In September 2011, I tried following the Karma clearing program. In October, after 9 days of practice - rather attempt - I realized that it is not just a 9 day affair and unless I practice everyday, I will not succeed in one of the programs started on a new-moon day. It has been two years since the realization! Hmmm… two long years… when I review the progress made so far, sure, there is improvement!!! But I am skeptical if I would ever succeed in the 9 days- 9 rules program!
Toughest were the first two! At quite a number of instances, I was able to hold my criticism back and expressing dissatisfaction back. But there was no single day that went by without criticizing something or someone in the past two years! The person got criticized worst was myself. I tore myself apart mentally on many days - for various reasons. And because of that, I expressed my dissatisfaction to almost everyone I interacted with - to some people, expression was polite and on others, it was rude out-pour! I think these two are and will be the hardest considering my INTJ personality - "J" being the vital root cause!
Out of the rest, one major meal a day was not hard at all- except on those days I had official dinners and personal parties to attend, I was able to stick to this. I am not a heavy eater anyway! So I wont even say that I started practicing it for the Karma clearing program.
Rising earlier was also not very tough. It only tested the will power and also there was no specification for "earlier" - there was only a definition - one hour before your usual time. But there were days on which I woke up very late because I did not sleep on time the previous night
The next two were the tougher category as they tested my ego. "Do something you dislike" sounds very simple; but the catch point is, your survival should not depend on the disliked activity - for example, I do not like to initiate conversation with a total stranger but my job expects me to do that; as a process coach I would have to initiate conversations with any new project team member irrespective of whether they approach me or not. This means that I can't consider this activity for fulfilling the rule! There were many other tasks like sewing etc. but my ego could not accept that I had some tasks I disliked :-) Shocking and interesting realization! Till today, I am not able to break my ego down with this rule.
Helping someone without leaving a trace - hmm, this was another bombshell. I used to believe that I help people without the intention to take credit for the help - like my parents. Even in October 2011, I thought this rule was not very tough, it is just that I did not get time to help someone during the nine day period. But the two years observation shows very clearly that I am not as well intended person as I thought. In some instances, I left without any trace really. But there were times when, though I did not try taking credit when I helped people, I was beaming with pride when someone praised me for the help! Of course there were times, when I was genuine in not leaving trace but got caught in action. And there were times when I tried to leave a subtle trace so that people will feel that I am a modest person! Wow! Overall, this rule made me understand some darker side of me!
Meditating every day was one of the rules I could follow on almost all days. Effectiveness of the meditation varied on different days; my mind was wandering on some days ; I was not even able to observe my breath on some days; on other days I went deep within. I sat for meditation on almost all days except when I was traveling.
I was not regularly recalling the day in reverse at bed time - not because it was tough to recall. But I missed on many occasions - either because I was tired or irritated or was very late to bed or just that I forgot.