Discovering who we are and learning how to realize it is the essence of awakening. Find out how to give your inner work meaning and substance, and get in touch with the real you.
What if we are not what we think we are? What are there other possibilities? Are we not aware enough to grasp them?
Preparing for the Inner Journey
There are several ways to define the inner observer. Researchers like Carl Jung believe it is our subconscious mind. Other philosophers like Immanuel Kant (1) refer to this inner sense of the real you as something beyond scientific inquiry. Many religions refer to this aspect as the spirit or the soul. Joseph Campbell (2) refers to this as the real you. Whatever you want to call it, revealing these mechanisms can help you with this spiritual journey called life.
They all describe this aspect of consciousness in the same ways. This inner observer is the person you talk to inside your head. It’s that part of your awareness that views your thoughts, memories, and dreams.
We use a brainstorming exercise from our blended learning process to reveal this awareness aspect. It’s a form of automatic writing. This process allows the subconscious mind to communicate with us through our handwriting. It does this by sidestepping the conscious mind. It’s a highly effective process for exploring our thoughts and feelings. Automatic writing is a proven technique for studying consciousness on our terms. So, don’t be discouraged because of the bad reputation given by Western religion. Organized religions don’t like it because it’s something they can’t control, so they demonize it.
See for yourself. Try this exercise for five minutes, and you’ll see how valuable it can be. You’ll need a notebook and your favorite pen for this exercise. Another device we recommend is a spiritual journal. Keep your notes from automatic writing, dreams, and spiritual practice in one place. You’ll be able to refer to this document for further guidance. Everyone who attends our workshops must have one.
The goal of inner work is healing, integrating, and growing. We must be in touch with our intuition and inner selves to do this.
Here is the problem. Many people feel disconnected from their intuition and inner self. This disconnect comes from our cultural programming. It is a deliberate act that allows others to manipulate you through brainwashing techniques. This kind of manipulation makes us consumers of things we don’t want or need. The key is to break the link with the cultural programming and reconnect the spirit, soul, or inner observer.
Preparing for the inner journey requires the right mindset. We recommend you approach each learning session like a skeptical beginner. Approach it with an open mind. Be a freethinker and take the process seriously, and it will reveal some important things. Journey without expectations while expecting the unexpected.
Prepare the space and give yourself adequate time. Some people like to set a timer because it helps them stay within the allotted time. However, you may interrupt the process and miss critical data.
Inner Work, Outer Work, and the Inner Observer
Giving Your Inner Work Meaning
The first thing to do is start writing. Don’t think, write. Doodle on the page. Draw pictures. Also, don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. Later, you’ll see how your handwriting can reveal messages through the slant of the words, the pressure, and the size of the letters. These things will give you information and clues about your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, and they will bring things together— inner work outer work are seamless.
The outer work part is your hand responding to the freedom of the mind. The inner work part is what your subconscious mind reveals on the page.
For now, write whatever comes up; let it flow. Don’t think about what you are writing. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow. If you pause, that’s okay too. Keep at it. If this is the first time you’ve done this exercise, it can take 5 or 10 minutes to get comfortable with the process.
What’s important is that you don’t edit what you write. Your honesty gives the inner work meaning and substance.
Once you are in the flow and writing, you reveal your true nature. You can give your mind some gentle direction. Start by asking yourself a question like, why am I alive? Then, start writing any thoughts or feelings (pictures).
The only guideline is not to quote religious doctrine. You want to get below all levels of cultural and social programming. Above all, this exercise is about connecting to your intuition and finding the wisdom within your spirit. It’s not about dogma.
You can use other questions as well. For example, we recommend questions like:
- What is the way I know I am present?
- Where or when do I feel the most peaceful?
- How do I know when I’m on the right path?
Listen to your intuition, which will likely bring up other questions you need to probe below the surface. The inner self and the outer world can link through our intuition.
Reflecting on your automatic writing will show you how your intuition communicates. It is a real key to opening your spiritual gifts. Some believe that our ancestors can also speak to us through this process.
You may discover drawings or uncommon phrases that resonate with you. Listen to this inner voice and learn “how to” listen to the voice of your intuition. Trusting your intuition is a practice unto itself. The absence of the Ego in our awareness reveals the inner self.
Removing the Roadblocks
The first time engaging in this exercise, it might take a while to become comfortable with the process. Don’t let this deter you. Remember, your heart and soul want to speak with you. And you have a wealth of intuitive wisdom waiting for your discovery.
It becomes easier every time you allow your intuition and subconscious to speak. You are preparing for the inner journey and the next level of revelation. We need to stick with the process to give our inner work meaning.
Listen to the innate spiritual desire that is leading you to this practice. Listen to that small voice and be patient. Stay with it. The observer of our experience wants us to know what we are. As we awaken more and more, we can come forward to experience life more fully.
Social and cultural programming are the primary sources that interfere with the brainstorming process. We live in a world that subjects us to social programming and propaganda. We are “told” and sold what we should believe. This conditioning places boundaries around what we think about spiritual reality.
The cultural programming that blocks our intuitive mind also blocks the inner observer, so we cannot discover other possibilities. Since most of our harmful programming comes from organized religion, it’s important not to reference quotes from religious texts or common theological jargon. Always question the messages from the cultural narrative and never stop. Revealing the inner self is a threat to organized religion (3).
Fear of Your Intuition
Social conditioning tells us we should fear our inner voice. Those in charge of the cultural narrative would prefer we listen to propaganda and reject our wisdom. No one else knows what gifts and possibilities exist for you. They do not want us to connect with the knowledge of our intuition. Because when we do this, we become less susceptible to their programming.
Inviting your Intuition to Speak
If it feels like you are going in circles and repeating things, stick with it. You are inviting your intuition to speak to your conscious mind. Sometimes it takes a while for your intuitive self to come “online.” Have patience, especially if you are using this process for the first time. So, if you find you can only reiterate religious doctrine, you have some work to do. Do not let the obstacle of religious doctrine deter your inner quest.
Once you get past these obstacles, it opens a new level of spiritual awareness. The above exercise is just one consciousness development tool. There are many more.
What Are Spiritual Technologies?
These are scientifically validated processes enabling us to explore and alter awareness. They are part of the heritage of ancient spiritual traditions. You can learn many of them by following the instructions in the article. Here’s a list of these processes.
- The first tools we recommend are those that sharpen your critical thinking ability. Studying them provides a solid foundation for better decision-making. Logical and Rational Thinking Skills help you understand how logic and language work together to present arguments. Two companion tools look at the arguments you’ll likely encounter in spirituality; 10 Common Logical Fallacies and Spiritual Axioms.
- The third set of tools takes us to the experiential side of spirituality, the realm of seated meditation. It starts with a basic Two-Step Beginning Mediation, which provides a foundation for Mindfulness Meditation and Japa or Transcendental Meditation. After you practice these for six months, you’ll be ready for more advanced sutras like Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Pejut, Reiki, and Shiatsu are the sixth natural healing modalities.
The natural progression of growth is a path of illumination, giving our inner work meaning and purpose. The result is growth, which allows the inner self, the observer of our experience, to come forward in our presence.
(1) The Cambridge Edition of the Work of Immanuel Kant in Translation.
(2) Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
(3) Phillip Cary Augustine’s Invention of the Inner Self: The Legacy of a Christian Platonist. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000)