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











Self Observation Summary


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. In order to know ourselves and the world completely, we must go behind our exterior and dive deep below our  own mental surface and the physical surface of Nature. And for this self expansion and exploration , psychological self-observation and analysis is a great and effective tool which supports the turning  of the eye inward and help us in connecting with our inner being and universal laws and processes which stand behind the material front of the universe.


Self-observation is the process of becoming conscious of oneself and the different parts of one’s being and developing a power to distinguish between the parts, the origin of their movements within and the many impulses and conflicting will that drives one to action. Observation helps develop a discernment that never errs.

As we go 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.

Mind Under the Influence of Psychic Being

Real Self-Knowledge begins when one dis-identifies from the nature in oneself and its movements - realising the two as separate beings in oneself. One movement guiding one towards one’s inner truth (psychic being) and other (mostly vital) towards the external being engaged in the play of lower nature.

As one progresses in one’s inner journey, a state comes where one experiences a double consciousness, one on the surface, small, active, ignorant, swayed by thoughts and feelings, grief and joy and all kinds of reactions, the other within calm, vast, equal, observing the surface being with an immovable detachment.

The surface/outer mental being observes and passes judgement whereas the inner being (psychic) spontaneously knows and feels in a more direct way by its purity and the divine instinct within it. Mind under the influence of the psychic reveals the movements coming from the higher and the lower nature in oneself. The pure mind in a witness position that stands detached from the play of the nature, observing it and able to choose.

How to Observe Oneself?


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.



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.

Impartial and Sincere

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.

Thoughts and Self-observation

You are separate from your thoughts. 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

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. 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

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.

Things to Remember

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

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