Self-Observation versus Self-Watching

"A process that fundamentally can't be described and therefore understood,
but which must be comprehended!"

A Beezone study

Adi Da Samraj (Bubba Free John) 1974 and 1975

 

"The process of Self-Observation takes place in relationship to the teaching, the Guru in sadhana. Tendencies (the machine of mind and body) are brought face to face with the Argument and the Freedom of the Guru. Face to face, confounded in Satsang, The liberating Crisis of Understanding."
Bubba Free John (Adi Da Samraj, 1975)

Self- observation must become summary. It must become fundamental to the whole of your life and therefore your sadhana, then it can become the principle of your conscious approach to your life from moment to moment. Self-watching or viewing some fragment of your life can't, it's not significant enough, is not central enough. Something comes up in the next moment and you haven't accounted for that. So you've got to see it again. Self-observation is central, summary.

This seminar today is intended to be a lesson relative to self-observation. We could get into all kinds of complicated descriptions about things, but what this seminar should serve in you, is this lesson about self-watching and how it differs from self-observation.

You will tend to identify the process of Understanding in the form of self-observation with what is commonly the game of self-watching, with analyzing yourself, with collecting information about yourself, and so forth. Looking for insights into your behaviors, thought patterns and feelings. These old patterns that are continually arising. These kinds of things will take place in any case because they are quite normal to everyday living. They are conventional aspects of your life and if your are a practitioner, your sadhana. Your continued error is that you tend to identify self-watching with self-observation, with the affair of Understanding. So this seminar today is to serve as a lesson relative to that particular tendency.

In your stage of sadhana, as it is maturing to the point of enquiry you must clearly understand the difference between self-watching and self-observation. When you see yourself doing something, which is commonly self-watching, collecting information and having insight based upon information, analyzed insights and so forth, when you are doing that, that is not self-observation. If that can become very clear to you then this seminar has served its purpose. The purpose of this seminar is not to go on and describe in endless elaborated detail what self-observation is and what a moment of self-observation is. That would become poetic or become some concept you would apply to yourself and make a method. Sadhana is a practical affair. You must resort again to the practical form of your sadhana and lessons will appear. That is the nature of sadhana.

"You are like a mirror to your own event"

You must cease to identify the whole game of self-watching with Understanding. Today we've just approached it from many different directions to help make that differentiation, help you make that distinction. We shouldn't end this discussion tonight until it is clear to you, apparent and simply obvious to you that self-watching is not the conscious process. If it isn't clear to you on the basis of everything that you've gone through today, then you should ask some questions about that. If it's clear to you, then we don’t have to go ever it.

The argument of the Guru suddenly makes a point of some kind without your having tried to get it on as a moment of insight. Well, that is the self-observation that I am talking about. It takes place not when you are strategically presenting yourself as a witness to watch yourself, but in moments when you are free of that exercise, in which you are like a mirror to your own event, and suddenly the process of your life shows itself to you. You reflect it. You simply reflect it. You no longer are interfering with the process. It simply shows itself in consciousness and there is comprehension, instant insight. This is the true quality of the self-observation that I am talking about, not the method of analyzing experiences. Self-observation is absolutely a key principle in the affair of understanding.

July 26, 1975 - Bubba Free John (Adi Da Samraj) - Dissolution of Vital Shock

 

Notes:

Self-Observation
Self-Watching

Insight whereby what you might notice in yourself is undone.

A solution in which you become dull, self-concerned, and problematic about what you notice.

Not a method of practice

A method of intentional technique of practice.

Occurs when you are not present as a self, watching.

Generated from abstracted "witness" point of view.

Occurs in natural, functional moments of self-forgetting when you are living the discipline in Satsang.

Occurs when you stand back, see yourself, and become disgusted or decide to do something.

Seated in Consciousness

Seated in the brain-mind

Yields instant comprehension of your activity of avoidance.

Yields data, information about yourself, and insight based on analyzing information.

Radical insight into self and the avoidance of relationship.

Self Analysis

See the self and the contraction and the "great space in which contraction occurs." You realize or feel what is prior to contraction.

See the self and feel contraction

Become responsible for self contraction.

Remain irresponsible for self contraction.

Self-observation in the manner I use the term can not be done strategically, methodically from a philosophical point of view

The only reason why one would observe one's self, watch one's self, is by reaction to the sense of dilemma, by reaction to the felt problem.

Self-observation is absolutely a key principle in the affair of understanding, but it is not self-watching.

assume the, point of view of the mind, the conscious mind, the mental, mental-mind, and self-watching life.

It may not be initiated as a kind of solution or motivated by the usual anxieties that one has in the midst of problems, in the midst of this sense of dilemma.

All human beings, unless they are vegetables, idiots, engage in this strategy consistently, constantly in every moment of life

Self-observation is something you may do at random and within such a process you suddenly see something, comprehend something

We may feel that that strategy is justified and do it professionally as a technique in our daily life as a kind of meditation

It takes place not when you are strategically presenting yourself as a witness to watch yourself, but in moments when you are free of that exercise, in which you are like a mirror to your own event, and suddenly the process of your life shows itself to you. You reflect it.

The vital also has a mind, a brain of a kind, in the solar plexus. And so when we take on the analytical strategy of watching, self-watching, we opt for the point of view of the thinking brain in the skull and watch all of the manifestations that are expressed unconsciously and subconsciously through the vital brain in the solar plexus.

You no longer are interfering with the process. It simply shows itself in consciousness and there is comprehension, instant insight.

All of the strategies assumed from that kind of solid point of view of the mind in itself are limiting.

occurs spontaneously as a random event.

They are ways of controlling the vital from the point of view of the thinking mind. They don't work then. They're just a kind of solution.

It occurs as insight, the undoing of solid conditions through the sudden appearance of consciousness, free consciousness, free life.

It's possible by resting in the thinking brain or in that point of view to feel somehow liberated from vital life, and that's why the tendency toward the solid position is very strong in some people because it gives them the sense of being free of the implications, at any rate, of vital shock and of the whole threatening play of vitality.

watch all of the manifestations that are expressed unconsciously and subconsciously through the vital brain in the solar plexus.

They are able to step out of it entirely into this super-analytical position in which they are basically unaffected, in which they can willfully stand on top of the vital.

we suddenly comprehend something about the nature of that total play. And when that comprehension occurs, we are, at least for the moment, seated in the dimension of consciousness itself, not in the seat of some function, some brain, some strategic position.

it has a conventional value. It can be of use in the scheme of sadhana. It's just that self-observation relates to this process of understanding. Self-watching is not, self-watching or just any kind of way of gathering data useful in conventional terms is useful enough at the conventional level of sadhana.

real self-observation then doesn't occur in the thinking mind.

you will watch yourself all the time. There are that specific things you may notice about yourself that are completely useful, that have nothing whatever to do with your illumined consciousness.

It occurs when the thinking mind is relaxed, naturally involved in functioning, being a reflector rather than an aggressor, a presence, a self. On those occasions we grasp the nature of the entire play that is our humanity. And that is self-observation.

Observation of some fragment can't, is not significant enough, is not central enough

On such occasions we're not fixed in the thinking mind or in the vital mind, not in vital shock or in the strategy of thought, but in that prior conscious dimension that fundamentally can't be described.

You will tend to identify the process of understanding in the form of self-observation with this game of self-watching

When we intuitively fall into that prior kind of consciousness, then we are seated in that...in another dimension entirely, and from that point of view the whole play of our humanity, our mentality, our vitality, the whole affair, is controllable, knowable, becomes usable, changeable. From that point of view we can make the whole affair of life, mental and vital, a sacrificial and creative process that doesn't bind.

Any moment of self-observation can't last because something else arises. You must be present in the next moment. So it's only when this whole affair of self-observation and insight becomes summary, conclusive, total comprehension of fundamentally what you are as an activity. It's only then that it can appear as a real responsibility in consciousness. But it appears at random. You don't forever from that moment understand. You must enquire.

the process of understanding, of real insight, real self-observation, the vital is released, and also the strategy of the mind, the thinking mind, is released.

But self-observation you can't initiate. Anything that is initiated that looks like self-observation is self-watching.

Self-observation is not a process of one's conventional life. Self-observation is a specific process valued from the point of view of understanding.

Self-observation is not a matter of responsibility. It is a matter of conventional responsibility: you must fulfill the conditions and so forth in Satsang. But you cannot be responsible for this process of self observation itself. You can for self-watching. You can decide to do that and be responsible for doing it

self observation must become summary. It must become fundamental to the whole of your life

whole process...is to make it clear a lesson. self watching is not understanding. But that is what you are up to. And that in itself must be understood, that affair of self-watching

purpose of study is not to go on and describe in endless ...detail what self-observation is ...you must resort to the practical form of your sadhana, and lessons must appear...eliminate aspects from of your conventional life, from the picture you have of this real understanding.

self-observation in its real sense is of that nature. You not only get information about yourself, you comprehend that area of drama in your life and are fundamentally free of it on the basis of that observation, on the basis of that insight. And these moments of observation, each time they appear, have a more summary form each time they appear. You still see yourself, you're still comprehending yourself.

Self Observation, Responsibility, Consciousness and the Enquiry..this is the first form of real responsibility. Self Observation has brought you to the point of Enquiry and responsibility

Self-Observation does not have any content that we may identify with it.

forgetting of the self-definition, release of it. And that occurs whenever there is real insight, real enquiry...such a moment consciousness falls into its natural position and releases ego, mind, and desire.

Self-Observation is simply availability to the conscious knowing, conscious insight into the situation that ordinarily binds us.

Observation or insight, which is fundamentally the same thing, lasts only when it is perfect, because if it is perfect it includes all other possible things that may be observed, and so it goes on and on and on

Self-Observation is in relation to condional forms. Karma is either undone or taken away for the time being, one or the other.

Any moment of self-observation can't last because something else arises. You must be present in the next moment. So it's only when this whole affair of self-observation and insight becomes summary, conclusive, total comprehension of fundamentally what you are as an activity. It's only then that it can appear as a real responsibility in consciousness. But it appears at random. You don't forever from that moment understand. You must enquire.

For Self-Observation to occur there is just contact with that fundamental condition that preceded the whole dilemma of compulsions and it all falls away. It disappears. The complusion passes. This understanding always involves responsibility in Consciousness.

But self-observation you can't initiate. Anything that is initiated that looks like self-observation is self-watching.

Responsibility in Consciousness is knowledge, real comprehension. It is a siddhi. A real power that you bring to life. Which in ables you to be happy, free, the principle of happiness, Only Happy.

Self-observation is essentially a random and passive moment in which no self is presented in you fulfilling a natural condition of life in Satsang. And the whole affair of this self-observation ultimately becomes summary and conclusive, it becomes comprehension. Then you may enquire.

Karmas moves quicky. Some are fulfilled, some pass, some are just viewed. Life continues to happen, it's breathed and there is no dilemma.

self-observation in its real sense is of that nature. You not only get information about yourself, you comprehend that area of drama in your life and are fundamentally free of it on the basis of that observation, on the basis of that insight. And these moments of observation, each time they appear, have a more summary form each time they appear. You still see yourself, you're still comprehending yourself.

A crisis is required. It is a frustration of an intention that you have.

The content is not what is this significant. it's the comprehension that's significant, in the sense of release from that particular binding process. It becomes more and more summary and ultimately becomes a perfect tacit, total comprehension of yourself as an activity and after that moment you may enquire. Then you are obliged to be responsible, take a responsible position relative to the conscious process.

The conditions of sadhana provide the circumstance for the impulses of karmic patterns to be frustrated, seen and utltimately transcended, in a summary insight based on a tacit obersation of one's entire life-pattern.

The self-presentation that is always there in the strategy of self-watching is relaxed.

Self-Observation is of a completely different order than self-watching.

Self-watching see's the self-contraction but does not transcend it.

Self-Observation is seeing the self-contraction, observing it in it's total pattern from the 'place' prior, to what precedes it. You see that you are 'doing' it from the place prior. It is an event in consciousness. Which then comes responsibility.

You see, you know, through insight that you are causing your own withdrawal in the midst of Free and Open Space - Consciousness is prior.

Enquiry is awakened in Self-Observation. Enquiry is the 'Return' to Consciousness, your prior Condition.

Responsibility becomes 'active' through the Siddhi that is consciousness, prior to contraction.

Each moment of enquiry is a return to the natural realization in consciousness in which there is no contraction mediated.

 

DEVOTEE: Im not sure what the difference is between self-observation and self-watching

BUBBA: The difference becomes clear if you do sadhana. Self-watching, or conventional self-observation, is itself a technique, a method. It is not necessarily one that you adopt, that you devote time to, like reciting a mantra. It is something that some people do as that kind of technique, but it is more commonly the kind of method that is a natural strategy, a common strategy, a part of the accepted notion of sanity. Everybody is engaged in this practice of self-watching to one or another degree. Thus, you find yourself at random moments all day long looking at yourself, thinking about it all. But self-observation, real self-observation, is not something done methodically as a technique

DEVOTEE: It just happens?

BUBBA: In a sense you could say it just happens. It is not an activity of the ego, of your deciding to analyze yourself. This sadhana is not generated by my prescribing self-observation to you. Rather, it is generated on the basis of a consideration of the Teaching, a natural turning to the Guru, accepting his conditions with understanding, and fulfilling these conditions from hour to hour, always turning into the form of these conditions, making them the form of ones relationship to the Guru. This is sacrifice in its natural form. In the midst of that life there are real moments of insight from time to time. And when such insight appears, it is not in the form, "Oh, shucks! Will you look at that!" That kind of information comes from self-watching. When you find yourself out, that is self-watching. That is data. That is images that you capture about yourself. All that analysis is a natural product of self-watching

But the natural product or expression of real self-observation is radical insight. Where there is such insight, all the things that you feel bad about on the basis of your self-analysis or self-watching are undone. In a moment of real insight, there is no obstruction, there is no bad guy. The principle of the ego is not present in the moment of real self-observation, but it is always there in the moment of self-watching

Understand that everyone engages in self-watching. You are not prohibited from self-watching. However, you are not asked to self-watch. You will simply and randomly notice yourself self-watching, and you will begin to understand this strategy in yourself. You will see what it represents, why it is there. You will see what it really is. What is self-watching? It is self-meditation. What is that? It is contraction. You will really see it. You will know it to be that. And in those moments, that is insight. That is self-observation, that is understanding.

Essentially, the conditions are preventions of dramatization. They are simple, appropriate, natural, life-supporting, and all of that, and from a certain point of view they are good, harmonious, sattwic things to do. But that is not their essential function. They are not true in themselves. Their essential function in the way of Understanding is to prevent the dramatization that you are always enacting via your functions. When, in some functional area, you are prevented from dramatization, you automatically observe yourself. Dramatization prevents self-observation because it gives you self-enactment through energies of various kinds and provides you with the consolation of unconsciousness. The conditions are all ways of frustrating the intention to dramatize and be unconscious. Therefore, self-observation arises. It appears as cognition at the plane of the mind, and thats how you know youve observed yourself. But actually the root of self-observation is the Heart of Consciousness itself. That is why this self-observation is tantamount to Self-knowledge, knowledge of Brahman, knowledge of the Heart or Real-God ultimately.

Thus, it should be clear that self-observation is essentially an ecstatic instant of absorption in our natural, Divine Condition, which is Satsang or Divine Communion. This is not anything like our usual notion of what ecstasy is. Commonly, ecstasy is thought of as a great rush of energy, or even absorption in energy or visionary light to the point of loss of body-consciousness. Real ecstasy, however, is this very understanding. It involves no loss of consciousness, but, on the contrary, restoration to the true position of Consciousness, which is always already ecstatic relative to the plane of life events. And that is the kind of free, spacious, clear enjoyment that occurs in a moment of real self-observation.

No Remedy - Introduction
NO REMEDY - Part Three: The Complications of Sadhana


"...An awakening that comes in the summary of self-observation, not in some moment of seeing some thing about yourself. When you've seen the totality of it and see what the totality is, what it is, not what one portion of it is, when you see that it is self-contraction, when it is thoroughly understood in all of its opposites as being just the self-contraction and that is your own action, something that you are adding to reality in every moment, then bondage to that script is released and you awaken to that in which all of this has been arising and which it is happening, that to which all that is being added. That is Hearing. Hearing is a summary observation not the witnessing of some action."
Beyond the Koan


Other talks and writings

Self Observation versus Self-Watching

No Remedy - Introduction
NO REMEDY - Part Three: The Complications of Sadhana


"I saw that men could easily be turned to self-observation. And the process of observation could easily be maintained by proper guidance or "hearing." And that process of observing gradually saw the emergence of fundamental insight. Men could understand the radical nature of seeking, the adventure of Narcissus, the whole complex life of the avoidance of relationship. And when understanding arose men could easily apply understanding to moment to moment experience. Then understanding became the approach to life rather than all the automatic, confused activities of seeking, the drama of Narcissus. In that case, understanding became enquiry in the form of understanding itself: "Avoiding relationship?" And the abiding in relationship with the use of enquiry became the fundamental activity of conscious life moment to moment or in special periods of enquiry which might be called "meditation."
The Knee of Listening - Chapter 19


"I have spent innumerable hours on the Beezone site and I found it to be an invaluable and nearly essential resource for perusal of the most comprehensive array of spiritually varied topics and discussions to be found anywhere on the Internet. This is often times where the curious starts their process."
Beezone visitor



Alphabetically list of pages on Beezone

 

 


 
Beezone a nonprofit (501(c)3 educational foundation All copyright materials are used under authority of the
Fair Use statute and United State Code, Title

Facebook



Beezone Disclaimer

All who study a subject having to do with personal understanding and development or enter onto a 'path' of spiritual or psychological practice(s) should remember they are responding to some form of a 'call' or 'need'. They had best understand they themselves, and NO ONE ELSE, under whatever AUTHORITY or POWER, are responsible for themselves and the decisions they make. Such persons ALONE, are responsible for their thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors and the impact they may have for themselves, on others and the environment in which they exist. In the end, as in the beginning, and so in the middle, there is Only One Responsibility.

.