Some sages say true freedom is learning to observe the active mind, the “thinking machine,” the Observer. Others say to be free, we must reject the cultural narrative. Both agree that freedom starts with you. Which approach is better? Are they two different things or just different methods?
What is True Freedom
The state of being free is liberation from restraints. But, restraint is something we determine based on our level of perception. What one person thinks is hindering another person would not. It’s a valuation of reality that happens within the mind.
Much of what we call freedom is circumstantial and can change and fluctuate. Let’s say you move into a house and find it spacious. Then when several other people move in suddenly, it feels crowded.
Much of what we think and feel about reality comes from our instincts and personality. Another level of programming is the cultural narrative. So, what we believe is liberating is a function of our programming. We can learn to handle the programming of our Ego, and we can change the programming of cultural folklore.
Freedom Starts with You
Watching the thinker is the ability of our awareness to disconnect from the control of our Ego. We experience everything inside our minds. But who is it that is observing what’s going on? The “Real You” is the Observer of the Ego.
So, do we remove the programming to be free of the Ego, or do we need to meditate or use other tools to get beyond the active mind?
Our brain is much more than the thinking apparatus between our ears. The real you is the Observer, the entity you talk to inside your head. The Observer who experiences your dreams is the real you. The thinker that Eckhart Tolle refers to is the Ego. So, achieving freedom of awareness from the Ego is the key. So, freedom starts with you, not external things or circumstances.
The Observer is beyond the mechanism of Ego. However, most people identify with their personality and instinct as “being them.” But this isn’t the case. These are the default mechanisms our consciousness uses to connect with our bodies. The awareness that transcends these mechanisms is the real you.
To view the machine that’s “thinking,” we must find a way to move beyond the controls of personality and instinct. Several tools can help us achieve this inner peace.
True freedom starts when we disengage the autopilot of the Ego and realize who is witnessing what is going on. The goal is well worth the effort. Learning how to get beyond the Ego allows Observer to take its rightful place in our awareness.
Some people are born with the ability to “witness” from a separate state of consciousness. These people were the Seers, the Shaman, and Healers in ancient cultures. But the modern world has no place for them nor does not understand their point of view, so they label them undesirable and treat them as mentally ill. Not so long ago, we burned them as Witches.
Obstacles to Watching the Thinker
Everyone has the latent ability to go beyond the constraints of Ego, but not everyone unlocks the doors that make this possible. The Ego itself is one obstacle because it wants to maintain control. So, that’s a hardcoded aspect of personality that we learn to overcome. The Enneagram is an excellent tool to identify these thought scripts.
Our culture also creates some barriers preventing us from watching the thinker. The programming that comes from indoctrination and propaganda is more challenging to overcome. We often continually expose ourselves to the source, reinforcing negative values and beliefs.
True freedom starts with you engaging in inner work to understand the Ego and the thought scripts of the cultural narrative.
We have lost the common knowledge of how to reach the Observer. Many teachers and sages have sought to bring this knowledge into the open. But the programming of our cultural narrative gets in the way. It teaches us to fear awakening and the growth of consciousness. This fear comes from those who run the dominant cultural folklore.
Western organized religions are in control of most of the cultural narrative. These are religions of Semitic origin, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. They have over 4 billion members and control half the world’s population. These religions direct the thinking and values of the cultures they dominate. So, it influences everyone in the culture, even those who do not belong to the cult.
They teach us to fear gifted people; they see things differently because they have personal knowledge of non-ordinary reality. At the same time, these religions contain stories of individuals who went beyond organized religion. Observing the thinker is a doorway that leads beyond organized religion. True freedom starts when we open these doorways.
The lack of this knowledge holds us back, and this is no accident. Organized religion does not want you to discover the real opportunity that exists. There are methods for expanding awareness and understanding of the Ego. But, we don’t even acknowledge non-ordinary reality, although Our dreams are proof of it. Think about it.
Want to Know What True Freedom is?
Sages tell us that freedom is learning to observe our thinking, “watching the thinker.” Observation is a skill that you can enhance. You can expand awareness. The first step is recognizing the machinery of the Ego. If you can observe the “thinker,” you can move towards realizing cosmic consciousness. Otherwise, you get stuck in the thinking mechanism of personality and Ego.
It’s fantastic news; it means you can eventually be free. No matter what your circumstances. How is this possible? Everyone has the essential tools to go beyond Ego. Our Ego keeps our minds busy. Letting go of the Ego is akin to the philosophies found in Buddhism.
To let go of something, you must first recognize what “it” is. The Enneagram is one of the best tools to illuminate the Ego’s machinery. A questionnaire reveals your default personality and instincts, including common thinking and value scripts. Once you realize some of your deepest inclinations are default responses, you can go beyond these pre-programmed directives. You are not bound by default programming.
Other sages say freedom starts when we reject the dominant cultural narrative. We can create our “own” path when we leave mythology and superstition. All we need are the right tools to help us explore consciousness.
What is a freethinker?
A freethinker is someone who can see the big picture. They see through the propaganda of the culture and their propensities and tendencies. It comes about by exploring your inner world.
In addition to the Enneagram of Personality, many other tools help us explore consciousness and develop our potential. We divide these methods into four groups as part of our blended learning process:
The process of becoming a freethinker is what people call “awakening.” We all live in different cultures and have different options, challenges, and gifts. Navigating these obstacles is different for everyone.
Learning To Observe the Thinker is Self-Observation
The realization that you are not your personality comes from the Observer’s perspective. You are that which is observing the thinker. When we do this, we move to a higher level of awareness. This level of true freedom starts with you and ends with you.
The path or your spiritual journey is what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1). It begins when we answer the voice inside our head urging us to investigate it to find out what lies beneath the surface.
What Eckhart Tolle calls “watching the thinker” is the goal of self-awareness techniques. It gives us the perspective to see how we affect everyone in our circle of influence.
Another critical tool in developing your path is learning to meditate properly. Reaching the 4th state of consciousness is a necessary step in your growth. It provides personal proof of your potential by showing that you can move beyond the default states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
“In our personal lives, if we do not develop our self-awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives by default.” — Stephen Covey
We learn to observe by enhancing our awareness of ourselves and the external environment. To see the world “as it really is,” we must first correct the lens through which we see the world. So, the focus is on developing our self-observation skills and abilities.
“Self-observation is the first step of inner unfolding.” — Amit Ray
“How then can we change being? By applying the knowledge of the Work through self-observation to ourselves. And remember that you do not change by being told what to do. You only change through seeing what you have to do when you realize what your being is like.” — Maurice Nicoll
Self-observation is the key that helps us distinguish between the thinking machine of the brain and the Observer, the person operating the machinery. Once you can observe the mechanisms of the mind, then you are in the position to alter the programming.
The correct alterations of our programming help us to grow and develop the full potential of the gifts locked in our DNA. Use analytical tools to reveal the programming. Use mental tools to go beyond the default modes of awareness. These two things will bring about the ability to witness and see the thinking machine while it is operating.
(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces