OBSERVING OUR THOUGHTS
The advantage of being aware of ourselves is that we can take some distance away from our thinking and our behaviour. That distance, that space is what allows us to distinguish ourselves as observers and, at the same time, as observed by ourselves.
Yes, we can think about what we think, hear our own inner voice, be self-critical with our feelings and thought processes, and actions that flow from them.
In this sense, we can be disciples of ourselves, of our inner dictation. The word discipline has the same etymological root as disciple. Being our own witnesses requires discipline, the habit of self-observation and self-criticism. It is out from this persevering exercise, thanks to this discipline that we can reach the observer, the focus of attention and awareness that makes us able to look distantly at mental processes, the wanderings, ramblings, operators that are generated within.
Watching them, progressively we are disabling them. We are no longer driven by processes operating without us noticing (unconsciously) and start being conscious of how we work, what we wish to discard and, thus, our reactions (generated unconsciously) become answers (we generate consciously).
When that occurs, our freedom of choice increases exponentially, because we are no longer the result of living seemingly asleep even awake and we have to respond as awake knowing that we have awakened from a dream.
Pablo d’Ors, in his wonderful book ‘Biography of Silence’, undoubtedly the best book I have read in recent years about the practice and experience of meditation, puts it so beautifully:
“To be conscious is to contemplate the thoughts. Consciousness is the unity with oneself. When I know, I go back home and when I lose consciousness, I walk away, who knows where. All thoughts and ideas take us away from ourselves. You are what is left when your thoughts disappear. Of course, I don’t think it’s possible to live without some kind thoughts. Because thoughts -and this should not be forgotten- never quite manage to calm down by any much meditation is practised. They always ensue, but our attachment to them is reduced and, with it, their frequency and intensity.
I would say even more: we even should not be aware of what we think or do, but just think or do. Awareness is already a gap in what we do or think. The secret is to live fully in what is at hand. So, oddly enough, to exercise this consciousness means to live peacefully without it: totally now, totally here.”*
We will continue to deepen in the art of meditation, observing the observer, to distance ourselves to be able to choose, to be in touch with the eternal present moment. Because that’s what we are: right here, right now, where it is all that really matters.
Kisses and hugs.
*[Pablo d’Ors. ‘Biography of Silence’. Biblioteca de Ensayo Siruela, 2012, pages 36 and 37.]