Engage with the inner world

Sunday September 12 2021
inner pic

Contemplation is one of the best ways of getting to one’s inner-self. This process is crucial for one to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. PHOTO | FILE

By Azim Jamal

Dalai Lama explains start with the inner world, then turn to others with empathy and compassion; all for the greater good!

The outward you reflects the inward you. To inspire others, you have to be inspired.

In this day and age of Internet and telecommunications, our waking hours are consumed by engagements with clients, colleagues and friends. We consider them essential, and rightly so, as they help us to relate to the world around us. However, in this endless rush we often forgo the most primal basic engagement; the engagement with self.

A potter’s wheel is able to create something beautiful and meaningful only when its outer circumference and inner center are in balance. Similarly, without the balance of the outward with the inward, life can quickly turn into a flurry of empty activity.

Only awareness of self can provide context and meaning to our experiences. Yet spending time with the self seems like a luxury for most, given the demands of work and family life.

Even when the opportunity presents itself, we rush to fill up the space with television, gaming, Internet surfing…or simply snoozing. This is because most of us are seized with a kind of internal panic when faced with the prospect of spending time with ourselves.

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Why this gnawing need to escape ourselves? For many, the prospect of being alone spells acute boredom. For some, it brings them face to face with unresolved issues or painful memories. For others it’s simply the fear of being alone.

The fact remains that unless we are able to engage with ourselves, we can never truly engage with others. You might strike up long conversations, build friendships, fall in love, network, but unless you find it easy to engage with the self, engagement with anybody else can only be on a superficial level.

So while we are all on the journey to engage with the world, learning to engage with yourself, with your inner space, is vital.

In fact, engaging with the self can be one of the most beautiful, relaxing and uplifting experiences. The journey inwards, besides being a voyage of self-discovery, is also a powerful tool to center your energy and bring your focus back to what’s really important in life.

Meditation at work seems like an anomaly. But the busier we are the more there is the need to be meditative. Companies the world over are now recognizing its effect on employee well-being and productivity.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that meditation can revamp brain circuitry and change the way we perceive stress and deal with it. People who regularly meditate have better focus; are more creative; less prone to anxiety, and have a heightened sense of self-awareness. Plus, meditation is also known to slow down the aging process and enhance immune function. One paper cited by Google even implies that meditators are more resistant to the flu.

The French writer Blaise Pascal sums up well by saying: “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”