Be A Voyeur

“You can observe a lot just by watching” –Yogi Berra

I have become a voyeur-a silent witness-of my inner self. I can watch my thoughts, my emotions and my bodily sensations. I am a voyeur of “me”. I can watch all of “me” dispassionately, like a scientist. This is the single biggest step forward in my journey of self-discovery. One small step for the new me and one giant step for the old me. Apologies to Neal Armstrong.

I have learnt a lot about myself and the world around me just by watching my thoughts, emotions and sensations in my body. It took me many years to develop an ability to watch my thoughts and emotions without judging them. It is a skill I developed through practice. Normally, I get swept up in my thoughts, one thought leads to another and another, and the mind wanders off. I had to work at breaking this habit. I had to learn to let go of a thought as soon as it appeared. I had to train myself to look at a thought as a cloud wafting through the sky, to just watch without any attachment. Slowly the thoughts stop coming.

The act of watching, non-judgmentally, quietens my mind, quells my emotions and removes tensions in my body. My mind, body and emotions become harmonized. Borrowing the language from the Vedas, my chakras become aligned and my nadis open, and I feel connected to the universe. In this state there is no “I”. There is just emptiness. I am like an empty vessel, open, spacious and accepting. And, attuned to the wisdom of the universe. Paraphrasing Yogi Berra, I observe a lot just by watching. There is no need for a guru, there is wisdom within us. There is a knowing beyond knowledge. We can access this wisdom. Unfortunately, we are not taught to get in touch with the wisdom within us. Some, like me, stumble into it, many look to religion, most never discover it.

Scientific methods cleave the observer from the observed. But the voyeur in us, or the silent witness, turns us, the observer, into the observed. Only humans have this capacity to observe themselves. I am an object to the voyeur in me that can be watched and studied “scientifically”. That is, after much practice, I am now able to watch my thoughts, feelings and sensations dispassionately and objectively. I can gather data on the workings of my mind and analyze it like a scientist. Equally importantly just by watching and witnessing the contents of my mind I change them, as Yogi Berra so astutely observed “you can observe a lot just by watching”. Quantum physics has proven that the very act of observing a phenomenon changes it.

The Vedic sages were scientists of a kind. Their method of inquiry was from the inside out. Their starting point of inquiry was their mind (and emotions). Through this process they transcended their minds and accessed “truths” that western science is just beginning to approach. The process of the sages was the inverse of the process of western science. The Vedic sages started with the subjective, the self, and discovered that the rest was a projection of the self (mind). Modern scientific methods exclude the personal, the self, from their study of the phenomenological world. Thus, western science has not yet made the connection between the subjective and the objective—the world inside and the world outside.

“Science describes accurately from outside, poetry describes accurately from inside. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe.” Ursula K. Le Guin.[i]

The voyeur in me is a scientist. The voyeur observes and collects data on me, just like a scientist. The very act of observing “me” changes me. The practice of witnessing one’s thoughts and feelings is transformational.

This I believe:

14.We can observe the workings of our mind objectively and dispassionately. We can observe our thoughts, our emotions and our bodily sensations. We can be scientists of our own mind. I have learnt a lot about myself by observing my mind.

[i] (Brainpickings, n.d.)

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