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You might have a range of goals in mind when setting out to observe yourself. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to go about it. Get in touch with your authentic self through meditation and self-reflection. Keep a journal to learn more about how you interact with the world and how those interactions shape who you are. Learn a new ability or improve your job performance by observing yourself on video. Whether you’re practicing meditation, keeping a journal, or watching video recordings, remember to focus on progress. If you observe something you want to change, think about how you can improve instead of just focusing on a flaw.
Method 1 - Becoming Self Aware
SELFOBSE.06 - Reflect on the differences between your ideal self and actual self. Think about how you represent yourself to others, especially as you consider the attributes that make you proud and those you’d like to change.
SELFOBSE.07 - Keep a journal to track your journey of self-awareness. Psychologists agree that self-awareness is a dynamic, changing process. We shift between degrees of self-awareness, self-deception, and everything in between.  Try keeping a daily journal and write a daily self-reflection to keep a record of your journey.
Method 2 - Observing Yourself Through Meditation
SELFOBSE.09 - Ponder your blind spots. As you put yourself in a meditative state, try to open your mind to objectively consider your blind spots. Visualize your actions and thoughts as if you were a detached observer. Open yourself to self truths you might be keeping yourself from discovering.
SELFOBSE.10 - Become your own inner witness. Focus on an individual thought, emotion, or action. Try letting your mind wander, and as your mind generates random thoughts, follow them rather than react to them. Observe your own stream of consciousness as if you were an outsider looking within your mind, then guide yourself back to your silent meditation.
SELFOBSE.11 - Consider using a guided meditation app. You might think you need to switch off your mobile device in order to meditate. However, there are several excellent mobile meditation apps available for both Android and iOS that can help guide you to a peaceful, reflective state.
Method 3 - Observing Yourself in Action
SELFOBSE.13 - Record yourself doing your job. In addition to learning new activities, you can use self observation to improve your job performance. For example, it's been shown that observing video of themselves at work had positive effects on teachers' professional development.
SELFOBSE.14 - Focus on progress when practicing self observation. Successes and failures are central to self observation, whether you’re practicing meditation, keeping a journal, or recording yourself giving a presentation. Cognitive behaviorists and psychologists agree that focusing on accomplishments when observing or monitoring yourself generates more accomplishments.
Self Will and Self Observation
What do you notice that has been going on in there for all these years?
What have you sorted out and taken radical responsibility for thus far?
Self-will is the thing that actually decides what you think, feel, do, and say, or decides not to do or say.
What is funny about this is that self-will can relocate itself from one Point Of Origin to a completely different Point Of Origin in your psychological interface construct, your Box.
Your Point Of Origin dictates what you are, for this moment, taking to be true, real, solid, important, and actual. Each Point Of Origin is the context for your orientation towards yourself and the circumstances around you.
What this means is that from one second to the next, a human being can say, feel, think, or do completely contradictory things depending on the Point Of Origin you stand in.
Perhaps you have observed sudden crazy perspective jumps or shifts in others?
Guess who else does makes these jumps and does not even know you are doing it?
Persistent Self Observation gradually builds a data-bank in you of neutral clues that help you to experientially distinguish and classify your various contradictory behavior patterns.
The practice at first is to build your data-bank of Self Observations. It does not matter that your Self Observations might completely exclude or contradict each other. You are not one. You are many. You are a Zoo.
After a while start looking into each databank file. This is the equivalent of peering into one of the compounds or cages in your Zoo. Eventually, as your neutral multi-dimensional descriptions accrue, you will be able to peer into a cage and give that character, or creature, a name ('creature' is the term Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly applied to the monster Dr. Frankenstein brought to life in his laboratory, as you have brought each of your Zoo characters to life...). Soon each of the inhabitants of your inner Zoo will have a distinct and appropriate name that matches its dietary preferences, it reaction patterns, or its unconscious motivations.
Then apply Self Inquiry. This is when the show gets more interesting. This is when your decision about which Point Of Origin you will stand in shifts from being unconscious to being conscious.
Independent Self Inquiry - or accompanied Self Inquiry (such as an emotional healing chairwork process during a Possibility Coaching session or a Possibility Lab) - allows you to follow each Self Will impulse from each of your creatures back to its source to find out what is really going on.
In order to track impulses to their source, the time between the impulse and your actions needs to be slowed down very much so that you can observe the connection. It does not take much to learn how to slow reactions down enough to track them. This is an especially valuable skill that goes along with Phase 1 of Feelings Work: learning how to feel.
The source of each of your various Points Of Origin is an important discovery and can completely change your relationship to yourself, to the world of others, and to what is possible for you.
For example, an entire set of behaviors - an entire personality character of one of the creatures in your Zoo, your Box - can originate in:
Each source point that you discover gives you the key (the weapon, the alchemical catalyst, the expanded perspective...) to heal the wound... to kill off (through bringing the structure into a transformational Phoenix Process) the neurotic Point Of Origin Place (...POOP).
In the Gurdjieff practices, the intention is to eventually experience a 'single I' as in a single identity.
In a small NOW, small HERE, and a small YOU, in the Adult Ego State, where you have your Center, Grounding Cord, and Bubble,
The word 'Ego' includes your entire Box structure with its collection of zoo of creatures, each with their unique purpose, food requirements, and survival strategies.
An 'Ego State' (such as Parent, Child, Gremlin, Adult, Archetypal, or Demon Ego State) would indicate one category of possible creature identities.
If I am observing myself, who is observing? And what is the 'self' being observed?
Who knows who is observing?
In other words, who or what observes the observer?
And what then? How is this going to help me?
SELFOBSE.01 - Do Not Change Anything.
Through asking yourself questions and through requesting feedback from your friends, you may get views of yourself that don’t match your long-held or most preferred self-image. The discrepancy between the way you imagine yourself to be and the way you are perceived by others could be vast. The shock of realizing this may be equally disconcerting, and may propel you toward wanting to take immediate actions to rectify the situation.
The invitation is to try not to change anything. Don’t even try to change your knee-jerk reactions about making the pain go away. Just observe the whole thing.
Trying not to move is like playing the game of Freeze! If you don’t previously agree to freeze when the captain of the game shouts “Freeze!”, then your first reaction to hearing them yell “Freeze!” is to move!
In this game of self-observation, hold the intention that no matter what you observe during this observation period, you won’t do anything about it.
Not doing anything can be an extremely difficult thing to do. Don’t even carry the question around about what you could do. It is far too early for trying to make changes.
The strategy right now is to not make changes.
If you don’t know what you are doing to stay numb, how can you be sure if you are doing something different from that? You can’t.
Observing yourself requires consciously splitting your attention into two parts. Use half of your attention to do your normal life, and use the other half of your attention to neutrally observe what you are doing. At first you could get a bit dizzy from the simultaneous differing perspectives, but splitting your attention is normal. Remember a time when you were listening to an MP3 player while riding your bicycle, thinking about what to buy at the store, chewing gum, and watching the interesting people on the sidewalk all at the same time. You can already split your attention. The only difference now is you will be splitting your attention consciously.
It helps to imagine that you are living within a box of mechanical behaviors, completely identified with the box’s behaviors as if they were your own true actions because you have no other perspective on your situation. When the box moves, you are moved by the movement. You can’t help it. You are stuck in these mechanical reactions, and may be stuck there for the rest of your life. Perhaps you know someone like this?
Self-observation is like taking a fresh set of eyes in your hand, reaching your hand out beyond the edges of your box, and twisting your hand around so that your new eyes can look back at the box from the outside. By seeing from this perspective, you easily discover that the box is no more than an assembly of mechanical reactions triggered automatically by external stimuli. Keep your arm out there and just watch what happens for a long time.
When you first hold out your hand with the eyes it gets tired within a few moments and you bring it back inside the box again, often without even knowing it. Moments, hours, or even days go by before you wake up with a start and remember what you were trying to do. You see that you are no longer splitting your attention, but you have no memory of stopping. Even at those times do not judge yourself. Or if you do judge yourself, observe the mechanicality of your self-judgment and do not judge that. When you notice your lack of self-observation, simply extend your neutral eyes out beyond the perimeter of your box again and continue observing yourself.
Here are three conditions under which to pay particular attention to observing yourself:
Are you familiar with the term second sight, having insights after the fact? During self-observation try to use first sight so you can observe what is actually happening while it happens. Fist sight is seeing what is as it is rather than seeing what you expect or hope to see.
Observe with a crystal clear eye. No name-calling, no swear words, no inner vows, no self-flagellations, no justifications, no comments from the peanut gallery. Keep your opinions about your opinions to yourself. Simply notice.
As soon as you notice that you are not simply noticing, simply go back to noticing. It’s that simple.
When you first begin self-observation you may have an attention span of only a few seconds before you get knocked unconscious and fall asleep. Work to build your muscles of attention.
As your modus numbness becomes more and more apparent it will simultaneously become more predictable. When your own behavior becomes predictable to you it can be seen to be dead. Only then do you gain a new freedom of movement. Your mechanical commitment to staying numb can be avoided without sentimentality, because you will not be killing something that is still regarded as being alive. It will take months of dedicated observation before you get to this point. That is not too long. The months will go by no matter what you are doing. You may as well be building your attention muscles.
Observe yourself for an extended period of time so you can identify repeated patterns and the circumstances that trigger them. An extended period of time means months and months, years actually.
Observe . . .