Advanced Topics > Self Observation

Self-Observation

BY PHILLIP WITTMEYER

If you learn nothing else from reading this presentation, please learn the following. (You will be tested at the end of the exposition.) This section gives you the key to dumping your garbage and living in True Personality and Essence. What is that key? Simple and easy: self-observation becoming fully aware of yourself. No effort. No exercises. No traumas. No fuss. You don't even have to know how you got to be the way you are, but you have to do it right for it to work.

First of all, self-observation is not self-criticism or self-absorption. It is not a neurotic introversion or a paranoid looking for personal flaws. When you begin noticing the Feature and the Negative Poles, you might tend to condemn yourself when you see yourself acting, feeling, and thinking from them. Or you might want to praise yourself when you "overcome". This is not the way to do self-observation. The purpose is not to feel/think "good" about yourself as in some psychotherapies that only feeds the False Personality and Maya, as does thinking/feeling "bad" about yourself. Self-observation transcends the Polarity of good/bad and all other Polarities. It is totally neutral. It neither condemns for the "negative" nor praises for the "positive". There is neither repression nor sublimation. There are no shoulds or shouldn'ts. There is only vigilant watchfulness about everything within your being and in your response to everything outside your being. Nothing is beyond the scrutiny of self-observation: every thought, every feeling, every action is up for investigation. I have mentioned reading psychology books as part of our psychotherapy. This gives us stuff to look for.

There is neither triumph for victory nor regrets for defeat in observation of our garbage. Notice I do not say "confrontation" of our garbage. To confront False Personality, Negative Poles, Instinct, Maya and Feature would only strengthen their hold. This is not the place to do "denials" and "affirmations" as taught in some other psychotherapies. Nor is it the "creative visualization" or "subliminal programming" of the "human potential" movement. Neither is self-observation the "conditioning" of the behaviorist school of psychotherapy. No, self-observation is not the use of one part of the personal self to manipulate or coerce another part of the personal self. The purpose is not to reprogram it is to deprogram. Simply stated, self-observation leads to disidentification with the personal self that suffers and rejoices, remembers and forgets, philosophizes and rationalizes, laughs and cries, succeeds and fails the self that is bandied about between Polarities. Self-observation leads to identification with Essence, which has no preferences. Essence is not caught up in any of the thrills and spills, agonies and ecstasies, successes and failures, triumphs and tragedies, brilliancies and stupidities of the personal self.

Self-observation takes practice but it does not take effort. It is in fact the relaxation of all the efforts of the personal self. It is merely a shift of awareness, from being centered in the personal self to being centered in Essence. For this reason, many call self-observation "getting centered". Essence observes with detachment everything the personal self does. It never interferes or judges. If your self-observation inhibits or augments your personality in any way, you are doing it wrong.

Some might ask, "If self-observation condemns or promotes nothing, judges or condones nothing, disapproves or approves nothing, does nothing in fact, then how does it dump garbage?". The answer is that the "light" of Essence effortlessly dispels the "darkness" of our garbage when our personal self invites and allows Essence into our lives via the "centering" practice of self-observation. Gradually we learn to do it correctly, and layer after layer of our garbage fades away, revealing more of Essence. In the beginning we do not know what is True Personality which will be retained, and what is garbage which will be dumped. Essence knows, however. Our behavior, feelings and thoughts become more spontaneous and appropriate. The many competing parts of the personal self are replaced with the single guidance of Essence.

One of the results of self-observation is objectivity Truth. This is most important when it comes to examining our motives. Why do we do the things we do? Parts of the personal self lie to other parts all the time. We don't always know when there are lies at the time it happens, but later when reality intrudes we can be objective with 20-20 hindsight. We may choose to examine the self-deception and learn from it, so that it does not happen again. This process will gradually increase our objectivity. We will begin to see when our rationalizing or fantasizing or wishing or emotionalizing or desiring or whatever is leading us astray. By objectifying ourselves we jump out of neurotic "loops" we may have thoughts, feelings and behaviors that repeat continually. We become free to follow the subtle promptings of Essence.

It is often potentially less inhibiting at first to practice self-observation as reflection or review rather than as continuous monitoring while things are happening. Some people like to keep a journal. Writing things down does indeed clarify one's perceptions.

Here is an example of self-observation: Let's see . . . as I am sitting here trying to think of a personal example, my Feature of Arrogance kicks in. It does not want me to reveal anything that will make me look bad. Thinking, thinking. Hey, here's an idea. I will give an example that makes me look bad and this will show what a great guy I "really" am in that I have overcomen Arrogance enough to reveal my faults and not be embarrassed about it. Looking, looking. Oops. That is just my deceptive Arrogance imitating humility and then lying to me about how clever I am to fool everybody else. Am I sick or what. What'll I do now? I could erase this and start over so I won't look bad. They would never know . . . But I know. Observing, observing. Hey, wait a minute. I'm being judgmental calling myself sick. Arrogance is sick, to be sure, but that's not the real me. I am Essence and Essence condemns nothing. It just is. I just am. I am It. I AM.

Many people like to point out other people's Negative Poles and Features. This is particularly true among coworkers, friends, and family members. You get to know other people's garbage when you are with them a lot. Sometimes people offer these comments in jest, or with good humor, or as solid advice. Sometimes people do it out of their own negativity meanness, self-justification or spite. However they do it, if they do it to you, note their remarks and take them to heart. Treat their comments as self-observation.

With self-observation no pope is telling you what to do. No leader is telling you what the destination is. No preacher is telling you what is good and bad. No shaman is telling you the path to enlightenment. No channeled entity has wisdom, happiness, truth, beauty, and love packaged for you and tied with a bow. You will find your own way, and you will find it best through self-observation. Your own inner guidance will show you the way. You will gradually dump a lot of your garbage even if you don't use self-observation, but self-observation accelerates the process. It is also a lot easier and fun besides.

If and when you begin to practice self-observation, if any of it seems like work, you are doing it wrong.

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Phil Wittmeyer is a longtime Michael student and scholar of the teachings.  He can be reached at: wittmeyer@hotmail.com

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