notes of all your weaknesses, down to the finest nuances and variations. The more you are discovering, all the better for you. Nothing must remain hidden, nothing unrevealed, however insignificant or great your faults or frailties may be.”

Initiation into Hermetics

3. Stay away from the media.

Advertisers bombard us with highly effective subliminal messages. Our continual connection to social media makes us prone to new forms of viral emotional effects. These are not media designed for calm reflection. With their constant presence, we have less and less mental space to step back and think.

THe LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE.

The way in which social media and other forms of media hook us on to their pages is not through deep thought and introspection.

The news spends a maximum of 2 minutes to outline a story, they mention a couple of buzzwords like, “terrorist, Arab, violent” and then they move to the next story which provokes completely different emotions than the initial story.

So people who watch the news do not get any real facts and knowledge about a situation. All they hear is a couple of buzzwords and begin to start making baseless associations in their mind.

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behaviour that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.

Noam Chomsky

They play with your emotions, and tell you that the solution to your problems and the issues in society is in something superficial or vain.

Rather the solution to your problems and possibly all of society’s problems is introspection.

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Carl Jung
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4. Examine one thought (BONUS)

After running over a lot of different thoughts, pick out one to be digested thoroughly that day”.

Letters From A Stoic

While this may not be introspection, it is essential to focus and analyse your thoughts. Anyone who does not, is thinking on a basic level.

If you were to analyse your thoughts, you will realise you don’t need to listen to these ‘self-help gurus’ or read many books for advice.

All the answers you need are within you

Conclusion

Introspection is possibly the solution to most of the problems in the world.

Introspection is a catalyst for change.

Once you know of a bad habit or thought process, half of the work has already been done towards the elimination of said habit or thought process

To recap, the exercises we put forth in this article were:

  1. Controlling speech, thought and action.
  2. Confront your dark side.
  3. Stay away from the media.
  4. Examine one thought. (Bonus)

7 Mental Alchemy Principles

This article contains extracts from the e-book: Practical Mental Alchemy

In this article our aim is to give our readers a brief outline of the 7 Universal Principles:

  1. The Principle of Mentalism.
  2. The Principle of Correspondence.
  3. The Principle of Vibration.
  4. The Principle of Polarity.
  5. The Principle of Rhythm.
  6. The Principle of Cause & Effect.
  7. The Principle of Gender.

These 7 Principles are used for the purpose of Mental Transmutation.

Mental Transmutation means the art of changing and transforming mental states, forms, and conditions into others.

Just as how copper is transmuted into gold. Negative mental states can be transmuted into positive mental states.

Mind may be transmuted, from state to state; degree to degree; condition to condition; vibration to vibration.”

The Kybalion mainly looks at the theory of these important principles. It is our aim to provide the practical techniques that can assist you in mental transmutation. This article lists the main techniques that correspond to each principle. If one wishes to read the full explanation, he is advised to read through the free eBook: Practical Mental Alchemy

If the reader is after hermetic alchemy, then this article and the Kybalion is not suited for his purposes. We will outline the true essence of Hermeticism in a later article.

While The Kybalion is not a great book on Hermeticism, it is a powerful book containing powerful principles that every neophyte should understand and apply.

In this article ALL REFERENCES ARE FROM THE KYBALION UNLESS OTHERWISE MENTIONED.


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The Principle of Mentalism

“If the Universe is Mental in its nature, then Mental Transmutation must be the art of CHANGING THE CONDITIONS OF THE UNIVERSE, along the lines of Matter, Force and Mind.”

This principle is the backbone of all other principles.

The neophyte must understand that the Universe is a Mental Creation.

You may ask, “What is meant by the statement: The Universe is a Mental Creation?”

In the perspective of the Kybalion:

The Universe is Mental—held in the Mind of The All.”


The All creates the Universe mentally, in a manner akin to the process whereby
Man creates Mental Images.

These two quotes show us that alchemy is in fact a mental activity.

The rest of the principles build up on the Principle of Mentalism as you will see below:

  • Correspondence: Utilizing the knowledge of the two minds to change deeply rooted thought processes & habits.
  • Vibration: Changing mental states and moods by raising or reducing the vibration of the individual.
  • Polarity: Changing mental states by switching from one mental state to its polar opposite.
  • Rhythm: Neutralizing the negative effects of the constant ups and downs of life. 
  • Cause and Effect: How we can avoid being affected by internal and external situations and instead become the cause for external and internal situations.
  • Gender: How we can balance our mind and obtain the appropriate level of objectivity and subjectivity. 

All the principles correlate together perfectly and they all work towards achieving the same goal: Mental Transmutation.

The Principle of Correspondence

“As Above, so Below., as Below, so Above”

Whatever occurs repeatedly in the conscious mind will be imprinted in the subconscious mind, and whatever is in the subconscious mind will manifest in the conscious mind.

The principle also means:

The rate of vibration at your mental plane will affect the rate of vibration at the physical plane and vice versa.

If the mental vibrations are low, then so will the physical vibrations be low.

Why do think many people suffer from a lack of energy and motivation?

Why are more and more people suffering from mental illness?

If their physical vibrations are low then so will their mental vibrations be low. When the vibrations of the body and mind are low this affects the body in totality keeping it at a weak and feeble state.

Correspondence is simple. Make sure you fill your subconscious mind with positivity so that you can manifest positivity in your daily thought patterns.

Read The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy for more on this.

The Practical Application:

1. Create Good Habits & Leave Bad Habits.

Whatever you busy yourself with physically and consciously, will manifest in
the subconscious.

Habits are so powerful that if you did not apply anything but this technique, you will be performing greatly.

Habits can change your life at an exponetial rate.

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”

James Clear

2. Make Changes to Your External Environment

The subconscious is like a sponge, it absorbs any external stimulus and imprints your mind with such stimulus.

If your external environment is clean, peaceful, and organized, so will be your mind.

By making changes to your external environment, you also make changes to your internal environment.

The main aspect of this technique is cleaning and making sure the areas where you
spend most of your time are organized and emanate positive vibrations.

3. Substitute negative beliefs with its positive counterpart.

To substitute beliefs:

  1. You must enter into a state where your conscious mind is submerged. Enter into
    a sleepy, drowsy state, either through meditation, hypnosis or before sleep. “In this
    state the negative thoughts, which tend to neutralize your desire and so prevent
    acceptance by your subconscious mind are no longer present” (Murphy, 2011).
  2. Then, sum up your idea or belief you wish to impregnate the subconscious mind
    in a short, easy to say, lullaby.Charles Baudouin, a professor at the Rousseau Institute in France concocted this method in 1910, he mentions that the short and easy lullaby eases the process of
    impregnating an idea into the subconscious.
  3. While you are in a sleepy drowsy state, repeat the lullaby over and over again. Depending on how deeply the negative belief has been ingrained, you will start tosee some positive results in a week to a months’ time. Of course, results will vary from person to person. For me, I started to see some results in a fortnight.
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The Principle of Vibration

“To change your mood or mental state–change your vibration.”

“One may change his mental vibrations by an effort of Will, in the direction of deliberately fixing the Attention upon a more desirable state.”

The Practical Application:

1. Mental State Check & Switch

2. Raise Your Vibration.

The Principle of Polarity

To destroy an undesirable rate of mental vibration, put into operation the Principle of Polarity and concentrate upon the opposite pole to that that you desire to suppress. Kill out the undesirable by changing its polarity.”

“If you are possessed by Fear, do not waste time trying to “kill out” Fear, but instead cultivate the quality of Courage, and the Fear will disappear.”

“The mastery of Polarization is the mastery of the fundamental principles of Mental Transmutation or Mental Alchemy”

Practical Application

1. The Symbolism Technique

2. Perform Actions that Correspond to your Desired State

3. Focus on the Desired State.

The Principle of Rhythm

“The Master by rising mentally to the higher plane causes the swing of the mental pendulum to manifest on the Lower Plane, and he, dwelling on his Higher Plane, escapes the consciousness of the swing backward.”

This involves raising the vibrations to a certain level, so that one enters a higher plane. Once he is in the higher plane, the events of the lower plane won’t affect him as much.

“It is akin to rising above a thing and letting it pass beneath you.”

The Principle of Rhythm is always active, however its effects can be avoided.

Practical Application

1. The Law of Neutralization

2. Always Remember the Principle of Rhythm

3. Ride The Pendulum

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The Principle of Causation

“Nothing escapes the Principle of Cause and Effect, but there are many Planes of Causation, an one may use the laws of the higher (cause) to overcome the laws of the higher to overcome the laws of the lower (effect)

“The masses of people are carried along, obedient to their environment; the wills and desires of others stronger than themselves; the effects of inherited tendencies; the suggestions of those about them: and other outward causes; which tend to move them about on the chess-board of life like mere pawns.” 

By rising above these influencing cause, the advanced Hermetitist seek a higher plane of mental plane of mental action, and by dominating their moods, emotions, impulses and feelings, they create for themselves new characters, qualities and powers, by which they overcome their ordinary environment, and thus become practically players instead of mere Pawns.”

Practical Application

1. Become a Cause not an Effect.

The Principle of Gender

There is this dual aspect in the mind of every person. The “I” represents the Masculine Principle of Mental Gender—the “Me” represents the Feminine Principle

“The tendency of the Feminine Principle is always in the direction of receiving impressions, while the tendency of the Masculine Principle is always in the direction of giving out, or expressing”

“The Feminine Principle conducts the work of generating new thoughts, concepts, ideas, including the work of the imagination, . . . and the Masculine Will in stimulating and energizing the creative portion of the mind.”

The Feminine is not better than the Masculine Principle and the Masculine is not better than the Feminine Principle, They complete each other,

If one had high levels of the Feminine Principle, they would be in their head most of the time, very creative and thoughtful, however they won’t be able to act on their ideas and their creativity.

If one has high levels of the Masculine Principle, they would be very motivated, objective and active, but they won’t have any ideas or creativity that would make their work creative or deep.

Practical Application

1. Work within Your Strengths.

2. Balance Masculine & Feminine Principle.