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Journal of Enlightenment

THE JOURNAL OF enlightenment
SELF Foundation, Inc. Association      email: info@selffoundation.com     www.selffoundation.com

Table of Contents
Birthing a New Reality
The NEXT Enlightenment Master Teacher Training & Enlightenment Retreat
Yoga, Enlightenment & Self Enquiry
Participant's Journal: New Years Enlightenment Retreat 2008
Who Needs Enlightenment
Comments from Bali Enlightenment Retreat & Teacher Training
Faith in the Mind: zen poem
Love Inspires
A Charles Berner Tribute
Criticalness and Self Inspection

 

baby

 

dyad floor

 

padmasana

 

who am I

 

zen circle

Birthing a New Reality

If you’ve taken an Enlightenment Intensive Retreat, you would have had some very profound experiences of transformation, healing and awakening. Those experiences birthed at the Enlightenment Retreat are like new born babies. They need tender loving care to continue their growth into maturity.

They need your attention to thrive in a world environment that is not particularly sensitive to spiritually young, vulnerable and innocent states of being.

Newly revealed states of emotional openness and spiritual elevation can easily be forgotten or covered up in the fast paced, busy, consumer driven environment of alienated modern living.  Within months, weeks, or even days of their birth, they can begin to be thought of as only a dream, a fantasy or at best the memory of something past.

How can you best support the development and evolution of the new awakened reality?

You can bring some or all of the elements into your daily life that make up the supportive structure and environment of the Enlightenment Retreat. Here's a few of those supportive elements.

Making Sacred Space. At the closing circle of all Enlightenment Retreats I briefly outline a few of the supportive factors that help to make the Enlightenment Retreat a Sacred and Holy Space that is supportive of an awakened life. Many of these same supportive factors can be brought into your daily life to continually nurture the forever young and youthful Awakened Mind.

Treating Others With Kindness. One of the most important things we can do is treat others with kindness. Refrain from criticising, abusing, making others wrong and trying to change them. The egomind wants to get its own way. When it doesn't get its way, it goes into reactivity of one kind or another and projects blame and victimhood. Sometimes it's strategy is to strikes out, sometimes to withdraw and pout. Ignore it. If you want a Divine Life and not an egomind life, then surrendering to the divinity in another instead of fighting the ego battles of 'being right' is a life of letting go, forgeviness and acceptance. If you can sincerely open up and at the same time not hurt another, then you can create situations in which direct absolute knowing of your true nature can spontaneikously occur. Some call it Love, some call it Wisdom, some say nothing as they embrace the Silence.

The "Who Am I" Meditation. This self reflective meditation can be a solo contemplation, a communication dyad with a friend or writtten in a journal. Breathe, feel and tell the truth about what is arising in your universe. Doing this act of 'truth telling' will clear the mind, soften the heart and open the body.

A Simple & Pure Diet. The body must have sufficient strength and stamina to continue and persist with the effort needed for intense contemplation and communication at the Retreat. A pure diet that is light enough not to burden the body and mind but nutritious enough to maintain daily activities is best.

A Regular Meditation Practise. A regular daily meditation practise keeps you connected to the Source, relaxes the bodymind and increases your ability to hold your attention one pointedly on what you want to directly experience. Medical research studies show that two 10 to 15 minute meditation sessions each day stimulates the Relaxation Response in your body as opposed to the Flight or Fight stress response.

A Balanced Daily Schedule of Activitie. The Enlightenment Retreat provides a balanced schedule of daily activities that heal, purify and awaken the body, mind and feelings to the truth of yourself. Meditative activities helps to dissolve the resistence and impurities of the body, mind, and emotions and lessens the opportunities for taking on new impurities and resistences.

The Dyad Communication Technique. What an incredibly simple, yet powerful technqiue for clearing the mind, speaking the truth and deepending understanding between yourself and others. The Dyad Techniqe can be used for clearing relationships, reducing stress, problem solving, spiritual awakening and more. Doing a formal dyad once a week or more with a friend or partner is a great way to nurture and awaken your soul. Check out the Knowing Your Self book of 100 dyad exercises and a gong CD with written and audio instructions on how to do dyads.

Surrender & Grace. The enlightenment experience is an act of surrender to that which already is. There is nothing you can do to make it happen. You can only be open to the way things actually are. You can do things to support and help create the ideal situation for the Truth to be revealed but you cannot force it to appear. It is beyond egomind control and beyond your desire. Practise surrender in your life.

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Enlightenment Master
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Enlightenment Retreat

If you are inspired by the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat and want more knowledge of the process for your own spiritual evolution ..... 

If you are inspired by the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat and want to facilitate this empowering process with others .....
This Course Is For You

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Enlightenment Master Training
23-25 April 2008
Enlightenment Retreat
25-28 April 2008

San Diego
6 1/2 Day Enlightenment Retreat
21–27 May 2008
Memorial Day Weekend

More Information about the Retreat

meditator

who am i

yoga pose

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Yoga, Enlightenment & Self Enquiry

In the past most westerners thought yoga only meant Hatha Yoga or exercises for the body. That ’s changing as westerners continue to deepen their study, understanding and personal practice of the various disciplines of yoga.

Hatha yoga is the yoga of strengthening, purifying and healing the body. Raja Yoga is the yoga of self enquiry, self realization and the purification of mind. Hatha Yoga is preparation for Raja Yoga. The yoga master, Patanjali, wrote about this in his definitive text on the philosophy and practice of yoga over 1500 years ago. His book, The Yoga Sutres, describes the eight steps of yoga which culminate in self realization, enlightenment or direct knowing of the truth of your Self.

For more than 25 years I've been facilitating the Raja Yoga inspired meditation retreat, called the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat. It focuses on self enquiry and self realization.

It was conceived and born from 3 spiritual traditions:

1) The 8 Step Path of Yoga described by Patanjali and the ancient self enquiry yoga meditation, “who am I’ that was brought to modern prominence by Ramana Maharshi.

2) The traditional Zen Buddhist meditation retreat and its environment of attentive self reflection, presence and silence.

3) The two person modern, western, tantra-like communication exercise, called an 'enlightenment dyad' that firmly and lovingly directs your focused and relaxed concentration towards consciously knowing the Self.

The Retreat inspires openness, trust, joy, acceptance, love and understanding while encouraging one to soften what is ridged and inflexible in the body, mind and feelings.

The Enlightenment Retreat also includes hatha yoga, natural meditation, massage, the alchemy of breath, insightful lectures and healthy vegetarian meals.

Practitioners of yoga, beginners to advanced, all find that the Enlightenment Retreat rapidly accelerates the conscious awakening of Self Realization and heart opening Love.

I invite you to explore the potency of the Enlightenment Retreat for your personal and professional spiritual development.

Web site: www.selffoundation.com
Youtube.com: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFvfXED53n8
Email: info@selffoundation.com

with love
Yoah Wexler, PhD

NEXT Australia Enlightenment Retreat and Master Teacher Training
23-25 April 2008 Enlightenment Master Training
25-28 April 2008 Enlightenment Retreat

NEXT San Diego Enlightenment Retreat
Memorial Day Weekend, 21–27 May 2008

New Year Group

kosta

Nura Christy

Con

lany

Con

Lisa Trisha

Jean

Jim

Darren

New Years Enlightenment Retreat 2008

Participants Journal & Poetry

This Group Journal is an experiment in expression. A lap top computer was available for participants to keep a running group journal of what was occurring for them during the Retreat.  They were able to use the computer to write their thoughts and feelings about enlightenment and their process of transformation. No one had to sign their name to the communication, so a double space between lines is another person's thoughts.  Below are some of the running accounts that were found on the computer.

I’m feeling the joy and lightness of opening myself fully to another and not holding anything back.

I feel like I have a task here. to break down the barriers of who i have thought of myself as. ... That is my challenge for this retreat.

I love it here. Life is so natural for me right now. Nothing much needs to be forced or  strenuously created and yet I’m feeling so fulfilled. There is nothing more ordinary than being what I am. Yes! And guess what? Its only the first day! 

I'm noticing that my sensitivity to others and myself is refining. I really enjoy this.

I don’t like to let certain people in. I resist opening and allowing
them to touch me. I am afraid that if i make a gesture of friendship first it’ll be rejected, even when i know that that isn’t going to happen.

I am conscious of the joy of waiting for all my Beloveds to find each other.  I am conscious of the joy of waiting in front of another while they journey their pathway.  I am conscius of the joy of waiting for my Beloved to see what I see in front of me.  I am conscious of the joy of going with them wherever they want to play in this void of space and time.  I am their Beloved.  I am my Beloved.  I am the Beloved.

I am conscious of stuff around nakedness.  I fear I will not be accepted and/or loved fully by others if I completely disrobe this body.  I fear that my true beauty will be over looked due to a judgement and/or fear of my naked body.  Even partially naked I am aware of tension around being judged.

I am who I am. For who I am is I am. Love me and love others, for who I am.  All ancestors, all who come before me and after me are here. All are here, me.

I got to give up my desire for God!  We are all enlightened.  I just need to be open to all others and allow myself to be open, vunerable and accept all others as they are, and shine me, my light, out.  That is all that I need.

Sometimes when the Divinity Train comes into town, there can be a little bit of ego stowed away in the caboose. But it never gets past the station Master on arrival at its’ destination.

I surrender any need to be different than I am.

What I really got out of the Enlightnement Intensive is really a WHOLE LOT of freedom to be myself!

After baring my soul with full commitment, in an instant I realised that I was the only one in my universe AND ALWAYS HAD BEEN. I had just lost my sense of myself. I realised that I was the generator of my own lifeforce, and I needed NO ONE to validate me.

Enlightenment

Who needs enlightenment?

Who needs enlightenment when another looks you in the eyes and asks who you are, and you know the other means it.
When you look at another and you truly tell them who you are, and the other looks at you, present and without judgement.

Who needs enlightenment when you find a friend - mother – father - sister – brother.
When another is always ready to hold you in his arms.
When another fills you with so much rage, you feel you can lift a mountain with two hands and look at what’s underneath.
When you find out your enemy is your own reflection.

Who needs enlightenment when you start hearing the voice of nature.
When you can look in the mirror and look through clear glass and smile.
When you find a teacher.
When you can taste the love cooked by another.
When you give and receive so much compassion from others.

Who needs enlightenment when you share the same universe with another.
When you look at another and you both burst out with the joy of laughter.
When your true self is revealed.
Ah my beloved, who needs enlightenment when the truth itself makes you laugh.

Who needs enlightenment when you’re in sane.

by Jean Lucchesi

Bingo

mandala

Lisa

Reza

Peter Memi

Memi

Aswini

Bali Enlightenment Retreat
Participant Comments 

I find beauty and splendor in a technique that is so simple. 
Memi

You’ll enjoy the simple and the most fascinating ways to find the truth about yourself.  Enjoy the exciting journey to find your true self.
Donna

It was the first time for me involved in an enlghtenment/spirituality activity without any ‘beliefs/’religions’ attached to it.  It was powerful yet very subtle.  The dyad technique allowed me to experience ‘something’ that I’ve been asking and looking for. I experienced the ‘AHA’ awareness in day one of the retreat!!  I was amazed and grateful to what I experienced.  What was most important is that I was able to be honestly share this with others. 
Nugdha

I have found myself.  I’m the admirer of beauty in all it’s forms. The beauty of a partner sitting across me and it’s beautiful beingness, it’s beautiful form of body.  What  beauty!  I’ve realized this a long time ago but never had the courage to say it. I’m the lover of my own honesty.  I’m free now.  Free from all fear that comes with my love.  Free to express my deepest love, my femineity, my sensuality, my sexuality, truly without fear.   I’m the lover of love.  I’m love itself. It’s great pleasure to experience myself so deep, without fear!  What a retreat!  What an enlightenment!
Mari

It was truly an amazing experience.  I felt that I understood more about myself.  I was led to an awakening of energy within me. It felt like a big burden was lifted from my chest.  It’s truly incredible learning experience that I am going to benefit through out my life. 
Peter

Ahh..... This has been a beautiful breath of fresh, inspirational, vibrant, loving, peaceful, purely life-giving air.   I am filled with wonder at the depths to which the human spirit can explore and the phenomenal expanding heights to which it can soar, infinitely.  For anyone who seeks to uncover their radiant truth I say, “Dive into the Enlightenment Intensive experience, it may change your life in ways you didn’t know possible.”  I’m so excited to discover what else is possible.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Brenda

The most inspirational emotion that arose in me was that we are all one!  I had visions I never knew existed. Very clear defined messages that this is a totally new beginning and spiritual journey!  I feel like I have come home.
Dee

I received the gift of space and a clear mirror.  This journey will not be fruitful without them.  Thank you for initiating me into the unknown.  Truly a path of sacred sharing, love and truth. 
Reza

This is my three days of love.  Very opening.  The most truthful communication I’ve ever experienced.  I can communicative anything and everything about Me; purely.  No fear, no criticism, honest.  I felt that love ‘space’.  As a listener, I learned much about being a mirror, no judging, love, focus. 
Aswini

zen temple

Faith in the Mind

Follow your nature and accord with the Tao
Saunter along and stop worrying.
If your thoughts are tied you spoil what is genuine,
Don’t be antagonistic to the world of the senses,
For when you are not antagonistic to it,
It turns out to be the same as complete Awakening.
The wise person does not strive,
The ignorant person ties themselves up.
If you work on your mind with your mind,
How can you avoid an immense confusion?

z & Reza

Love inspires song and dance.

Love inspires the celebration of Life.

Love gives meaning and purpose to Life.

A life without Love is a life of anguish, fear, intolerance and saddness. Life without Love is never a song. It is never a dance. Live as Love. Let Love be your teacher, your friend, your mother and father. The deeper you Love, the deeper you feel the pulse and energy of Living Life. Love is life and life is Love. In living Love, you are kind, unconditional, non-possessive, free of envy, open hearted, generous and soft.

Always sing your song of Love.

Charles Berner
Charles Berner

Charles Berner, the 'father' and originator of the Enlightenment Intensive.
passed away on 24 June 2007 at his home in Merimbula, NSW, Australia.

Forty years ago I first met his daughter. Her name was EI.
When I first met her, I wasn't really interested in her. I preferred to spend time alone. That was in about November of 1968 when I was a 21 year old University student. A mutual friend introduced us. My best friend began to date her and lived together for about three months before they broke up. I knew her for about six years before I went out on my first formal date with her. After the date, I mean right after the date, as I was saying good night, I asked her if i could live with her. She said "Yes." I moved into her house the next day. It wasn't so much that I was in love with her. It was her family and friends that I was really attracted to at first. That was 34 years ago. As time went on, my affection and love for her blossomed. We're still together today. I guess you could say I'm in a long term committed relationship with her. She's the daughter of Charles Berner, my friend, mentor and teacher. His daughters nickname is EI. That's short for Enlightenment Intensive.

Some, who have read this, have been confused thinking I literally meant his daughter. No, I am using the term 'daughter' figuratively. By daughter, I mean the Enlightenment Intensive.

Criticalness and Self Inspection
by Charles Berner

Key Points:

  • Being critical has nothing to do with telling the truth. 
  • The reason for being critical is to try and justify your own bad acts and make them seem less bad.
  • What you are critical of is actually about yourself.
  • Being critical inhibits your own spiritual growth.
  • Self Inspection is the solution to criticalness. 

Self Inspection Dyad:
Tell me a way you have been critical of another.
Tell me something you have done that is similar to that.

The greatest shortcoming of modern people is critical speech.  People speak critically not only to each other directly but also about each other, and about other groups of people.  Critical speech is the greatest of temptations and we are most likely to fall prey to it. It is also the most damaging thing we do to each other, since we in modern times are not likely to go around damaging others by cutting their throats and things like that.  Instead of cutting the throats of others with a knife, we cut verbally.  We find many  many subtle ways of doing this:  "Oh dear, you are looking so sweet today; where do you get that heavy lipstick?" We're so adept at being verbally critical that we can cut just with the tone of our voice.  I can remember in high school that the ability to make critical remarks about others was considered to be the greatest gift.  The more critical remarks you could make about other people, the lower you could put them down by your clever statements, the higher you stood in the eyes of your peers.  It is a great tragedy to live in a society that actually reinforces critical comments.

Critical has nothing to do with telling the truth.
Being critical has nothing to do with telling the truth.  You can make a true observation about someone that could either be critical or not depending upon your own state.  If your own state is one of being critical, then what you say, no matter what it is, will tend to come out critical.  You might say, "Why do you part your hair like that?" to two different people.  In one case you are actually trying to find out why and in another case you are making a subtle hack at the person because you are being critical.  Why do we do these things?  It is very destructive to our progress in life.  The whole world actually is one family and by being critical.of someone, either directly or indirectly, you are cutting yourself off from that other. That separation violates the fact that we actually are all connected.  It is true that we are all each ourselves, but it is equally true that we are all related to each other, and when we cut that connection through a critical act, we separate ourselves and stop our spiritual progress.

Criticalness and the stopping of one's own spiritual progress are directly connected.  It is our degree of spiritual contact that determines how open and loving and in contact we are with other people.  That's all there is to it.  You don't have to go by anything else. If you know someone who is very pious, who says his prayers, and everything, it all means nothing if he is critical of other people.  Worse than this, because of the fact that deep in our own ultimate nature we are a font of kindness and love towards others, we will stop ourselves from being in this true capacity if we hurt other people.  We will not be able to improve, because inwardly we feel that if we improve ourselves then we will only hurt people more effectively.  It is out of our innate love and concern for others that we stop our own growth.

The Reason for Criticalness
The reason we are critical is because we are trying to justify our own bad acts and make them seem less bad. You can't live in life without doing some bad acts. Even if you try not to, some will happen, and we feel very badly about this.  So in order to try to make our own bad acts seem less bad, we try to make others be as nothing, as worthless non-entities.  This is the root mechanism behind our criticalness.  It all originates from our own bad acts.

I remember World War II.  We were fighting the Japanese, and we were calling them names in the press, on the radio, and on television.  The Japanese were animals, Japs, vermin.  People everywhere said, "The only good Jap is a dead Jap." Why?  Because we were killing them and we felt badly about it and in order to try to not feel so badly about it, we said they were animals and it was okay to kill them because that was what they were doing to us.  And so when you deliberately or even inadvertently injure someone else, your good heart makes you feel bad, and because you don't like that feeling you try to make the object of your bad act to be less than it is.  You'll say, "That person's no good" because if he's no good, then what you did or said to him couldn't be bad because he was no good in the first place.

Say, for example, you kill a rat.  You might say, "I had to kill the rat.  It was a good thing I got rid of it; it was eating the grain.  I had to kill it." We justify our acts.  We say, "That stupid, horrible rat, it tried to take our food." You see, it is one thing to just go ahead and kill the rat; it is another thing to be critical, to justify.  This is a very important difference.  In life, you are going to have to do some bad acts; it is the inevitable nature of life that you will do some bad acts.  And the tip-off that you feel internally bad about it, that you feel guilty and upset and are stopping your own growth as a result, is that you are being critical.  This is true one hundred percent of the time, without exception, when it comes to criticalness.  Any critical statement you have ever made, are making, or ever will make, is always directly connected to a bad act on your part, in your own estimation. "Why do I have such a stupid teacher at school?"  It is the person who is saying that who is stupid.  He's not performing well in school and so he calls his teacher "stupid."  One hundred percent of the time, the content of the criticalness is connected to a similar type of act, not identical but similar, on the part of the one being critical.  The critical statement that one makes about another person or other people is actually a failing on one's own part.

"The only good Indian is a dead Indian." We don't say that anymore because we no longer shoot Indians.  But when we shot Indians the only good ones were dead ones. You notice that since we aren't shooting Indians anymore we no longer think they are so bad.  The truth is that we felt very bad about shooting Indians, so we justified it by making them deserving of death, at least in our own minds.

Very often these things don't come to the surface of your mind; you don't even notice that you feel bad and that you are making these critical remarks in order to justify your acts, to make it be that the other person is no good, and therefore nothing bad was done. The problem with this mechanism is that it doesn't work because in your heart of hearts you still feel bad. It is only in your surface mind that you temporarily feel that you have covered up the bad act.  But you in fact still feel bad that you made a critical remark, so you try to cover for it.

Someone might say, "Yeah, all these people going around making critical remarks ought to have their tongues cut out."  This is misdirected criticism.  One in one's own heart is always just being critical of oneself.

Self Inspection
This criticalness and covering up must be brought to an end for people to progress in their spiritual growth. The solution is self-inspection.  This is the ultimate answer.  The moment you find yourself being critical of someone else, inspect your own behaviour.  The first thing to do in handling your own criticalness is to remain silent.  When you see somebody doing something and you are just about to make a critical remark, don't make it.  Psychologists say this is bad, that you are suppressing yourself, that you are holding all of your antagonism in.  Yes, that's true.  You are holding your antagonism in.  But you are going to do something with it.  After learning how to hold it in, you can then find out where it is coming from.  If you go ahead and let it out, your chances of noticing that it is actually coming from a condition of internal guilt and self-criticalness are almost nil.  What you should do is to hold your tongue, hold in that feeling of wanting to get them, realize that it comes from your own shortcomings, and then ask yourself, "What did I do; that I feel bad about?"

The person who will hold his tongue and do self-inspection to see what his own bad act is in that same general category, is a superior person.  This ability is what shifts a person from being an ordinary person to a superior person.  The pivotal factors are that you stop your own mouth, you look at your own criticisms, and you say what it is that you have done or are doing.  Realize that it is probably something that you are still doing or are going to do in the near future.  Some people on the spiritual path say, "Well, I must have done it in a past life, I must have killed a hundred thousand people," and so on.  No, the real problem is that in your heart you feel that there is the possibility that you are going to kill a hundred thousand people.  That's the real problem.  Don't put it on some remote past life some place.  That's a cop-out.  It is in this life, it is probably right now, and you probably intend to keep on doing it.  Because you are not able to stop yourself, you feel bad about that.

Say a guy has an ulcer and he is in the hospital.  He is on Medi-Cal and he's running up a bill of $3OO a day. He's watching the television and the governor comes on and while the governor is talking the guy says, "He's a stupid fool; he's just wasting the taxpayer's money." He thinks, "Well, I'm on Medi-Cal but I've got ulcers; I can't do anything about that." Then he thinks, "Wait a minute; I'm running up a bill of $300 a day against the taxpayers of California and I can't stop it.  Boy, do I feel bad about that.  In fact, I think that's why I've got an ulcer."

It may take you hours of thinking, "What could it be? What am I doing?"  Someone else sitting right next to you could even point it out to you, but pointing out other people's shortcomings does not work just in itself.  You must find it yourself and you must see it.

A good leader is someone who is willing to admit his own shortcomings, to admit them to himself.  After that you need to admit it to at least one more person besides yourself.  Tell your Guru, tell God, tell the trees, but let some of it out.  And when you are right on in admitting to yourself your own shortcoming, and you honestly decide that you won't do it anymore,  you are able not to do it anymore, that will be the end of it.  Your criticalness will go away, your bad feelings will go away, and you will be more open and loving towards others.

You actually don't have to do anything about it.  You don't have to serve anybody or even communicate anything, if you have found the absolute core of your criticalness.  If you haven't, then you will have to do some service or communicate it, or tell it out or something like that.  But if you find exactly what the core of that particular criticalness is that will be the end of it, it won't go on anymore.  It is like magic; the criticalness stops instantly, and goes away.  People will go on doing awful things to you; they will still say nasty things about you, for example.  But no longer will you say, "Boy, that person has a bad mouth. He's a jerk." You won't say that anymore.  You will think, "Harry is really having problems these days," just as an observation.  There is no charge in it for you now because you have admitted in your heart of hearts the actual truth of what it is that you are still now doing, and since you now intend to stop and are able to stop, all that criticalness goes away.  You can see Harry doing the exact same thing and it won't bother you at all.  There is no emotional or mental charge.  It is his problem.  The person is going around doing those same dumb things at work, but you don't say, "Boy are you dumb," like it is your own problem.  You just observe the fact of the matter in the other person.

Everybody has their problems.  God is unfolding his plan for everybody's life and it's true that people are going through their patterns, learning their lessons.  But you can observe this with no criticalness, instead of saying, "Boy, you'd better get rid of Harry; he is going around saying bad things about people."

People normally don't notice.  They say bad things about people and they don't notice it.  You must notice it. You must know that this principle applies one hundred percent of the time and never fails.  If you are critical of someone else, it is always your own shortcomings you are being critical of, and laying it on the other person.  It is always this way, and the particular thing that bothers you is something that you've done in the same area,

When my Guru left Kayavarohana West after visiting here, he gave me five instructions, and one of them was, "At the end of every day, do self-inspection without being critical and ask yourself, 'How have I failed, how have I been mean to people?'  Admit it to yourself and look at those shortcomings."  I have done this and it has helped my spiritual progress immeasurably.  Normally it is not good to focus on negativity in life, but it is good to identify your own failures, and then let go of them.

Realize that you can't live life without hurting people. You must breathe, for example.  But then you breathe out bad breath.  You can't hold your breath forever, so you say, "I'll use mouthwash."  And you spend your money on mouthwash instead of socks for your kids.  Then you think, "My kid is going around with holes in his socks.  What can I do?  I should work harder."  So you work harder, overtime.  Then your wife says, "Harry, you never come home.  I don't think you love me anymore. I've got ulcers worrying about you."  No matter what you do, there is going to be some injury in the action of life.  So be honest with yourself about these things, that these things are happening, and are taking place and you're involved with them, and do what you can do to stop doing them.  But be honest with yourself that these acts are occurring.  Then you will let yourself have a lofty standard of failure, instead of saying, "All these creeds and religions are crazy." You say they are crazy because if you don't have any standard then you don't feel so bad, at least on the surface. You think you won't feel so bad if everything is no good, including me.  But if you will let yourself have a standard of behaviour, if you will identify your bad acts and be honest about them and not justify them away or try to explain them away, you will improve rapidly and truly be a superior person.

When you stop being verbally critical and you remove the grosser, more obvious bad acts, then you will start to notice every little thing.  When you eat lettuce, you'll notice you are smashing the life out of those lettuce petals.  In your stomach you dissolve those cells who are trying to fight for their life.  Then you rip the energy out of them and use it to go and watch television.  As you start progressing along, you'll start noticing those small things.  But first you have to remove the sharp tongue, the critical remarks, and then you become the superior man, a person who notices the smaller bad acts.  Then you work on admitting those.  And as you admit them, you become liberated from them, and then the deep truths underlying them become revealed to you, which is the next stage in this whole business.

It is my recommendation to you that you make this a special project, that even though you feel justified in making critical remarks, that you try this:  that you are just not going to make critical remarks anyway.  If you have to think to yourself,"if I felt critical then there is something that I've done that is similar, or something I failed to do that I feel I should have done.  What could it have been?" Don't put it on past lives.  It is right here right now.  Keep at it, week in and week out, month in and month out.  And the benefit you will derive from this, by gradually finding these things and being released from them, will permit your spiritual progress to accelerate. 

Without self-inspection you will hit a limit and not be able to progress further in your spiritual growth.  To go on to the next phase of your development, make a real, sincere, continuous, long-term project of self-inspection in the face of critical behaviour.  You may think, "Why should I?  You're just trying to make me guilty." No.  In fact, if I could make you not guilty, I would just take it all away.  I would dissolve it in my heart, but it is not my guilt.  Only you can do it.  You have to be able to admit to the actual magnitude of your guilt, and when you do you will temporarily feel like you are worse off.  But that guilt has been there all the time anyway, covered up, causing ulcers, headaches, tension, whatever.  By admitting it, you become conscious of what it is that is bugging you,and it bugs you because you in fact have a good and pure heart, but have done a bad act.  If you admit it, and then you can find its core, you can be liberated from it.