The Art Of Observation: By Dr. Raju
Self-inquiry is to reflect whatsoever is passing by in the inner consciousness.
Consciousness reflects diamonds or pebbles equally. By its very nature it won’t choose that which is reflected.
Ego is the consummation of all past experiences. So if we observe through the observer there is the perpetuation of the past. Nothing new can be observed with such a type of observation.
Self-inquiry is not a process of “doing”.It is a process of conscious observation without the interference of the “doer”. In such a type of observation even “doer” is an object of observation.
When you are in a state of observation during the process of Self-inquiry, you are not in a state of thinking. Either there is thinking or there is pure observation and both of them do not happen simultaneously. If there is a thought “I am doing Self-inquiry”, then you are not in a state of Self-inquiry.
The pure act of observation in Self-inquiry cannot be reduced to a thought.
Here is an example to demonstrate this. When you see a bird on the wing, just be watchful and be in a state of wonder in seeing the beauty of it. Let that beauty and its dance in the wind penetrate you. But the moment the mind enters and says how beautiful is the bird, the “thought of beauty” becomes a barrier to perceive the beauty of the bird on the wing.
You are no longer seeing the bird on the wing, its suchness. You have gone into past memories of the bird and comparing them with the present. It is a mind game and it is a fall from pure observation into the domain of mind. Then your awareness become clouded by the smoke of the past and dust of the past started collecting on the mirror of consciousness which no longer reflects the beauty of the bird on the wing because you are not “here and now”.
Thats what happens whenever a thought arises in you, your consciousness is disturbed, starts wavering, waves start arising in you and you are not capable of reflecting the suchness of that which is.
In Self-inquiry we have to learn the new art of observing things and thoughts without judging,verbalizing, evaluating. The state of observation is more important than what is being observed.
Observation without any choice is total freedom. In pure observation we don’t wipe out the known, but we enter into a different dimension altogether from which the known, the past, the ego is observed. In this awareness memory acts without impediment, and efficiently.
If you persist and if you are patient enough and if you go on working at cleaning and polishing the inner, one day this implosive state of pure observation happens. Then you are born anew in the consciousness with eyes which are so clear and your mirror of consciousness reflects so deeply, so totally without distortion, the whole ego unfolds itself, flowers and withers in the passive state of observation.
When there is observation without the observer,you are simply a witness.Then you don’t think that ‘I am observing”, there is no “I”,there is no thinking, there is only observation because all thinking and the “I”,they have all become objects of your witnessing. But witnessing cannot be its own object and those who claim that they are aware of their awareness do not know anything about awareness.We can be awareness which is a state of unicity.
No mirror can reflect itself. Bhagawan Ramana says your eyes cannot see themselves.
Adi Sankara in Vivekachudamani pointed out that even those with Self knowledge must always be alert (Sada Apramada) because Maya may veil them at anytime again and if it happens their position is like a ball slipping from top of a hill and getting lost into a deep valley where it is impossible to trace it even.
So the quintessence of Self-inquiry lies in observing the “what is” without the observer and in that process “what is” is transformed.