The season “The lost art of observation” has its first post about self-observation.

The concept of self-observation is self-explanatory: we watch and listen to ourselves, we watch and listen to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.  
Why? I offer a very simple reason – because we need  to collect data about ourselves. We do not need to do anything with this data. Just collecting it changes us.
The art of self-observation has been lost because we do not practice it. We spend most of our lives on autopilot. The autopilot mode consists of our habits. When we are in autopilot mode our mind is not focused, it wanders. A recent study showed that people spend nearly 47% of their waking time in mind wandering, in other words – not thinking about what they are doing. Nothing wrong with that. We make more than 35,000 decisions a day so the autopilot mechanism helps enormously to live a comfortable life. The paradox is that the autopilot (our habits) make our lives easy and unhappy. Studies have discovered that when the mind wanders two things happen: we think about the past or we  plan the future.  And by doing that we become unhappy. So no surprise that so many mindful practices exist to keep us in the present.
As any art, self-observation is an activity that requires creative skills, practice and is based on some principles. In this post I will outline the principles of the art of self-observation  based on the book “Self-observation” by Red Hawk. 
1. Self-observation is non-judgmental. We do not classify, we do not conceptualise. We do not want to understand our past, why we are the person we are, why we are not as others. No! We just watch, listen, allow, accept. Whatever we observe – emotion, thought, action – we stay neutral. It is not at all easy to do it but it gets better with practice. 
2. Observing the object. In other words , we do not change the object of observation – we  do not engage with our thoughts, feelings or behaviour when we self-observe. The mind has a very specific characteristic – a thought appears, followed by another one , and another one, a chain of thoughts and feelings  and we find ourselves fully immersed in them. That is not self- observation, as the object of observation has changed. Again it is not easy to stay in line with this principle but practice makes us better. 
3. Sensations in our body. One very useful thing to remember is that the body and mind are interconnected and observing the sensations in our body not only collects data but keeps us in self-observing mode. We are observing the bodily sensations as well as our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. 
4. Honesty. Be brutally honest with yourself. We all want to look good in front of other people. We pretend, lie or suppress our manifestations. Self-observation requires honesty, the raw truth. It may cause pain but watching the pain, without interfering helps to transform it. Emotions are energy and the body knows how to deal with the energy, how to use and transform it. 
So, as a result of self-observation we gain some insights and these insights are about our habits.
What we do with these insights is up to us. We may choose to do nothing. Very good – the actual process of self-observation has already changed us, or at least our attitude to the habits. Or maybe we will choose to do something with the insights we have gained – establish new habits, change habits, break habits. 
The next post in this season is about the protocol of self-observation. 

1 Comment

  1. Публикацията е много интересна. Начинът,чрез който са представени принципите за самонаблюдението е прекрасен.Най-много ми хареса усещането за “разговор” по тази тема.Интересувам се от изследването,използвано в началото на поста и от връзката емоции-енергия.Надявам се ,че любопитството ми ще бъде задоволено в следващата публикация.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *