Self-exploration is the process to find out what is valuable to me by investigating within myself, what is right for me, true for me, must be judged within myself. Through self-exploration we get the value of our self. The value of any entity is its participation in the larger order. In the case of human being, to understand what is valuable, we need to study ourselves and the “larger order” around us, which is everything around us.

We live with this entirety (family, friends, air, soil, water, trees, etc.) and we want to understand our relationship with all these. For this I need to start observing inside. What we are doing is we are observing outside, but not inside (“what I feel when I saw this”).

Meaning and Purpose of Self-exploration

  • It is a process of dialogue between “what you are” and “what you really want to be”: It is a process of focusing attention on our self, our present beliefs and aspirations vis-à-vis what we really want to be (that is to say, what is naturally acceptable to us). If these two are the same, then there is no problem. If on investigation we find that these two are not the same, then it means we are living with this contradiction (of not being what we really want to be) and hence, we need to resolve this contradiction this conflict within us. It is a process of discovering that there is something innate, invariant and universal in all human beings. This enables us to look at our confusions and contradictions within and resolve them by becoming aware of our natural acceptance.
  • It is a process of self-evolution through self-investigation: It successively enables us to evolve by bridging the gap between ‘what we are’ and ‘what to be’. Hence, the self-exploration leads to our own improvement, our self-evolution – we will become qualitatively better.
  • It is a process of knowing oneself and through that, knowing the entire existence: The exploration starts by asking simple questions about ourself, which gives our clarity about our being, and then clarity about everything around us.
  • It is a process of recognizing one’s relationship with every unit in existence and fulfilling it: It is a process of becoming aware about our right relationship with other entities in existence and through that discovering the interconnectedness, co-existence and other in the entire existence, and living accordingly.
  • It is a process of knowing human conduct, human character and living accordingly: It is a process of discovering the definitiveness of human conduct and human character and enabling one to be definite in thought, behavior and work.
  • It is a process of being in harmony in oneself and in harmony with entire existence: This process of self-exploration helps us to be in harmony with ourself and with everything around.
  • It is a process of identifying our innateness and moving towards self-organization and self-expression: This process of self-exploration helps us to identify our swatva and through that acquiring swantantrata and swarajya. Swatva: Innateness of self – the natural acceptance of harmony Swatantrata: Being self- organized – being in harmony with oneself Swarajya: Self-expression, self- extension – living in harmony with others Swatva Swatantrata Swarajya The swatva is already there, intact in each one of us. By being in dialogue with it, we attain swantantrata enabling us to work for swarajya.

Content of Self-exploration

  • The Desire/Goal: What is my (human) Desire/ Goal?
  • Program: What is my (human) program for fulfilling the desire?

The main focus of self-exploration is myself- the human being. Basically, it should dwell on the following two key questions:

  • What do I really want in life, or what is the goal of human life?
  • How to fulfill it? What is the program to actualize the above?

In short, the above two questions cover the whole domain of human aspirations and human endeavor. Thus, they form the content of self- exploration.

Process of Self-exploration

Whatever is being presented is a PROPOSAL.
  • Don’t assume it to be true immediately, nor reject it without proper exploration.
  • Verify it in your own right, on the basis of it being naturally acceptable to you,
    • Not just on the basis of scriptures
    • Not on the basis of equipment/instrument data
    • Not on the basis of the assertion by other human beings.

Therefore, it is essential to carefully ponder over these on your own right. Neither accept these as true immediately nor reject them prematurely without proper exploration.

Don’t just accept / reject these only on the basis of the following:

  • Because something like this/ different from this, has been mentioned in scriptures,
  • Or, because it has been preached/ denied by some great men,
  • Or, a large number of people possess such a view / a different view,
  • Or it is claimed to have been verified through some physical instrument or, claimed that this is beyond the domain of verifiability by physical instruments.
Then what to do
  • Verify on the basis of your natural acceptance
  • Live accordingly to validate it experientially
    • If the proposal is true in behaviour with human leads to mutual happiness
    • If the proposal is true in work with rest of the nature leads to mutual prosperity
  • Results in realization and understanding
  • On having realization and understanding we get
    • Assurance
    • Satisfaction
    • Universality (Applies to all time space and individual)

Remember, it is a process of self- exploration, therefore, it has to be authenticated by us alone by means of verification at the level of natural acceptance and experiential validation. The process is shown in the diagram below Take for example: a proposal- ‘respect’ is a value in human relation. When I verify at the level of natural acceptance, I find that it is naturally acceptable to me. Similarly, when I behave with respect, it is mutually fulfilling to me and to the other.

Thus, the proposal is ‘True’. If it fails on any of the two tests, it is untrue. This verification leads to realization of the truthfulness of the proposal and it becomes part and parcel of my understanding. It is reflected in my thoughts and in my behavior.

Mechanism of Value Education

If one can explore and understand the self in such a manner that he/she grasps the essence of the self there may never need to be any reason for psychological help at a large stage. The two mechanisms for self-exploration may be identified as;
  • Natural Acceptance
  • Experiential Validation.

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