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Read more about '''[[Self Observation Compilation|Self Observation]]''' from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.  
 
Read more about '''[[Self Observation Compilation|Self Observation]]''' from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.  
 
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=What is Self-Observation?=
  
<h1>Self Observation Summary</h1>
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Self observation is to know what stands behind one’s surface nature and personality. To observe oneself is to become conscious of oneself, of the different parts of one’s being and their respective activities. It is to know one’s inner mental, vital, physical and psychic being and its powers and movements... In its advanced stages where one takes an impersonal poise, Self-observation also consists of knowing the universal laws and processes of the occult Mind and Life which stand behind the material-front of the universe. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/memory-ego-and-self-experience#p5</ref>
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<ref> http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/18-june-1958#p3</ref>
  
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=Why is Self-Observation Important?=
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=What is Self-Observation?=
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==To Overcome Ignorance==
  
Man must know himself and discover and utilise all his potentialities: but to know himself and the world completely he must go behind his own and its exterior, he must dive deep below his own mental surface and the physical surface of Nature.  
+
In our everyday life, we always look outwards into the appearance of things and get trapped into the surface ignorance and rarely turn inwards. Amongst other things, this comes with ignorance, unconsciousness, egoism. If we wish to overcome these limitations and discover & utilise our potentialities beyond the surface appearances, we need to observe ourselves. <ref> http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/18-june-1958#p3</ref>
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/18-june-1958#p3</ref>  
 
  
As one goes beyond the ordinary surface body consciousness, we discover an inner level of mental, vital, physical being along with a inner subtle - physical being. By identifying ourselves with our inner being, we are able to observe our thoughts and feelings and can trace the source and motives of our actions and operative energies that build up our surface personality. This helps us in improving our self-vision. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/knowledge-by-identity-and-separative-knowledge#p12</ref>
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==Self-awareness==
It is only through self-observation one gets an intuitive perception of the Nature forces - sattva, rajas, tamas.
 
By Observing one’s dreams, one can come to understand them and their significance to our inner life.
 
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/three-experiences-of-the-inner-being#p6</ref>
 
  
 +
Through self-observation, one learns to distinguish different parts one from another, so that one may become clearly aware of the origin of the movements that occur in oneself, the many impulses, reactions and conflicting wills that drive one to action. <ref>h http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/the-science-of-living#p5</ref>
  
=Why - Self-Observation?=
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==To Utilise One’s Full Potential==
In our everyday life, we always look outwards into the appearance of things and get trapped into the surface ignorance and rarely turn inwards to seek self and discover and utilize our potentials.
 
...if each element which comes with its ignorance, its unconsciousness, its egoism, is put before the will to change and one remains awake, compares, observes, studies and slowly acts, that becomes infinitely interesting, one makes marvellous and quite unexpected discoveries.
 
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/19-april-1951#p14</ref>
 
  
To work for your perfection, the first step is to become conscious of yourself, of the different parts of your being and their respective activities. You must learn to distinguish these different parts one from another, so that you may become clearly aware of the origin of the movements that occur in you, the many impulses, reactions and conflicting wills that drive you to action.
+
Man must know himself and discover and utilise all his potentialities: but to know himself and the world completely he must go behind his own and its exterior, he must dive deep below his own mental surface and the physical surface of Nature. This he can only do by observing oneself. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/18-june-1958#p3</ref>
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/the-science-of-living#p5</ref>
 
  
 
=How to Observe Oneself?=
 
=How to Observe Oneself?=
By projecting oneself on a screen and then observe and see all that is moving there and how it moves and what happens.<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/29-july-1953#p47</ref>
 
 
'''By Vigilance'''
 
 
Not fear, but vigilance. If you remain vigilant, then with the increase of the Force upholding you, a power of self-control will come, a power to see and reject the wrong turn or the wrong reaction when it comes. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/fear#p12</ref>
 
 
'''By Developing a Quiet Mind'''
 
 
If the whole mind remains quiet and detached observing the vital movement, but not giving its assent, then to reject it becomes more easy. This established quietude and detachment of the mind marks always a great step forward made in the sadhana. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/the-vital-and-other-levels-of-being#p45</ref>
 
 
'''By Developing the Witness Attitude'''
 
  
In order to become conscious, one needs to develop within a part with a witness attitude that observes and is not carried away by thoughts and feelings. People with very developed introspective mind identifies with this part and it becomes easy for them to begin the process of self-observation.
+
==By Cultivating the Inner Attitude of Witness==
  
The process of self-observation should be objective and one should look at oneself as a third person engaging in the surface level activities. One need not like or dislike the activity but sincerely observe the movements of nature.
+
To observe oneself, first & foremost is cultivating an inner attitude of witnessing. Witness attitude is not the same as introspection. In introspection, one looks with one part of the surface mind at what happens in another part of the same surface mind. Whereas when we have the witness attitude, our consciousness frees itself from habitual entanglements in thoughts, feelings and sense-perceptions and becomes peaceful, silent, and capable of watching whatever happens in nature as a pure witness, sakshi, without bias, reaction or involvement.
By Education
 
  
Consequently, all life is an education pursued more or less consciously, more or less willingly. In certain cases this education will encourage the movements that express the light, in others, on the contrary, those that express the shadow.
+
However, in the beginning, it helps to use the introspective mind, especially if a human has a well-development introspective mind. It helps in not getting carried away by thoughts and feelings. A man with a very developed with very identifies with this part of his mind and observes his own thoughts and studies their nature. That is a beginning which makes it easy for the full detachment to come.  
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/12/vital-education#p6</ref>
 
  
==Difficulties during Self-Observation==
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Further, to develop the witness attitude it helps to
 +
Project oneself on a screen and then observe and see all that is moving there and how it moves and what happens.
 +
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/13-october-1954#p2</ref>
  
Be aware of the “escape attitude’’ as man always rushes into external action and looks for reasons to not have time to observe himself and turn inward.
+
Look at oneself objectively as a third person engaging in the surface level activities. One need not like or dislike the activity but sincerely observe the movements of nature.
  
There is “danger of ego” in observing the movements and attaching the sense of ‘I’’to the process of self-observing and not going behind the surface level I.
+
==By Developing the Contact with the Psychic Being==
  
Focussing on the negative- To be always observing faults and wrong movements brings depression and discourages the faith.  
+
The mental being within watches, observes and passes judgment on all that happens in you. The psychic does not watch and observe in this way like a witness, but it feels and knows spontaneously in a much more direct and luminous way by the very purity of its own nature and the divine instinct within it, and so, whenever it comes to the front it reveals at once what are the right and what the wrong movements in one’s nature.  
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/steps-towards-overcoming-difficulties#p28</ref> You have to observe them, of course, but not stress them.<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/dealing-with-depression-and-despondency#p22</ref>
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<ref>h http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/work-and-yoga#p45</ref>
  
Surface -level observation
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==By Being Vigilant==
It is evident that our state on the surface is indeed a state of knowledge, so far as it goes, but a limited knowledge enveloped and invaded by ignorance and, to a very large extent, by reason of its limitation, itself a kind of ignorance, at best a mixed knowledge-ignorance.
 
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/knowledge-by-identity-and-separative-knowledge#p7</ref>
 
  
= How to Observe Oneself? =
+
Secondly, vigilance helps in self-observation.  If one remains vigilant, not fearful, then with the increase of the Force upholding oneself, a power of seeing  and self-observation comes. The power of seeing is accompanied by the power of self-control and the power to reject the wrong turn or the wrong reaction when it comes. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/fear#p12</ref>
  
'''Condition'''
+
==By Developing a Quiet Mind==
  
A quiet mind is required for true self-observation and a great amount of inner silence helps in observing the outer action without being involved or moved.
+
Thirdly, quietude and detachment of the mind helps in self-observation. If the whole mind remains quiet and detached, then to observe the vital movement without giving assent and rejecting it becomes more easy. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/the-vital-and-other-levels-of-being#p45</ref>
  
'''Process'''
+
==By Exercising the Will to Change==
  
''Witness''
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By putting each element that enters our consciousness before the will to change while remaining awake, comparing, observing, studying and slowly acting, we are able to hone our ability at self-observation and make interesting discoveries within oneself.
  
In order to become conscious, one needs to develop within a part with a witness attitude that observes and is not carried away by thoughts and feelings. People with very developed introspective mind identifies with this part and it becomes easy for them to begin the process of self-observation.
+
==By Educating the Senses==
  
''Impartial and Sincere''
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By the education of the senses the growth of one's general education is aided. The senses can, in particular,  be used  as instruments of observation, control and knowledge. For instance, the way one keeps one’s room is often a reflection of where one is in one’s consciousness. Taking this feedback, and consciously trying to use the sense of colour and form, order and organisation helps develop the ability to use one’s senses a logical, rational, useful way. Going further, it also helps discover who one is in the conscious way of designing one’s room.
 +
<ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/06/31-march-1954#p13</ref>
  
The process of self-observation should be objective and one should look at oneself as a third person engaging in the surface level activities. One need not like or dislike the activity but sincerely observe the movements of nature.
+
=Difficulties in Self-Observation=
  
'''Thoughts and Self-observation'''
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==Escape Attitude==
  
You are separate from your thoughts.
+
Man always rushes into external action and looks for reasons to not have time to observe himself and turn inward, thus it is important to be wary of the “escape attitude” within oneself.
In the ordinary state, one thinks by habit and is unable to distinguish himself from his thoughts.There is a complete identification between the movement of thought and the consciousness of the being. But when one acquires the witness attitude and is able to separate himself from the thoughts, one sees that the thoughts come from outside, from universal Nature, from the mental, vital or subtle physical worlds etc. Thoughts are not the essence of mental-being, they are only an activity of mental nature. Being a little aware and observant shows that one is not manufacturing one’s own thoughts, but rather thoughts occur in one’s consciousness. Generally, it is like a thought current passing through the brain and then through the brains of other people. It is a perpetual movement that lacks individuality. Through movements of life and gradually becoming aware of one’s individual sensations, thoughts and ideas, one is able to see that very few thoughts in us are personal. Thoughts lack individuality and one thinks what others are thinking, others think what still others are thinking, and everybody thinks like that in a great mixture, because these are currents, vibrations of thought passing from one to another.
 
  
= Three things to be aware of =
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==Ego==
  
Be aware of “many voices” within. All are not divine and many may only be a voice of desire. You should be vigilant and be faithful to the Truth and insist on peace, purity, devotion, sincerity. Aspire for a spiritual change of nature and keep the fire of aspiration burning.
+
The second is the “danger of ego” in observing the movements and attaching the sense of ‘I’’ to the process of self-observing and not going behind the surface level I.
Be aware of the “escape attitude’’ as man always rushes into external action and looks for reasons to not have time to observe himself and turn inward.
 
There is “danger of ego” in observing the movements and attaching the sense of ‘I’’to the process of self-observing and not going behind the surface level I.
 
  
= Results of Self-observation =
+
==Focussing on the Negative==
  
If one sincerely observes oneself and put all one’s ignorance, unconsciousness and egoism before a will to change then life becomes infinitely interesting and one can make marvellous and unexpected discoveries about oneself. The process becomes interesting and one begins to find out a lot of small hidden folds one never knew existed within. Once they discovered and light is put upon them, they disappear and one no longer has those reactions and that is how you make progress on the path of self discovery.
+
To be always observing faults and wrong movements brings depression and discourages the faith. <ref> http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/steps-towards-overcoming-difficulties#p28</ref> One has to observe them, of course, but not stress them.
 +
<ref> http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/dealing-with-depression-and-despondency#p22</ref>
  
= Things to Remember =
+
Instead it is important to focus on the good part and give it strength, whilst not denying the limitations and the wrong movements. .
 
 
'''Continuous Process of Self-observation'''
 
 
 
If one begins to find out, to understand what a feeling is and what a thought is, and how it works, then one can already go quite far on the path. One must at the same time observe how his feelings and thoughts have an action on the body, what the reciprocity is.
 
 
 
And then, there is another exercise which consists in looking into oneself for what is persistent, what is lasting, something which makes one say "I", and which is not the body.  
 
 
 
'''Divine as Observer'''
 
 
 
A hidden Power is the true Lord and overruling Observer of our acts and only he knows through all the ignorance and perversion and deformation brought in by the ego their entire sense and ultimate purpose.
 
  
  
 
'''Content curated by Aditi Kaul'''
 
'''Content curated by Aditi Kaul'''
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Read more about '''[[Self Observation Compilation|Self Observation]]''' from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.  
 
Read more about '''[[Self Observation Compilation|Self Observation]]''' from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.  
 
|}
 
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==References==

Latest revision as of 17:53, 19 November 2019

Read more about Self Observation from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is Self-Observation?

Self observation is to know what stands behind one’s surface nature and personality. To observe oneself is to become conscious of oneself, of the different parts of one’s being and their respective activities. It is to know one’s inner mental, vital, physical and psychic being and its powers and movements... In its advanced stages where one takes an impersonal poise, Self-observation also consists of knowing the universal laws and processes of the occult Mind and Life which stand behind the material-front of the universe. [1] [2]

Why is Self-Observation Important?

To Overcome Ignorance

In our everyday life, we always look outwards into the appearance of things and get trapped into the surface ignorance and rarely turn inwards. Amongst other things, this comes with ignorance, unconsciousness, egoism. If we wish to overcome these limitations and discover & utilise our potentialities beyond the surface appearances, we need to observe ourselves. [3]

Self-awareness

Through self-observation, one learns to distinguish different parts one from another, so that one may become clearly aware of the origin of the movements that occur in oneself, the many impulses, reactions and conflicting wills that drive one to action. [4]

To Utilise One’s Full Potential

Man must know himself and discover and utilise all his potentialities: but to know himself and the world completely he must go behind his own and its exterior, he must dive deep below his own mental surface and the physical surface of Nature. This he can only do by observing oneself. [5]

How to Observe Oneself?

By Cultivating the Inner Attitude of Witness

To observe oneself, first & foremost is cultivating an inner attitude of witnessing. Witness attitude is not the same as introspection. In introspection, one looks with one part of the surface mind at what happens in another part of the same surface mind. Whereas when we have the witness attitude, our consciousness frees itself from habitual entanglements in thoughts, feelings and sense-perceptions and becomes peaceful, silent, and capable of watching whatever happens in nature as a pure witness, sakshi, without bias, reaction or involvement.

However, in the beginning, it helps to use the introspective mind, especially if a human has a well-development introspective mind. It helps in not getting carried away by thoughts and feelings. A man with a very developed with very identifies with this part of his mind and observes his own thoughts and studies their nature. That is a beginning which makes it easy for the full detachment to come.

Further, to develop the witness attitude it helps to Project oneself on a screen and then observe and see all that is moving there and how it moves and what happens. [6]

Look at oneself objectively as a third person engaging in the surface level activities. One need not like or dislike the activity but sincerely observe the movements of nature.

By Developing the Contact with the Psychic Being

The mental being within watches, observes and passes judgment on all that happens in you. The psychic does not watch and observe in this way like a witness, but it feels and knows spontaneously in a much more direct and luminous way by the very purity of its own nature and the divine instinct within it, and so, whenever it comes to the front it reveals at once what are the right and what the wrong movements in one’s nature. [7]

By Being Vigilant

Secondly, vigilance helps in self-observation. If one remains vigilant, not fearful, then with the increase of the Force upholding oneself, a power of seeing and self-observation comes. The power of seeing is accompanied by the power of self-control and the power to reject the wrong turn or the wrong reaction when it comes. [8]

By Developing a Quiet Mind

Thirdly, quietude and detachment of the mind helps in self-observation. If the whole mind remains quiet and detached, then to observe the vital movement without giving assent and rejecting it becomes more easy. [9]

By Exercising the Will to Change

By putting each element that enters our consciousness before the will to change while remaining awake, comparing, observing, studying and slowly acting, we are able to hone our ability at self-observation and make interesting discoveries within oneself.

By Educating the Senses

By the education of the senses the growth of one's general education is aided. The senses can, in particular, be used as instruments of observation, control and knowledge. For instance, the way one keeps one’s room is often a reflection of where one is in one’s consciousness. Taking this feedback, and consciously trying to use the sense of colour and form, order and organisation helps develop the ability to use one’s senses a logical, rational, useful way. Going further, it also helps discover who one is in the conscious way of designing one’s room. [10]

Difficulties in Self-Observation

Escape Attitude

Man always rushes into external action and looks for reasons to not have time to observe himself and turn inward, thus it is important to be wary of the “escape attitude” within oneself.

Ego

The second is the “danger of ego” in observing the movements and attaching the sense of ‘I’’ to the process of self-observing and not going behind the surface level I.

Focussing on the Negative

To be always observing faults and wrong movements brings depression and discourages the faith. [11] One has to observe them, of course, but not stress them. [12]

Instead it is important to focus on the good part and give it strength, whilst not denying the limitations and the wrong movements. .


Content curated by Aditi Kaul

Read more about Self Observation from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

References