Self observation is the focal point in the field of inner research-trough this practice placed in a well-structured environmental system there is practically no limits to what we can discover about ourselves, our life and world in general.
To carry out effectively this practice, we must take account of two factors: energy and awareness. An intentional, non superficial and not accidental observation requires an intensive and focused energy. The only “fuel” source we have to perform such challenging task is the energy we have to live our daily lives: loosing this energy in mechanical, unconscious, unintentional actions make such kind of observation impossible.
The first encountering difficulty the practitioner can perceive is the fact that almost anyone understands in practice what observation is.
Generally, although we admit that we aren’t conscious of ourselves, we have the tendency to consider we still possess this ability. Only trough a serious work on self observation we can reach some concrete results- taking it only as an information is not enough.
An well structured and organized work on observing ourselves and the environment surrounding us brings us, progressively to the third state of awareness explained in a previous post on this Blog, called Self Consciousness or Self Awareness. This state can’t be achieved only trough a theoretical study, but even only trough a practice without any theoretical knowledge- one must first
know how and what to observe. So, theoretical study and experience (practice) are two indivisible key factors in order to proceed in an effectively way: that’s the “recipe” for taking some results from the ancient axiom “Know Thyself”.
Another important factor is sincerity or the rare and great ability of being honest. Humans have the habit to “eyewash”themselves and the others, with the only purpose of maintaining alive an illusory and non-existent image of themselves, emerging from the various fragmented parts of the personality. We must be honest toward ourselves and the others, that’s really important, and in the field of development of a higher consciousness, we must admit
our lack of self-observation, otherwise any chance of further development is lost from the beginning.
At the beginning, the education to observe ourselves and the others has the aim to make us aware of our absence, and this is a point that mustn’t be underestimated: who presumes to have understood the his ordinary condition without having seen with his own eyes and touched with his own hands the situation, almost never achieve any result.
There are really many methods of observation, but first we must understand what it is, aside from the techniques one decides to use. In order to observe, an observer who drives this action is needed. We can see an object because he is “external” towards us; we can’t see our face (of course, we can see it in a shadow, but I didn’t mean this case). At the beginning, we might extend the field of observation to what is more external towards us, and this is our physical body. Observing the physical body has also another advantage: our thoughts and emotions changes in every moment, according to the external situations who influences them- our body is less susceptible to radical changes. That’s the reason why almost all the serious inner disciplines begin the path of self development starting from the body. We can observe our gestures, our physical postures, our interaction with the objects reducing progressively the habitual and mechanic movements.Even breath, as part of the instinctive center, it’s a focal point to develop our attention, very useful to develop the ability to observe.
Once we become able to maintain such kind of observation for longer periods during our daily life, we can start to observe the intellectual and emotional functions and the corresponding centers.
Trough the practice of self observation, we reach also the ability to understand the others, to build better relations and help those who need help.
There’s a traditional form of education to self observation called “natural” awareness, which aim is to struggle against the mechanical gestures and acts developing a conscious gestural aesthetic and doing every act feeling our body while doing it. A good exercise I propose to begin is posted on this Blog.