At night when we look up at the sky, we are able to see the moon and the stars shining brightly. Even when we use a telescope to view them, we can still see them very clearly. The Reason for this view is the distance between them and us.
Suppose if we are on the moon or any one of the stars, we may not be able to see the beauty of them as we see now. The distance between them creates the beauty. The distance allows us to objectively view them and enjoy the aesthetics of these wonderful creations of nature.
Now let us move to our earth back. Recall a day when you were stuck in a traffic Jam, a day when there was a lot of cacophony with horns blaring in your face, people shouting all around, vehicles trying to cut corners, a few of them scrapping through the side of your vehicle. Now sitting in your vehicle or inside your car if you look at this surrounding all that you see is utter chaos.
Now suppose there is a high rise building nearby and someone on that high rise standing on their balcony and sipping coffee looks down on this traffic jam. What would that person see? Well, he sees lots of vehicles trying to make their way out, but he also sees the larger picture. He is away from the chaos and can see the larger picture. He is not perturbed by the chaos that you see all around you.
THE DISTANCE CREATES A BETTER VISION.
Now, let’s move back to your life....
When you see your neighbour or some relative renovate their house or buy a new house you can see it very clearly. This distance makes you feel very different from the way you feel about your own dwelling. You stay in your house, it's very close to you, there is not much distance left... this makes you observe less about your own blessing in the form of a house.
The house that someone else buys is far away from you. So, you develop various emotions about it. You could feel jealous, or impressed or angry or any other emotion. This difference in vision is caused due to the distance. No matter how big or good a house you have, after spending some time in there the distance vanishes. So, you no longer feel the same about it.
Let's have a look at health, beauty and body. We almost always admire how someone else looks. No matter how much we are blessed with good health or body we never feel happy or satisfied with that. We are always observing how blessed others are in the form of a beautiful face, or skin tone or physique of health or a well-toned body.
Here again, we are so close to our body that we are totally our body. There is no distance between us and our body. So, we fail to have the vision to see ourselves objectively. Every observation that we have about our body is very subjective. We find the strangest of problems with our bodies, while we observe the best in everyone else’s. Distance creates a different vision for us.
When we look at our children, we again fall into this trap. We are so close and so attached to our children emotionally that we cannot look at them objectively. So, when a teacher gives us some not so good feedback about them, so we don’t hear some great appraisal about their behaviour we become furious. We do not believe and we do not accept what is being said about them.
However, we very easily can find every fault in kids that don’t belong to us. We can observe their dressing and hygiene and manners and school grades and every other thing. Here again, the DISTANCE creates the VISION. The objectivity because of this distance creates a clearer picture. We can very easily see what we can’t in our own children.
Now observe how we look at the wealth and well-being of people around us. We almost always find it better than ourselves. We always manage to locate people who have better cars or clothes or gadgets than us. It’s very clearly visible to us. However, at the same time, we never observe closely what we possess. We are almost always oblivious to the countless blessings that we already have in our lives. We are so connected closely with our lives that we fail to observe all the great things present in ours.
NOW WE COME TO THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THIS DISCUSSION
OUR OWN SELF.
How much do you know yourself? How much confident are you about what you know of yourself? Have you ever been told something about you by someone that you totally rejected because you felt that you are absolutely not like that?
Well here again is the problem of DISTANCE & VISION. We are so close to ourselves, our thoughts, our feeling, our beliefs, our confidence, our opinions etc that there is no distance left between "US" and who we are. We become synonymous with our so-called SELF or rather our SELF IMAGE. We continuously create & update this self-image and we also keep believing that this image of US is absolutely true.
However, as we have seen from the above examples, DISTANCE is needed to SEE things in a better and total way. So, whatever we think we know about ourselves may at times be in contradiction with how others see ourselves. What others see in "US" is a very objective assessment of our behaviour. When someone passes a judgement about us it is most likely to be based on a few behaviours of ours. However, when we evaluate that same thing, we may have a very different opinion of our self.
HERE WE DON’T MEAN TO SAY WE ARE ALWAYS WRONG ABOUT OUR SELF.
What we are trying to understand here is how to have a better view of ourselves, so that we can improve and become a better version of our self.
The most important thing is to CREATE a DISTANCE from our so-called self-image. All that you think about yourself i.e. I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am lazy, I am egoistic, etc... All these are the so-called self-image that we have created over the course of our lives and we strongly believe them to be true. So, the first step needed is to separate yourself from this IMAGE.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE NOT YOUR SELF IMAGE. You are separate from it. This image is just a virtual construct in our mind. So, the first step is to CREATE A DISTANCE.
If you look at all the meditational practises, the underlying principle is to separate yourself from the idea of ‘U’. Once you can manage to separate yourself from this image is when you can view yourself in an objective manner. You no longer remain part of the things that you are observing. You can see yourself as an outsider. You can view yourself objectively. You can see yourself just like you are visible to others. That is when you actually see yourself in Absolute clarity without the clouded vision of the SELF IMAGE that you have carried all this while.
So every once in a while do this exercise. Sit down silently in a quiet place or lie down if you want to. Close your eyes and go back into your day. See yourself starting the day, all the activities that you did during the day. Just watch yourself doing it just like you are watching a movie. It would be as if you are sitting in a Movie hall and watching the movie of your life.
See the movie play on that big screen and see your behaviour. See for yourself how you behaved in all the places with all the different people. Observe your triumphs and failure. Look out for what you thought and what you believed. Separate yourself from your SELF IMAGE and see it from a distance. See how it feels to see yourself, your life on the big screen. See how you look when others look at you. See how your personality looks when seeing from a distance.
This is a very important and a challenging exercise. You may be tempted to go back again to your SELF IMAGE. You may not like to feel the distance. You may not like the view up there. However, this is a good way to separate yourself from U. This distance and this objectivity allows to assess yourself correctly and then decide whether an improvement is needed, whether some changes are required or how can we become even better at what we are.
You can practise this at any time during the day also. Any decision that you need to take, you can always look at it from a distant view and decide. You can separate yourself from the task at hand and decide.
Another way to do this is to ask people. A lot of times we may not like what people say to us but it could be a fair objective assessment. It could also be an intentional wrong opinion too. So, when reaching out to someone it’s always important to talk to people who are close and can be trusted. You should make it very clear to them to not be afraid and give a very honest opinion or suggestion. Then when you are alone you need to seriously look at what they have said. A lot of times we may not like it but it provides a great insight into our own selves.
So, in summary, we need DISTANCE to create a good VISION. To know ourselves better we need to be able to separate ourselves from our own SELF IMAGE and then evaluate who we are and what we do.
We may think that we know everything about ourselves, but nothing could be far from the truth. We need to explore and learn a lot more about ourselves. We need to learn this art of objectivity. It's far easy to be objective about others, however, we need to practise it with ourselves.
SO, LEARN TO SEE YOURSELF FROM A DISTANCE...
TRY AND BE OBJECTIVE ABOUT YOURSELF SOMETIMES
AND LISTEN TO WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT YOU REPEATEDLY....
PRACTISE SEEING YOURSELF FROM A DISTANCE....