Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

How Observation Changes Relationships

--by Vimala Thakar (Dec 17, 2018)

When we sit in silence what do we do? We sit and observe the voluntary and involuntary activities of the body and mind. Slowly the voluntary activities come to an end, but the involuntary activities we have inherited from birth, from our family, religion, race, nationality -which fill the mind – go on, and we sit and observe their unfoldment.

Since we are used to working all the time we may find it difficult at first to sit quiet, or the body may fall asleep due to accumulated fatigue. If it happens it is desirable to rest the body for a few days until it is fresh again. While you sit in silence, thoughts will arise, as the mind has been working for 24 hours. The thoughts cannot be suppressed nor can they be thrown away anywhere, you can only watch them, not naming them as good or bad. Then you are free from the roles of an experiencer and an actor, you enter into the state of an observer of non-reactional attention.

As soon as the mind begins moving and says: “I like” or “I dislike” what it sees, there is a disturbance, a burdening of the mind and the role of the observer is lost and you are once more immersed into the roles of an experiencer and actor. If you do not react to the thoughts you are observing, if they no longer have the power to elicit any reaction from you then they will subside of their own accord.

We have to extend this attitude of observation in relationships. Once the observer state is awakened it changes relationships. It is a tremendous energy that is awakened. When observation becomes a continuous state throughout the day, then:

(1) There is no self-deception. We do not hide anything from ourselves. There is nothing left as subconscious or unconscious it being all revealed in observation. There is now only the conscious level.

(2) We stop deceiving others or presenting a different image of ourselves to others. The seeing of what is, without justification or condemnation shatters the image. We now have the courage to live and be what we are.

(3) We become aware of all that is happening within us, of the different emotions arising within us, for example, if we begin to get angry we are aware of it and so the grip of anger loosens its hold over us.

(4) We recognize and admit our mistakes; asking for forgiveness immediately, thus freeing the mind from the burden of residue.

(5) Through observation thoughts subside, hence the strain and pressure they cause on the neurological and chemical systems are also lifted. It is this tension that brings about anti-social behavior.

(6) Pain and pleasure are not taken further than the present moment; thus no grudges or attachments are formed. The art of living is to live completely in the moment, not carrying any residue over to next incident, person or day.

by Vimala Thakar, sourced from here

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On Dec 14, 2018 susan schaller wrote:

 The master doesn't seek fulfillment.  Not seeking, not expecting, she is present, and welcomes all things. - The Tau te Ching.   Practice, practice, practice - today I practice being in this day, again.  When I do, I live in the fullness of this eternal now,.... for one millisecond, but what joy!

On Dec 14, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I feel deeply connected with what Vimla Thakar writes in her essay. When I sit quetly as a non-ractive observer, I feel myself free from  the burden or grip of the pleassant or painful thoughts and emotions about the future or residual effects stored in my subconscious and unconscious mind. I flow in the stream of pure consciousness.This is the art of living completely in the moment as Vimalatai states," not carrying any residue over to next incident, person, or day." This is the pure sate witnessing consciousness without the bonage of grudges or attachments.

The art of living is a continuous journey of remaining awakened and aware of the trappings we create in our lives. I go through this expereince almost everyday. I get severe arthritic physical pain in my neck and shoulders. This is a chronic physical sensory experience for me. When woorysome thoughts and emotions come to my mind, my physical pain turns into suffering. What helps me is noticing non-judgementally and non-reactionally what happens in my body and mind. Observing my physiclal, mental and emotional world in a mindful way my relationship with myself changes. Such mindfulness inner work also helps me to make my relationships with others more  authentic, cordial and constructive. It is happening more these days because of what is happening in the political arena. By remining awakened and aware of my judging and ractive thoughts without getting caught up in my judgemental stance, I have been able to maintain amicable relationships with people who are close to me. Practicing mindfulness is my mantra that helps me to stay the course.
Jagdish P Dave

On Dec 15, 2018 david doane wrote:

 It's not possible to not carry any residue over into the next experience.  Our experience becomes partof us and carries over.  We may resolve and/or become free of some or even a  great deal of residue, but not all.  We never become 100% clean of all residue.  The residue we're stuck with sneaks up on us and overlays a next experience.  My commitment to nonjudgmental observation always changes my relationship, helps it be present and honest, free of game playing.  You practice observation by practicing becoming aware of and letting go of interferences such as preconceived notions, efforts to control, judgments, predictions, goals, and practicing simply being in the present.

On Dec 16, 2018 me wrote:


On Dec 18, 2018 susan wrote:

 This is really powerful for me.  I have experienced this observer role and my behavior and response, and have been able to adjust in the morment and respond more positively. I have also failed and experienced the residual feelings that the author describes.  It is plain and simply awareness. My awareness is still growing. I can see the impact on the relationship with myself and others... very cool!

On Dec 19, 2018 Sidney Dekoven wrote:

Well, I like everything you say, David, and usually do, However I do believe that it is possible that a fully awakened being living completely in the present, carries no residue at all over from his/her current experience. That that is what Moksha means ot call it Liberation or Enlightenment without quotation marks, And yes, for the 99.999% of the rest of us, well, we do the best we can.  Sidney

On Dec 26, 2018 david doane wrote:

 Hi Sidney -- Thank you for responding.  Perhaps you are right -- I wonder -- maybe only 99.001% of us carry some residue from one experience into the next, and .001% of us carry no residue at all.  I think -- I don't know but am thinking -- that every thing gets physically metabolized into our physical being and in some way never goes away, and that every experience gets experientially metabolized into our essential being and in some way never goes away, metabolized into Being that we are part of and then downloads into the being that I am, and in that way never goes away but is residue that stays accessible to me and is triggered and activated in a next experience.  Like I said, I wonder.  David

On Dec 27, 2018 Jodyne wrote:

 When I sit in silence, this is what I like to do.. I put away all thoughts of what others would like me to be, I put away the dream of who my parents and grandparents, and even my children would like me to be. I put away all that society expects of me.  I let-go of the burden of acting a part anyone would like me to play. And I consider the Creator, and who the Creator created me to be. I was created for life, for joy, for love, for service. I was not created to do the will of anyone except the Creator. I was created because it made the Creator happy. Basically.. I was created to just BE.. to enjoy the moment.. because everything else is not real (including my thoughts). Only what is happening right now is real, because what is in the past is in the past, and what is in the future hasn't happened yet. 

My experience is both spiritual and physical. And I need both to function as the Creator intended me to be. 
The key to living a good life is awareness. 
* Being aware of my present surroundings in this moment is living. 
* Being aware of the-dream-of-the-planet and that it is not real, it is a description, and is just a dream; and also, being aware that I can choose to act out the dream or not. 
When I am aware then I can choose to live in the world of words and thoughts or in the world of just existing, of just knowing without words. 
Words and thus thoughts are only symbols of what is real.  [And] the only thing that is real is what is happening right now. 
How I practice 
while staying checked-in.  
By practicing AWARENESS. 
When I am aware that there is both a spiritual and a physical world of existence and can immerse myself in either world of existence, then I am free to choose my experience - a spiritual one (without words) or a physical one (within which words create a mental picture of my existence). 
Words are a tool that I can use with which to communicate with others. And they are fine and good when used this way, but words are super powerful, and can sway us and influence our life experience. If we let the force of words of others impact us then we can become actors and actresses of life instead of just being.  We can play-the-game of life someone else envisions for us or we can create our own life for ourselves.