Atma Vichara: A Monthly Plan

This monthly plan for Atma Vichara offers some suggestions to start a dialogue.

Internal Dialogue or Atma Vichara is a very important step, but is one that few students understand. To succeed in meditation you have to develop this important step. You do not begin with meditation itself. First you learn to set a regular meditation time and then to have a dialogue with yourself. In this process you are coming in contact with your inner, internal states. You are learning about the subtle aspects of your mind, your own conscience and at the same time you are training yourself.

(Above Excerpt from Path of Fire and Light, Vol. II by Swami Rama, Publisher Himalayan Institute)

Remember you are having a "dialogue" with your mind, a two way communication, not just a monologue. Rather the conscious waking state "you" is having a conversation with the vast unconscious. Use the suggestions below to start the dialogue and then allow the conversation to expand naturally. 

As you develop the practice of Internal Dialogue, you will dialogue about many subjects. You will not just have a single dialogue on a single topic, internal dialogue will become a normal way of relating to your own mind. 

Listen to your Friend within!

  • Consider some choices you face in life and ask Buddhi, "Should I do it or not?"
  • When the mind begins to doubt, ask the mind to doubt your doubts. 
  • Ask the mind what your fears are and what to do with them.
  • Dialogue with yourself about the mistakes you have made. Don't condemn yourself or be judgmental.
  • Ask yourself if you want to meditate, to explore, to know yourself and to choose your habits.
  • When sitting in meditation, ask your mind to go to and to heal aching parts. 
  • When you practice sandhya or sushumna application ask your mind to focus on the bridge of the nose. 
  • Ask yourself "What do I want?" Raise questions about the purpose of life.
  • Explain to your mind that it is too worldly and materialistic.
  • Train the senses by using Vichara, dialogue with the individual ten senses.
  • Ask your mind why it disturbs you during meditation. How can meditation be improved. 
  • Establish a relationship, a friendship with your mind, learn to love by being gentle with yourself. 
  • Ask how you think, why you are emotional and what the problems are with the mind.
  • Notice how fears can control you. Explain to your mind that all fears are related to imagination. 
  • Ask yourself "What do I want?" This may relate to small things or to the purpose of life.
  • Tell the mind that it has become dissipated and should tread the path of light, love and devotion.
  • Self counsel about negative emotions. When upset ask, "Why am I thinking like this?"
  • Ask your mind to open a blocked nostril for you. Ask your mind to flow with the breath.
  • Consider some problems and ask your mind, "What are some solutions? What should I do?"
  • Remind yourself not to make dramatic resolutions. Instead ask your mind to be open to self-observation.
  • Dialogue with whatever is being observed, including mental objects and thoughts
  • Ask yourself "What do I want?" Remind yourself of your real identity.
  • Ask yourself why you are doing certain actions. How do the actions reflect thoughts and emotions?
  • Say to your mind, "Please be my friend." How does your mind respond?
  • Ask your mind what you have to do. Ask why you sometimes do not do it.
  • When distracting thoughts come, remind yourself of your purpose, tell yourself that this thought or desire is distracting and will lead you to a fantasy.
  • Develop the determination to meditate daily. Convince your mind that you have to do it, you must do it, you can do it.
  • Ask "does my ego create obstacles in my own way?" Spend a few minutes being honest with yourself.
  • Make a contract with your mind to let it whisper those inner secrets to you and put all things in front of your mind. Discuss this contract with your mind. 
  • Analyse your desires. Explain to your mind, all that is pleasant is not good, and all that which is good is not pleasant. 
  • Invite all that is hidden to come forward, "O Mind, whatever thoughts and images you present before me, I will not be disturbed by them. Come thoughts, come."