Becoming the Observer
A comment on “Letting go of your need”, with shakti’s response below in red.
How do we do this shakti? I understand it on an intellectual level, but HOW do you get beyond? With our practise? With our meditation?
I have situations in my life where I would love to rise about the habit patterns of my mind, but find it very difficult to not “feel” – what makes you get to the point where you are not “feeling” the emotion? I don’t seem to be able to just tell myself “stop” – as it is a physical sensation!
How do we do this shakti?
By not doing. You see, most of the time we think that change will take place by doing something different then what we are currently doing. On the spiritual dimension things work a bit differently. It is not the doing, it is the observation of the actions, feelings and thoughts that need to be developed and then the perception of all of it needs to be modified.
I have situations in my life where I would love to rise about the habit patterns of my mind, but find it very difficult to not “feel” – what makes you get to the point where you are not “feeling” the emotion?
You always will feel the emotions, but not you. It is your mind, your body, your cells that are feeling. The feelings you are talking about are rising and dissolving in the physical body, in the cells in the brain. As they come and go they change the cells’ structure, the nervous system as well as your appearance and immune system. This is why it is felt as
‘physical sensation!’ because that is what it is.
The question is, who or what is the observer,that is observing it as a
‘physical sensation!’ If you were the physical or the sensation you wouldn’t observe it, you would simply be it. Can you see it? Do you get it? Your power is by watching, you are watching it; you are not it.
It is easy to experience it while watching a movie. You may ‘feel’ emotion for the character on the screen, she is in danger. You deeply feel for her. Will you jump to the screen and save her or will you STOP yourself because you are aware that you are the observer. You are still feeling the emotions in your body; you may cry of sadness or feel your stomach if you are afraid but you will probably keep eating your popcorn.
I don’t seem to be able to just tell myself “stop” – as it is a physical sensation!
This shows you that there are moments in life where you are feeling deeply, and yet, without stopping the feelings you still make a choice of your actions.
So now let’s convert the above spiritual blarb to practical living-understanding and hopefully living-experience.
Let’s say you feel angry. (Feel free to replace anger with any other emotions you are in favor of). Most people, when their anger rises in their mind and their body it takes over and consumes the observer. As a consequence what left is pure emotion-in-action which leads us to reaction, (the most undesirable state in spirituality). This is equal to feeling angry in the theater and jumping to the screen to punch the bad character.
Sooooo the bridge to the observer is often a good deep breath, by doing so, you are awakening the observer. Being ‘outside’ of the emotion you have the time to change your perception about the moment (My anger is not because of him it is because I am in fear etc.) as well, you have the choice of how and to where to direct this energy.
First you start by doing it in your sitting meditation. You are still and quiet and yet you may feel angry about last night’s conversation with your partner. You feel it in your stomach, in your facial muscles. It is obvious that the emotions you feel right now have nothing to do with reality as it is; as you are sitting in meditation but still feel irrelevant feelings to the moment. In the time of meditation we develop our observer ‘muscles’ so that later on, in daily moments, the observer is strong enough to stay outside of the feelings and the emotions. Only in this state will you make the right choices in each moment. Otherwise if there is no connection with the observer you will move on reaction to the other, exhausting all your energy sources, becoming drained and feeling hopeless.
You can do it.
When you become the observer you become free.
You own your emotions, they do not own you.