“Life can only take place in the present moment. If we lose the present moment, we lose life.”

Buddha

          photo by Esra Gunaydin

How often do you observe yourself and your sensations on events that happen to you everyday? Or is your average day so monotonous that you don’t notice what’s around you?

In fact, “living in the moment” is something that while we are living our life we keep our observer within always alert and active. If the observer within is sleeping, we are living our lives without understanding like sleep stupor. But if the observer is alert, we are riding a life that we are aware of each passing moment and ourselves.

So how do we observe ourselves?

In the scope of my work for developing my own awareness, I attended a meditation course called Vipassana at the beginning of December 2010. Thanks to the Vipassana meditation in noble silence for 10 days, I learned to observe myself and my sensations.

Well, in order to observe yourself, does everyone have to go to a camp like this ? Can’t we learn how to observe ourselves without going to a camp? Of course we can. Ultimately, Vipassana is just a technique. Since it is a very intense program of meditation, it is easier to learn much faster in a short period of time. However it does not mean that the only way of learning is Vipassana and that there are no other ways.

Vipassana basically tells us that to be aware of everything happening around through our sensations. So everything happening outside is known by our six senses at first. Then these are sent to the brain by electrical signals to be understood. After it is understood, they turns into emotions. Finally we give a reaction according to these feelings.

For example, we hear the outside sounds due to ears. Our ears knows these sounds. Then after it is analyzed by the brain, we understand what these sounds say. Let’s say, if the content has a negative meaning about us, we feel anger. And finally these feelings turn into verbal or physical reactions; or sometimes our reactions are suppressing our feelings within.

Here there, vipassana comes into the phase of reaction. Instead of giving automated reactions, it says us it is possible to be observer against that situation. Instead of being reactive, we can make a different choice and act consciously.

Take me as an example.. During the whole day today, i dealt with technical issues of my blog such as FTP permission problem, web site publishing problems and many more. Despite many talks with customer service of the web hosting company, the total solution couldn’t be achieved. I was so angry that, I found myself grumbling on my own. When I looked at the mail I was writing to customer service, I noticed that I used lots of incriminating statements against them. Once I was aware of what I was doing, I stopped and started observing myself. Here were my sensations; accelerated breath, beetle-browed, tense shoulders and neck. Indeed my whole body was very tense. All these sensations have already turned into anger and I have in tendency to react with incriminating statements.

I came to myself just about to give a reaction. I stopped for a moment and decided not to react. The words I was writing would have no use for the solution. On the contrary they will provoke other side and the solution process would be prolonged further. Instead I wrote a proper email, described the last situation and expressed the desired solution one more time.

Then I felt the need to release tension on my body. I got up my place, took care of my other works and prepared tea for myself. Then I turned back to writing my articles. Instead of waiting for a response in a frustrated manner, the best thing I can do was directing my energy to positive things.

As you can see when we feel emotions like anger, we react unconsciously and automatically. Supposedly we release anger by reacting. Essentially as much as we react, our anger grows and it spread over the rest of the day and even over the ones unrelated with the source of anger. And unfortunately our loved ones are affected most from this situation.

However, if we could observe our emotions and sensations without suppressing and make a conscious choice to act rather than reacting, we would reach the solutions easier by cutting the opposite reaction. And also we could direct our energies to ensure that benefits us.

The most simple technique I do to keep my observer within awake is watching my breathing. You also try it once. After observing your breath for a while by focusing on, you will notice that your mind will turn back to the present moment, no matter what is your mood or wherever is your mind. After the observer within is activated and stand still in present moment, you can observe your sensations. Then it becomes so much easier to take conscious actions instead of giving automated reactions.

If the observer within is active and alert all the time, we would always make our choices consciously. We would live aware and enjoy the every moment. It would be easier to realize what we really need and would take necessary actions instead of giving reactions. When we go to bed at night, we think of how good the day passed and fall asleep in peace.

Wouldn’t you want your day to pass like this? Come on then and let’s wake the observer within and never let it fall asleep again…

“Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. You are what observes, not what you observe.”

Buddha

Loves!

Esra

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2 Responses to Observing Yourself

  1. bob Smith says:

    I read your post with a lot of interest. I will try the non-re-activeness in my day tomorrow.
    I was surprised because your blog’s subject is very similar to mine (self awareness & self expression). It’s good to see somebody else out there doing something similar to me :)

  2. Chris Barba says:

    Love this idea of emotional reactivity. I was actually recently talking to a friend about this. He has some really amazing outlooks on life. This post pretty much mapped out our conversation. What I find difficult, but most important is not to suppress the emotion, even if it adverse. Feel the emotion, appreciate it, and let it pass, just drift away. There it goes.

    I have been trying to put this into practice the last couple weeks and although it takes practice (mediation) it really has helped. I have become aware of the distinction between feeling my emotions and the reactions I create from them.

    Wonderful post Esra.

    Cheers!

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