Physical symptoms of self-remembering

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dhess31

Guest
Since I finished ISOTM and am about half-way through "The Fourth Way" I have begun the early steps of self-remembering. And I've noticed that when I do it I seem to feel something "outside" myself, like my observation point is actually looking at my physical body by being "seperate" from it. Has anyone else noticed anything like this?

Also, I did a long period (for me) of this at work yesterday and it made me very calm and relaxed, because as Gudjieff said we often waste enegry by tensing muscles needlessly. Which I found myself doing and forced to stop. However, Ouspensky mentions that if you hit a "trance state" imagination comes in to play (or something like that) and he implies this is wrong work.

Thoughts? Is it GOOD to "feel" relaxed, or is it a sign that I did something wrong?

Don
 

Cyre2067

The Living Force
feeling relaxed is the point, or finding a state of inner peace, calmness, whatever you wanna label it. I find when im attempting self-ob (i say attempt cuz its a still a struggle for me) my eyes feel like they're widened, but arent, and i seem to have an almost child-like interest in everything around me. I have what can only be referred to as a stillness, time seems to slow down, but doesn't, and i am hyper-aware of sounds/textures/pressures/colors/conversations and my motions. Thoughts can sometimes be "caught" as well as emotional "approval" or "disapproval" of something but they both tend to make me loose the thread. I start analyzing my thoughts or emotions and thus forget myself.

I do get the distinct impression of "coming to" when i remember myself, its like i've been sitting in the back of my mind and all of a sudden im thrust forward into the space right behind my eyes. I dont get the feeling of behind outside of myself, but sometimes i use the mental image of a star with a smaller orbiting star that breaks free and orbits the larger one. Then when i forget myself this smaller star gets reabsorbed into the whole.
 
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Guest

Guest
dhess31 said:
And I've noticed that when I do it I seem to feel something "outside" myself, like my observation point is actually looking at my physical body by being "seperate" from it. Has anyone else noticed anything like this?
Actually, I think it is fairly common, although not by any means universal. I believe it happens because we first encounter self-observation as an idea, and the observing portion initially activated is more abstract. Our bodies and emotions and many thought processes are associated, at least initially, with conditioning so the observer tends to begin rather from a very abstract place.

This changes, however, as you begin to gain ground and identify with more of yourself, instead of identifying the programs as you. As your observing awareness includes more thought processes, more of your body sense and presence of feelings (actually as those dynamics align around the axis of the observing awareness), the dissociative effect should be replaced by a more here/now grounded self-identification.

It helps to focus on body presence, sensations and energies when you are self observing to anchor physically if dissociation persists.

dhess31 said:
Also, I did a long period (for me) of this at work yesterday and it made me very calm and relaxed, because as Gudjieff said we often waste enegry by tensing muscles needlessly. Which I found myself doing and forced to stop. However, Ouspensky mentions that if you hit a "trance state" imagination comes in to play (or something like that) and he implies this is wrong work.

Thoughts? Is it GOOD to "feel" relaxed, or is it a sign that I did something wrong?
I don't think relaxation needs to necessarily be identified as "trance". A trance is a state of self-forgetting, while self observation, even when you are relaxed, implies alertness. So I think physical relaxation is good, and that we should strive to be alert when relaxed (in terms of self-observation).

However, you can relax to the point of moving into a hypnagogic pre-sleep state, and this is what I think is the trance state Ouspensky was describing. Personally, if you are in a chair or acting you can easily avoid this, but when lying down, if you get in such a state you can still observe the goings on in your imagination, and probably gain insight from it. It is not the visionary experience that harms, but being enamoured by it.
 

manitoban

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Don, I am , and I stress, an absolute beginner here, but I've been thinking about your comments and I would say I can't even self observe long enough to really feel a separation from myself. But I do feel very still and calm , during the mere minutes I can do it. Things do appear to slow down, as Brent mentioned, but what happens after that I can't say as I've already snapped out of it. Hopefully, it would be the peaceful state you experienced which appears to me to be a good thing. What I do notice is that I feel very tired after even a short period of self observation.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Very interesting missives, Don. I have felt a distinct sense of separation in recent times, and the sudden realisation of muscle tension strikes a chord with me. I have also noticed this, and often after attempting some form of conscious work, be it writing, thinking, whatever. However, in my experience there is more than one "interested party" doing the observing, but this may well be a result of a conflict of interest regarding the multiple "I's" that are currently manifesting within my thought processes. Apparently it is truly rare in this world to attain total mastery of one's own physique (How ludicrous the term 'one' seems now!), but surely this is simply an indication of where we are on the learning curve. This also makes me wonder about involuntary muscle spasms, though it never serves well to be too paranoid.

Steven
 
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tendrini55

Guest
I, too am an absolute beginner in this, but the one thing I've noticed that has been an unpleasant surprise is how little control I have over my own mind. Just taking a walk about the neighborhood, I'll try and stay aware of myself and what is around me and it's nearly impossible to keep it up for very long before these little movies and dialogues start going in my mind.

I also notice that, when I remember myself, there is a tune playing in my head! Almost always. Is that weird or what.

The hardest challenge for me has been "being with myself". I have to drive a lot during the day and I used to always listen to the radio. Lately, I'm going longer periods with it off, just silence. There is much to be noticed but it is tiring in some way, trying to stay "awake"..

Susan
 

Alada

The Living Force
Perhaps more helpful to begin with is simply to observe, not to try to do or change anything, to have no notion of what "self-remembering" might or might not be, or how to do it "right", but just to "self-observe".

If one finds oneself moving/speaking/thinking/feeling in this or that way, then observe it but maybe best not to try and change it lest one looses the object of study.

If there is some characteristic that surfaces through observation quickly, then I think in trying to immediately correct it this can in fact hide something that has not been observed fully, which can then go on to manifest in other ways that take longer to re-surface later.

If one wishes to self-remember, then I think it helpful to try and perceive the extent to which one forgets. Many on the forum have made reference to how difficult it is to self-remember - and it is - a few seconds here and there. Maybe better to use those few seconds for pure observation, for while one does not know the extent of machine and its workings, how can one usefully hope to change anything?

Say "John" has a favourite tv program, a situation comedy that is the highlight of his week. One day a friend in conversation mentions how irritating the canned laughter on the show is. John had not noticed up till then, yet now he can not help but hear the canned laughter over everything, it changes his perception of the show.

John can do several things in response to this uncomfortable new experience, but if he wants to understand better how the show is put together (so as not to get engrossed by other similar shows in future), and how he reacted to it, both now and as he was before the friend had mentioned the canned laughs, then he might choose not to flip the channel just yet. ;)

From "In Search of the Miraculous":

"The chief method of self-study is self-observation. Without properly applied selfobservation a man will never understand the connection and the correlation between the various functions of his machine, will never understand how and why on each separate occasion everything in him 'happens.'

"But to learn the methods of self-observation and of right self-study requires a certain understanding of the functions and the characteristics of the human machine. Thus in observing the functions of the human machine it is necessary to understand the correct divisions of the functions observed and to be able to define them exactly and at once; and the definition must not be a verbal but an inner definition; by taste, by sensation, in the same way as we define all inner experiences.

"There are two methods of self-observation: analysis, or attempts at analysis, that is, attempts to find the answers to the questions: upon what does a certain thing depend, and why does it happen; and the second method is registering, simply 'recording' in one's mind what is observed at the moment.

"Self-observation, especially in the beginning, must on no account become analysis or attempts at analysis. Analysis will only become possible much later when a man knows all the functions of his machine and all the laws which govern it.

"In trying to analyze some phenomenon that he comes across within him, a man generally asks: 'What is this? Why does it happen in this way and not in some other way?' And he begins to seek an answer to these questions, forgetting all about further observations. Becoming more and more engrossed in these questions he completely loses the thread of self-observation and even forgets about it. Observation stops. It is clear from this that only one thing can go on; either observation or attempts at analysis.

"But even apart from this, attempts to analyze separate phenomena without a knowledge of general laws are a completely useless waste of time. Before it is possible to analyze even the most elementary phenomena, a man must accumulate a sufficient quantity of material by means of 'recording.' 'Recording,' that is, the result of a direct observation of what is taking place at a given moment, is the most important material in the work of self-study. When a certain number of 'records' have been accumulated and when, at the same time, laws to a certain extent have been studied and understood, analysis becomes possible.

[...]

In ordinary conditions man sees the world through a crooked, uneven window. And even if he realizes this, he cannot alter anything. This or that mode of perception depends upon the work of his organism as a whole. All functions are interconnected and counterbalance one another, all functions strive to keep one another in the state in which they are. Therefore when a man begins to study himself he must understand that if he discovers in himself something that he dislikes he will not be able to change it. To study is one thing, and to change is another. But study is the first step towards the possibility of change in the future. And in the beginning, to study himself he must understand that for a long time all his work will consist in study only.

"Change under ordinary conditions is impossible, because, in wanting to change something a man wants to change this one thing only. But everything in the machine is interconnected and every function is inevitably counterbalanced by some other function or by a whole series of other functions, although we are not aware of this interconnection of the various functions within ourselves. The machine is balanced in all its details at every moment of its activity. If a man observes in himself something that he dislikes and begins making efforts to alter it, he may succeed in obtaining a certain result. But together with this result he will inevitably obtain another result, which he did not in the least expect or desire and which he could not have suspected. By striving to destroy and annihilate everything that he dislikes, by making efforts to this end, he upsets the balance of the machine. The machine strives to re-establish the balance and re-establishes it by creating a new function which the man could not have foreseen. For instance, a man may observe that he is very absent-minded, that he forgets everything, loses everything, and so on. He begins to struggle with this habit and, if he is sufficiently methodical and determined, he succeeds, after a time, in attaining the desired result: he ceases to forget and to lose things. This he notices, but there is something else he does not notice, which other people notice, namely, that he has grown irritable, pedantic, fault-finding, disagreeable. Irritability has appeared as the result of his having lost his absent-mindedness. Why? It is impossible to say. Only detailed analysis of a particular man's mental qualities can show why the loss of one quality has caused the appearance of another. This does not mean that loss of absentmindedness must necessarily give rise to irritability. It is just as easy for some other characteristic to appear that has no relation to absent-mindedness at all, for instance Stinginess or envy or something else.

"So that if one is working on oneself properly, one must consider the possible supplementary changes, and take them into account beforehand. Only in this way is it possible to avoid undesirable changes, or the appearance of qualities which are utterly opposed to the aim and the direction of the work."
 
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dhess31

Guest
Hi all,
Thanks for all the input you have on this. It seems like I am doing ok for the starting phase anyway. I guess I was paranoid about doing something wrong.

Graham,
I really haven't tried to "do" anything yet, I am just observing. As an aside, I'm pretty screwed up under the definitions of the Work. I thought I was making progress, and I am, but there is a woefully long way to go.

But both Gurdjieff and Ouspensky state this is so, so I am actually excited instead of frustrated.

It is going to be a long way going though.

Don
 
K

krystalmindz

Guest
tendrini55 said:
I, too am an absolute beginner in this, but the one thing I've noticed that has been an unpleasant surprise is how little control I have over my own mind. Just taking a walk about the neighborhood, I'll try and stay aware of myself and what is around me and it's nearly impossible to keep it up for very long before these little movies and dialogues start going in my mind.

I also notice that, when I remember myself, there is a tune playing in my head! Almost always. Is that weird or what.

The hardest challenge for me has been "being with myself". I have to drive a lot during the day and I used to always listen to the radio. Lately, I'm going longer periods with it off, just silence. There is much to be noticed but it is tiring in some way, trying to stay "awake"..

Susan
Just thought I'd make a comment on the constant music that plays in your head, well, it happens to me too, lol. Sometimes a song just gets "stuck" and I literally can NOT get it out. Gets frustrating when I try to clear my mind, which makes things even harder. Oh well. Practice practice.
 
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MaskedAvatar

Guest
" Perhaps more helpful to begin with is simply to observe, not to try to do or change anything, to have no notion of what "self-remembering" might or might not be, or how to do it "right", but just to "self-observe". "

Spot on, Graham.

My ability to divide attention (not between multiples of tasks and impressions, but between the real and intergral "I" and the observation of the many facets of what I am doing, even just sitting to explore the sensation) has come along minimally. And only through the specific support of people that have been engaged in this for years.

To some people the process could appear to be quite mad.

I have just two offerings to make based on what I have read above (and we all may well know that there are no rights and no wrongs in this):

* self-observation is not a visual thing, if you are contemplating your physical body from a perspective outside the body this is something that would appear to be described by the words "self observation" but it simply isn't it;

* the "guru" hypnotist inventor composer dance instructor rug salesman writer who purported to bring some ancient and pure teachings from the east to the west did tell us "one cannot work alone". This was said at a time before microchips and the internet were contemplated.

I value the different observations that people make here. And I value that as I see them and reread Graham's post, I engage in a clear moment of self rememering, and observe from within what was going on in my knees as a result of the sensation of cold and some impatience with things that need to happen, and I "stop" immediately. What small progress.
 
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The Gardener

Guest
I have never talked about this, but I am going try. If it sounds weird, just ignore it because I am also in the first stages of self observation and the first thing I notice, is a resistance on me (the Observed = Ob). This resistance presented it's self, first, like incredulity: I thought you all were crazy.
Then I started to go bit crazy too because the resistance shifted from incredulity to rationalizations: Brent, Eso Quest, j0da, among others, had to suffer me :)
My rationalizations would gravitate around the Observation Point (Observer = Oa).
This designations are the result of my rationalizations: I gived more importance to the Observer, so I had to label it (only for my purposes) as Oa, and me, that is, my body, "down there", as Ob.
My Oa point of view was... a manufacture of my imagination. Because I adquired a posittion approximatelly 2 meters behind and above me, and from here, about 1 meter to the right. Why? Well, I have no clue.
So I kind of had my self "floating" as my "baloon" (Ob) following me the whole day. That was a gross exageration: Not even the memory of to posittion my imagination on my Ob point of view was 1 minute long. But happened, by forcing my self, several times a day and night. As I would lay on bed, I thoroughly dismissed my rationalization regarding the posittion of my body (Oa) and the bed being a obstacle for Ob: I would still try to posittion my imagination point of view at the given "coordenates": So I would had to be observing me from outside my house, on the other side of the wall or from the first floor and looking "up" to what would be the ceiling if one were to be, physically, on the first floor, of course (see? told you i went a little crazy too). I would just dismiss in this way all the obstacles, like: Ok I am on the other side of the wall, so now I am not observing my self, but the wall.
I dismissed that, saying to my self: Shut up, you ARE observing your self, ok?
Another rationalization was: Well, since I am in real applying my imagination on Oa point of view, all my observation woudl be that, imaginations, and I am folling my self: I dismissed this too, ordering to my self to shut up and keep just looking at Ob.
I got tired of my self, and I started to get upset (and this is my actual state: Does anyone gets upset too when trying to Observe?): I have been dismissing this moods that comes to me. They come with a disconfort. I wish I could say: "a disconfort due to the fact that I feel some one watching me", but no fiesta tonight, it is not because of that. I really cannot explain why, but I will try: First, to sustain the Ob point of view, and feel all the endless chain of rationalizations getting ready to start to give their opinions, this upsets me because I cannot control this (and, according with the literature, it seems I will eventually be able to control). Second: I suddenly find my self not observing me, that is, I suddenly discover I am not on my Ob point of view, and this upsets me because it is very often and my periods of observation are not only short, but weack, since I spend the most of the time trying to get rid of my self, hehe. Third: This is the difficult part, because I "feel" as if I would had a "traitor" on me (uff this is difficult to write, but I will dismiss it and continue): I start to, literally, behave as as traitor: I go nervous. I bite my hands. I cover my mouth with my hand. I start to look at left and right... As if I had done something terrible (but no, I am a very calm person). This is what upsets me the most. Maybe I have some "secret" that I do not want to reveal to my self? But I cannot localize nothing of this nature that ashames me to such a levels (I have done, of course things that ashame me, but are stupid things of the nature we all have done, so I do not think this is the cheese). My "traitor" behavour is not radical. Only I can realize of this activity.... and bingo: From where would I realize of this activity? It is not Oa. It is not Ob.
I tell you where it is: It is in "O?".
Yes: I have absolutelly no idea, but it is definetelly not Ob, as I suspected at the beguining. It is not Oa because although this point of view is still there at my disposittion, "O?" has become active when I was not using Ob.
It is so.... secret. It is almost, almost as if I would "bounce" on the inner part of my chest (???), but I am not shure of nothing. I have only been experimenting.
Skystalker said:
However, in my experience there is more than one "interested party" doing the observing, but this may well be a result of a conflict of interest regarding the multiple "I's" that are currently manifesting within my thought processes.
Yes. I can verify this. Although in my experience, the other party is the one trying to convince me with its rationalizations, explaining how and why all happens, thinking it is all explainable: Tricks of the mind, a hereditary paranoia just discovered, me indiuging my self on "accepting" some succes because I have been giving it a lot of effort, so I deserve to have a result, etc.
Skystalker, can you rekon here what you expressed when you said "conflict of interests regarding multiple I's"?
Skystalker said:
This also makes me wonder about involuntary muscle spasms, though it never serves well to be too paranoid.
I have this. I do not know if I have "observed" them, but I take this spasms as happenings that occur, not when I was relaxed, but when I was, or after I had been, trying to shut-up my self (Ob, definetelly). I took them too as being involuntary, as you say, but the fact is: They have been ocurring with greater regularity since I started this sort of a discerning of the self-observation, so I think they are, if not effects, at least allowances: As if I had "allowed" them, in some strange way.
I fell I am making all this even more confusing. I do not have it clear my self. I think that, to remeber my self, is to obtain a certainty that I am effectivelly observing my self, but it seems some understand it as to remeber to try to observe.
When I am at movies or just taking my meals, I move my leg all the time, since ever. tap-tap-tap-tap... I have "catched me" moving my leg or feet in this manner. This leaded me to other "catchings": I scratch my nose. I have the expression of someone hearing something INCREDIBLY INTERESTING. I accomodate my cloths. Etc. So for me to "remember my self" is to catch me again, because when I "catch my self" again, I go like: "Yep, there it is, I remember you", and not to discover I was not trying to observe my self in that moment. I guess it is how each understand the fundamental "movement" which starts a chain of realizations.
And I think this "movement" one has to find it through the contact with the observation effort.
And I am very paranoid of doing something wrong, too. All the time. But I dismiss that. I say to my self "yes I am so what?".
I am also pretty screwed up with the definitions of the work, so as you see, I have been making my own, the ones I then try to compare with the ideas posted here on the forum.
This is great:
MaskedAvatar said:
self-observation is not a visual thing, if you are contemplating your physical body from a perspective outside the body this is something that would appear to be described by the words "self observation" but it simply isn't it
I think I need to meditate to obtain a degree of silence. I feel like calling it a "opportunity of silence", if that makes sence.

How do you mediate? Do you guys want to talk about meditation?
 
G

Guest

Guest
Actually, I think self-observation includes thoughts, physical sensations (in the body and on its surface) and feelings, and it also includes the sense of "I" turning on itself. This actually is a form of meditation when the mind is so full of experiencing its input that there is no space to conceptualize around it.

Eventually since you are not feeding thoughts, they stop, not by being supressed but because they run out of gas. Emotions also run out of gas, but it takes longer and a lot of hidden stuff may come to the surface. At some point, however, they too turn to feelings or something between emotion and sensation. And then you have sensations, which are purely perceptual. These will actually expand so that feelings and sensations are experienced as one energy.

Observation is used because it is a non-technique. It is just emphasis on what is going on, without adding to it and without trying to take anything away. It is learning to BE PRESENT. PRESENCE is what the true "I" is all about. False "I"'s relate to the past and the future, as memories and projections/fantasies. Observation elliminates the past/future associations and brings a natural focus to the present.

One must be gentle, and not tense or force it. This is observation, not giving onself a headache. If you have trouble understanding the concept of observation, just test it in "normal" circumstances. Observe a cloud or a tree with the wind blowing through its leaves, or a bird. Anything moving but not too fast. The point is to watch and listen (in this test case) without having thoughts about it. Just watch and listen so much that there is no room for thoughts. Once you get the hang of that, you can look at yourself and observe feelings, sensations and thoughts running around.

You can just take a walk and observe how your body moves, how you breath, odors, sights, sounds and the feeling of gravity. You can observe in any circumstance. And then you can move to observe the observer without (as Masked Avatar said) getting outside of yourself. In the end it is YOU observing YOU (as well as all the little you's in YOU).
 

Justin

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
EsoQuest said:
Observe a cloud or a tree with the wind blowing through its leaves, or a bird. Anything moving but not too fast. The point is to watch and listen (in this test case) without having thoughts about it. Just watch and listen so much that there is no room for thoughts. Once you get the hang of that, you can look at yourself and observe feelings, sensations and thoughts running around.
What EsoQuest has described above works for me when I am trying to self-observe but have thoughts and feelings that seem to get in the way somehow, preventing me from focusing my attention. Observing and focusing attention on only sensations seems to diminish the energy of thoughts and emotions that sometimes get in the way of self-observation (for me anyway). Once I have focused on only sensations for a bit, it is easier to transition to observing thoughts and feelings.
 
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Guest

Guest
Sorry for returning so late to such an interesting topic, but I have been spending more and more time reading up on the political troubles of our world. This I considered most necessary. Self-ob remained a constant feature of my day to day activites, and yielded a few more insights into the workings of my little "I's". I observed a little partisanship in one little"I", particulary regarding any topics covering the subject of Zionism! This is what I found most fascinating in the early chapters of ISOTM; the concept of the servants taking control over the house while the "Master" was absent. I can most surely testify to this regarding my own "body politic", as it seemed some form of psychological coup d'etat was taking place.

This, Gardener, was what I alluded to with the reference to a conflict of interest in my previous post.

I have also noticed a few physical foibles along the way; most particularly a tendency to beard scratch, and it hardly ever itches. Quite strange, but it now only occurs in truly idle moments, or if I am in deep consideration of something, conversely. I remain however, convinced that each and every one of us to varying degrees has some form of an "observer" dedicated to viewing our development, or lack of, as the case may be. I do not think that we can generally presume anything positive or negative from this, but as experimental bio-genetic machines I think that this is a bit of control system field work. For instance, how would you react if one of your pets started to do something completely new and unprecedented? Hopefully not just one polarity is present in the observation process of us whilst we self observe, whilst also coming to terms with the wider implications this holds regarding our friends, neighbours, bosses, colleagues and "elected representatives". Petty tyrants ahoy!

In other words, in cleaning the house it is better to take it one room at a time, and also make sure it's not a dreamer who has been set the task of doing the cleaning.
 
A

aprilfool

Guest
Hi!

I won't say that I'm experienced or less than experienced, I don't really have a chart handy. ;)

My symptoms of 'self remembering' (I didn't honestly know there was a term for all of this), is that my physical head constantly feels like it's pulling towards something. My 'gut' (that's the place of self) is connecting with it, and it allows me to be the observer in this world rather than the participant. Not always, but I would say at least 30% of the day. At night I have to work to NOT be the observer otherwise my body falls asleep, but my "ME" takes my conscience with it. Which wears me out. Finding self is rather exhausting and it's highly uncomfortable for the gray matter and for the physical and mental bodies as well. It's worse when I hit a new awareness, it's hard to adjust.

It is very uncomfortable around other people. Mostly because I know pretty much their reactions and what they really think about me, and other useless information.

I am working on absolute self awareness. Wish me luck. ;)

Ok well, this isn't bad for a first post I guess.
 
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