10-4-22 The Observer


In an addiction or obsession we have little knowledge, true knowing, of what is occurring. We may have an inkling that we are not acting wisely, but we are mostly overcome and directed by our egos, a substance or behavior, and focused on the superficial need to get what we want, and avoid any feelings or responsibility. Conversely, after we address our primary addiction, we may not realize we are addicted to, constantly engaging, negative feelings and emotions.

“To make anything conscious, we must separate the knower from the known. For only when we have perspective on our conditions can we see and understand them. Observer self is the knower, the activator of consciousness. This self is an agent of our Higher Power’s mind and its function is to notice and re-mind. But this is not an intellectual function; it is a felt awareness–an inner knowing.” — Jacquelyn Small

We can think of the observer or witness as an aspect of the higher self that is cultivated through meditative practice. This version of the observer is a portion of consciousness that looks over the shoulder’ of the individual and helps to inform them of their actions and the reasons behind them. This helps one to stay on their chosen path rather than putting energy into everything that fascinates the ego. 

“Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them…Some things are in our control and others not”.—Epictetus.  Greek philosopher, born 50 BC

“One might think, why have we not progressed more, in 2000 years?” — 

James Flaherty describes self-observation as this:
“To self-observe means to not become attached to or to identify with any content of our experience, but to watch alertly, openly, passively.”  We need to watch or be aware of our thoughts, emotions and moods in order to see them for what they are. The Oxford Dictionaries defines self-observation as: “The objective observation of one’s own attitudes, reactions or thought process.” In the most basic sense, self-observation is the ability to view yourself as if from a behind a video camera.

Typically with inner chatter, we are the doer of the thought; it is us caught inside the thought, thinking…thinking…thinking, emoting. We think we are the thought and so we are in the thought. Instead of being inside the thought, try to watch yourself thinking. Be the watcher of the thought. It is like being a level above yourself, just watching yourself and your thoughts, instead of being inside them. We can instead relate to our emotions as an energy that we are producing. It’s an energy that we can relate to, but we are not overwhelmed by it, nor do we permit it to dictate our state of being.

When we feel a dislike of a small truth (the dishes are dirty, car broke down, I am late, it’s too hot, noisy car next to me, am out of cereal, my coworker is an idiot), we can recognize the thought as merely a thought, as we train to do in meditation. We accept what has happened and move forward with right action.

We can recognize and observe the energy we are putting into a thought, which grows the thought into an emotion and we get to feel the juicy resentment or elation we are entitled to. Which often happens when we begin projecting, or re-playing the past. We can take a deep breath and say, “OK, what is happening?” As we look at “just the facts ma’am, just the facts,” we are able to deflate our ego’s need to create a soap opera.  We can say, “Well, OK, this has happened.  And now?” We can then feel the healthiest way to move forward, with a larger awareness. Often, it’s just letting go of the “problem.” This is an essential step, a training in being able to consciously observe ourselves.

After all, our problems were of our own making … we have stopped fighting anybody or
anything. We have to! The spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it. Big Book – AA

I liken it to myself being the sky and being aware of clouds passing by. The sky does not try to attach to the clouds, and they pass through undisturbed. The cloud, like thought, is just an appearance with no real substance, and doesn’t last. It just comes and goes, and the sky just silently watches it pass as it overlooks the whole world.

Buddhism teaches that you are the watcher, that regardless of the things that go on around you, you are simply the energy that watches. When we get too attached to things, or get caught up in the hurricane of life’s events, we forget to be the watcher, the experiencer. Which We become caught in the hurricane instead of remaining calm like the eye of the hurricane. If you are the watcher, you do experience all of life from a perspective informed by appreciation and compassion. You are calmer and more engaged. You feel whole and fulfilled.

The masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation. If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal,—that is your success.” Thoreau

Ask yourself when you are feeling the tension of an emotion, “What Am I Feeling? What am I Clinging to?” There is nothing wrong with having an emotion—compassion is an emotion (though it does not entail taking on the pain of others so you are overwhelmed). Joy is an emotion. To grieve properly is necessary. To not be taken advantage of is right thinking. We are speaking of emotions that are harmful and distance us from others and truth, and our relationship with the world.

“Do not think lightly of Good, saying; ‘It will not come to me.’ Even as a water pot is filled by the falling of drops, so the wise person, gathering it drop by drop, fills himself with Good.” — Buddhist saying

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com