Poll: Can you self-observe 100% of the time?


FOTCM Member
Tigersoap said:
So this is near impossible to make progress without a group ?
It is not impossible. Some people climbed the mountain without a guide and reached the top, others found a guide and never reached the top of the mountain.

Particularly in the beginning, a master is not compulsory : general teachings, writings, exercises can help a lot.

Later on you might feel this need to have a guide. Usually it takes a while between the appearance of this need and the appearance of the master. Maybe because patience is an essential quality for walking the path.

You probably know this phrase : the master appears when the student is ready. I think it's very true though for years I considered it as cruel, unfair and wrong.

The issue is that often we consider ourselves as ready but we are not really ready. It is very human to have a distorded vision of who we are.

And if we are not ready how could we identifiy our master(s). Some people say everything is guru, everything is teaching. But are we able to see the world this way ?

You seem to be on the way. This is a difficult but beautiful one. Often you think you're lost, it's hopeless, useless, you don't progress. And then when you expect it the least a little spark touches you and you find again hope, faith, motivation.

Maybe one day when you expect it the least, in the domain you expect it the least and in the person you expect it the least you will find a master / sensei / guru / nagual.

In this website (and its' not the only one) you will find a lot of information, you will have the opportunity to interact with a lot of people.

Keep on walking the path, it is a wonderful one.


The Force is Strong With This One
Ryan said:
Gillian said:
From my experience the practice of self-observation can sometimes become a case of observing that we are on the merry go round and it just keeps going around and around.
Ryan:What do you mean by this?

Gillian: I guess thinking about it now any self-observation eventually makes it's way to deeper levels - but I do find that there can be a trained pattern of self-observation which is literally observing things in a which we believe to be objective and aware - which in itself can be a biased perception(and in my experience often is).

Gillian said:
We can be aware of our sensations and reactions to sensations but it is easy to just follow this cycle without really penetrating or moving past this cycle of reaction.
Ryan:Why do we need to move past it? What do you define as moving past it?

Gillian: It's simply something that I've been wanting to work on myself. I define moving past this "point" where there is a split between sensation and reaction. I believe that when I'm experiencing a sensation without reaction - then I am really observing. When I am reacting this reaction is part of the observer. Kind of like a filter but when I experience the sensation in what seems to be it's "pure" state there is no reaction. My mind is doing nothing except observing.

Gillian said:
For me certain systems seem to work better than others - observing thoughts is an endless task.
Ryan:How are these two statements related?

Gillian: I mean that observing the sensations and emotions on the physical/body level is different and has different results from observing thought IMO.

Gillian said:
Observing sensations gets me to a point where I am able to split between my usual reaction of a sensation and the sensation itself. An example of this is where I could feel pain fully and in detail yet not be suffering - this seems to indicate to me that the two are separate - pain being a sensation and perhaps suffering is just my mental reaction to it. Most of the time the two are so interlinked that they just seem like one.
In my experience, this is what Gurdjieff and Mouravieff mean by "identification", and it applies not just to physical sensations, but emotions, thoughts and ideas as well.

Gillian: I think so too. This is what I was referring to in the first part of my post. In my experience before getting to this "split" the observer is not pure self observation it still has filters of reaction and mind - as such we experience thought, sensation, emotion etc as one - but it is actually two - sensation and reaction. This is why many people would simply have the opinion that pain is suffering. Or grief is suffering. When we learn to self observe to the point where there is no reaction just pure observation there is no suffering - only the sensation, thought etc.

Gillian said:
The implications of this type practice on emotional reactions and impulse is pretty big but I've found that implementing it 100% of the time is a task in it self even at a fairly shallow level of awareness. Penetrating to deep levels of body and subconscious awareness is challenging in itself without the added distractions of daily life.
Ryan:Yes, it is very difficult to this 100% of the time. But IMO if we start making goals like "self-observation 100% of the time", we lose sight of the method of self-observation itself and start mistaking other mental and emotional attitudes for "self-observation". The Fourth Way emphasises quality over quantity. It is possible that 5 minutes a day of real, conscious efforts at self-observation make have greater results than a full day of pretend "self-observation". Separating the Real from the illusion should be a motivating attitude. At least, this is how I currently see it.

Gillian: Personally I find I get results from daily practice as well as slipping in and out of self-observation through out the day.

Gillian said:
I've been exploring the area of rigidity in self-observation. I certainly have experienced attachment to self-observation in the past(and now) and this in itself causes rigidity to a point.
What exactly do you mean by "attachment" to self-observation? And what do you mean by "rigidity"? I don't understand.

Gillian: I mean where does the desire to self-observe come from in us? Why does it want to self-observe and/or why does it want the results of self observation? Isn't desire what makes us do anything? Now we can turn self-observation on to this desire - but then what keeps us doing it at all? Sure we may have an intellectual idea or conept that it is right for us - but what is it that inspires or moves us to do what is right for us? Personally I don't have a problem with this type of desire at the moment - who knows may be time, practice and self-observation will change that.

What I mean by rigidity is where desire or motivation to do something can become so strong that we feel that we could not let it go. Of course there is a balance in this type of practice because self-observation in itself seems to dissolve rigidity - but there are layers and layers of self - under the "detached" observer I find there is often a very attached desire - I just haven't gotten there yet. I believe that In time the observer can encompass all levels of the self - but I haven't actually experienced that yet.

Gillian said:
Simply remaining aware of the the rigidity(or anything else) is fine - but I believe in order to move past the point where certain emotional states control us we need to find ways to move deeper with self-observation. Otherwise it is simply like just looking at the situation and seeing it - but not being free from it.
Ryan:I think that if you are implying an emotional addiction to self-observation, then what you are doing is not real self-observation. Self-observation is not an activity that generates pleasure. Indeed, it can generate a lot of suffering when one sees how badly they have been deluding themselves.

Gillian: I agree that it is emotional addiction - but I believe that at our root all human beings are emotional addicts. I mean what are the reasons that we do what we do? Whether ethical, moral, intellectual or whatever - what drives a person to do things that are "right for them?" IMO experience most people are addicts with no idea that they are. The topic of real self-observation is far deeper than would be first thought. What we may think is pure obervation is still filters of perception, ego and cellular belief. I mean it's one thing to say "yes I am doing real self-observation" it is another to do so under great emotional stress or intense physical pain. This is when we start seeing the layers in place. If we have an aversion to pain then this is a reaction and so it indicates that we are not in a "pure" self observant state. Of course we can then observe the aversion, the emotion etc - but this is a broader state of observation - not necessarily a deeper one, and certainly not at the level where we have separated sensation from reaction.

As long as there is a reaction attached to a sensation, thought etc - I don't believe that it is what you are referring to as "real" self observation. But on that matter I believe that is only by practicing this so called "unreal" observation or observation with filters of perception etc that we can eventually develop or remember the state of pure observation. We gradually move through the layers of filter.

I have to disagree that self-observation can not generate pleasure. It depends on what you are observing. I have had states of self -observation where my whole body seems to dissolve into atoms. I believe that this is simply a point where I have observed my basic energetic structure. It feels very pleasurable. Now on the one hand I would not argue that this is "pure" self observation because I am aware that I am reacting with craving. My mind really wants more of this. Eventually I also get to the point where I can split the reaction of craving from this sensation. I just feel the feeling for what it is. It is neither "pleasurable" or "painful." But I could also say that on a deeper level this state of peace where I neither seek pleasure, nor am adverse to pain is very pleasurable. It's a peace that we don't often have in a world where we allow our emotions to control us like a puppet.

I believe that the level where you describe yourself suffering because you've seen how "badly" you've been deluding yourself is just an stage of self-observation. What is it that "feels badly?" Thoughts? Emotions? This "feeling" badly is also just a level where you are not observing objectively - your body releases a certain biochemical reaction and you react to it with certain thoughts and feelings. When you deepen self observation of this feeling then it ceases to "feel bad". Your observer becomes pure and so the sensation of "bad" becomes pure.

In my experience self-observation is not about feeling bad or necessarily good - it is about honesty and truth. Ultimately though why do we practice self-observation at all? Thought and emotion aren't so separate IMO. What is it that drives us? Aren't we all looking to feel good no matter what avenue we choose to find it in?

Gillian said:
To go deeper there needs to be a creative and imaginative awareness that is sensitive for "something" - not so much that we are no longer receptive - but just so that we do not simply rotate on our trained pattern of awareness and observation.
Ryan:Observation cannot become a "trained pattern". What happens instead, is that we stop observing and go back to sleep while thinking that we are observing. OSIT.

Just a few ideas to consider.
Gillian: As I said earlier I believe that all observation can and will eventually move deeper. This goes even for people who do not actively practice. I believe that there will always be a certain level of observation for any person who is alive yet we can expand our level of this through conscious practice.

By "trained pattern" I mean getting used to observing things is a certain way, believing that we are being objective - that this is what self-observation should be - we can cease to look and see if there is a more objective level or a purer level of observation. We can get "stuck" in observing pain as suffering etc and not really move past it to the point where we observe it without reaction - which is IMO pure observation. That is a pattern. Now I don't actually think that we can truly get "stuck" there always seems IMO to be movement - but there are ways and there are ways. I believe that "remembering" has as much to do with imagination and "feeling" for that next "gap" or "split" as anything else. Failure to look or just falling into patterns of awareness will just overlook that split and we stay on the same level of observation.

This is just my experience hope you get something out of it.


The Force is Strong With This One
The Gardener said:
Gillian said:
To go deeper there needs to be a creative and imaginative awareness that is sensitive for "something" - not so much that we are no longer receptive - but just so that we do not simply rotate on our trained pattern of awareness and observation.
Would you say this "something would be to get to see? This, it seems to me, would come to breack the circle you describe, with the which I agree: I think you are describing the circuit of the self. Is this not what is to get to be observed, that is, recognized?
And, is it not this excerzise, the self-observation, a path to reach such a recognition?
I'm fairly certain that we're on the same page here Gardener. I think that it is fairly easy to get trapped in a cycle of believing that we are observing objectively - but I see observation like shining a torch - we highlight what we are used to highlighting. Like a previous poster mentioned and I think that many people probably go through it is observing what we might perceive as "negative" qualities. Then we feel bad about ourselves - and we think that this is self-observation. And it is - but there are levels of self - observation. After all what is the part of us that feels bad? That is still an "I" a part that believes that these "negative" qualities are bad. So in fact we've probably only moved 1 or 2 levels into observation. We're still at a level where our attachment(or belief) to "bad" sensations or "good" sensations has control over us. From my experience a purer level of observation is when we can penetrate to a level where we are intimately in touch with the sensation but have no reaction to it. I won't say it is the purest level because perhaps we can also go beyond this - I have not yet though. In any case the level where we do not react seems to me to be one where we just feel what is.


Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Tigersoap said:
Joining the QFG might be the good option then ?
Yes, however do not place too much focus on joining QFG. I am not referring to Tigersoap here, but I have noticed several SOTT forum members who have become preoccupied with applying for QFG membership, who consider the SOTT forum to be little more than a QFG recruiting ground. They seem to participate in this forum simply to meet the QFG application requirements, which is missing the point entirely. It is not about the end result, whether it be becoming a QFG member or otherwise, it is about the journey and the learning that comes with it. If you want to join QFG, that's great, but try not to lose sight of what you're really trying to accomplish here. The SOTT forum is a group made up (mostly) of sincere seekers also. Don't forget that! :)
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