Self observation requires a kind of stepping back within one’s self and seeing not only your behavior and patterns of behavior but your thought and thought patterns, and your emotions and emotional routines in all the aspects of your multi-faceted life.
If you like to write then make a note of every time you catch yourself doing, thinking or feeling something that you recognise as a limiting routine, a post traumatic pattern that you are repeating, on your own or through relationship with someone.
It is called by some the ‘witness’ the ability to consider your own behavior, thoughts and feelings. In many spheres of human endeavour the witness is very important. The legal system depends on witnesses to establish the facts of the matter, and to prove innocence or guilt. “I heard him say…” or “I saw him take the…”. But also in the corporate world they have recognised that if you wish to learn and improve you have to monitor your performance. In the Plan, Do, Check, Act model the “Check” aspect means to look analytically at what you are doing, objectively and carefully, to see if it is working, and resulting in the desired outcomes or objectives, and if not then change the plan, do something differently, act on that information.
You have to cultivate within you the capacity to observe or witness, and there are many ways you can do this. One of the most tried and tested, most ancient and well known methods is of course Meditation. But many people have a narrow view of what meditation and ‘yoga’ is and is meant to help us achieve, which is why we have to balance our approach by using all that mankind has developed in every sphere of life, Religion, Science, Spirituality and Art.
- Religion – We try to live a virtuous life in relationship with others always in communion with the divine who guides us and gives us opportunities for growth
- Spirituality – We Meditate and observe our body, heart and mind, and develop the capacity to regulate and stabilize these and to use them wisely on our journey towards love bliss
- Science – We try to understand the challenges and problems, we observe, we document, we study, we research, we model, we experiment, we calibrate, we improve, we learn
- Art – We seek out that which we consider beautiful, that which inspires us, and lights a glimmer in our eyes, divine creativity and beauty inspires human creativity and beauty
There are thus four dimensions to this work, in which we seek to balance Inner and Outer, and Conscious and Unconscious, Earth and Heaven, or Matter and Spirit.
I Dream – During sleep at times I am partially conscious and continue to live in a very different world… a dream reality that is dynamically shaped out of my memories, emotions and thoughts. A gateway opens between the unconscious and the conscious and symbolic experiences plant the seeds of awakening. My dreams speak to me and if I am observant and open to what they show, I find that it illuminates dark passages in my mind, things that i in normal waking life cannot see or know about myself. Sometimes the emotional tone of the dream experience is more significant that the symbolism of the dream sequence. I can somehow better understand my life and am often better prepared for what is to come. So it is important for me to cultivate an active dream life and to remember or record my dreams and carry them into life, meditation and creativity.
I Meditate – I retreat from the outer world of people and things, sensation, information, knowledge, planets and galaxies, etc. I withdraw my attention from external stimuli and turn my attention to my body, heart and mind… my feelings, emotions and thoughts… I observe and bring consciousness into what this perspective has acquired but more importantly, as I delve deeper I wish to pass the surface and observe the contents of the deeper personal and collective unconscious… As the surface stills, and the depths release their charge, gradually I become aware of a faculty or mode of perception within my consciousness that has always been there but is usually drowned out by information overload. It is the seat of Intuition and has the potential to illuminate my life, dreams, and creativity.
I Live and Love – I use my senses to perceive the outer world and so my attention is drawn to its content, to interacting with and learning from the cumulative collective human knowledge and wisdom, to interacting with and learning from individual people, to caring for people and loving family, friends, and strangers, to interacting and learning from life itself or the experiences… the things that happen. I see that there is meaning and purpose in everything that happens to me, and all the people I interact with have some special part to play in my unfolding Destiny. Most of the time my attention is projected outwards but often I am also able to observe myself, my body, my feelings, emotions and thoughts. When I do this I sometimes realize things about myself and my patterning. I challenge myself to carry into normal everyday life all that emerges from my dreams and meditation and to do life differently… better. I challenge myself to undo my conditioning and be free.
I Create – Creative expression is what kept me sane and keeps me sane. When I was younger I enjoyed sketching, poetry and playing the guitar and I really needed that mysterious space where I touch something of beauty in me and then find a way to let it express itself in art, writing and music. The process is enchanting, after being inspired by something ‘out there’ you retreat to the ‘inner world’ and liberate something from the depths. It is a cathartic healing experience and it leaves me feeling lighter and freer. Such works of true sincere expression have great power to inspire and liberate others, but i find that I must first seek and experience what inspires me in Nature, music, relationship, service and art, anything that touches that deepest place, plants a seed that will in its own time express itself. Sometimes, very rarely, I dream create music and art, but usually a meditative stillness and atmosphere is when I can create, but really speaking I have always felt that everything I do is creative expression and I strive to be artistic in everything that I do.