Everything is changing, and some things we can control. If we are to make the positive change we desire, we need to learn how to manage change. To do this, you need to learn self-observation exercises. Come and learn to access and develop these tools.
“Self-observation brings man to the realization of the necessity of self-change. And in observing himself, a man notices that it brings about certain changes in his inner processes.” ― George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
To make the changes we want, we need to learn how to observe the gap between where we are now and where we want to be. Then know how to make the right changes. It starts with the practice of self-observation exercises, which enable us to see the programming of the mind.
Tools of Self-Observation
Mr. Gurdjieff (1) brings up the age old question. What came first, the chicken or the egg? It is the same question here with observation and awareness. Teachers like Gurdjieff tell us we must be both awake and aware before being able to observe the real world.
Others like Carlos Castaneda (2) say that to become aware, we must learn and practice self-observation exercises first. Either way, the goal is becoming more self-aware. When we are self-aware and present, then the real you, the Observer of our consciousness, can come forward.
“My benefactor said that when a man embarks on the paths of sorcery, he becomes aware, in a gradual manner, that ordinary life has been forever left behind; that knowledge is indeed a frightening affair; that the means of the ordinary world are no longer a buffer for him; and that he must adopt a new way of life if he is going to survive. The first thing he ought to do, at that point, is to want to become a warrior.” — Carlos Castaneda
“The ego is the unobserved mind. It is the voice in the head which pretends to be you, the unobserved emotions that are the body’s reaction to what the voice in the head is saying.” — Eckhart Tolle
The Positive Change Academy
The Ego is a tool which connects consciousness to the body. We need to learn how to use this tool wisely. The changing the programming of the personality and instincts are tools we need to learn. If we understand how these mechanisms work, we can adjust the programming. We can remove the roadblocks that allow the Observer to control awareness. This process is the essence of the positive change academy.
“The warrior begins to understand that self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening.” — George Ivanovich Gurdjieff
When we are aware or present, the real you can show up. Do you know that is? It’s the person you are talking to inside your head. It’s the entity we call the soul, or spirit. This is why learning to get and stay present is so important. All that is needed are the tools the positive change academy.
So, what comes first, observation or awakening? Look at it this way. If awakening depends on observing, everyone should be awake, but we know this isn’t the case.
Does it matter which we work on first, or is it prudent to increase awareness self-observation at the same time? We know we can increase awareness through some types of moving and seated meditation. These techniques are in the domain of what we call spiritual exploration.
Anyone can learn to be more observant of their surroundings. The more aware you are, the more things you see when you observe. Self-observation exercises and techniques for expanding awareness work together. Observational tactics are also can also be used as inner work tools. As we become more aware, we can observe our thoughts.
It is important to remember that everything we experience happens within the mind. The senses gather information, and then we filter it through our worldview to get an individually crafted representation of reality. So we don’t perceive the world as it is. We see it as we expect it to be.
Our worldview is the result of our beliefs, memory, expectations and the input from the sense, so if these contain bias and prejudice, then it will taint our thinking. Everyone has a unique way of interpreting the world. This is why eyewitness accounts are not accurate. Several people can see the same things but perceive differently.
The process of cleaning your worldview involves the removal of unhealthy thinking patterns and beliefs. Here is where we use the tools for positive change. Sometimes it’s not pleasant because prejudice and bias are deep-rooted habitual patterns.
Interactive Self-Observation Tools
To observe the self requires more than assessing verbal and non-verbal communications. You must learn to guide them to control the outcome of a particular encounter. It is a skill set used by trained interviewers, but anyone can learn and benefit from the use of these skills and mindset. It involves four key areas when interacting with another person:
1) Engage in Active Listening. Listen to understand what is being said instead of planning a response. You must focus on the person and stop your internal dialogue. This is one the most important keys to the positive change academy. Here, we are learning to focus outward, but we can use this same skill focusing inward.
2) Build Trust. Follow through with promises, big and small. Supporting others will increase your social acumen. Some people wonder how this improves your observational skills, but you become more empathetic when you help others. Learn to cultivate empathy, the skill set of an Empath, which help you sense the energy of people, places, and things. This skill set enhances both your awareness and observational ability.
4) Your Self-Observation Tools for Ocular Awareness. Learn how to engage the peripheral vision to see things with a wide-angle lens. Increasing ocular awareness heightens the input from all senses. When you take this far-away gaze and add it to martial arts and you have the Indonesian forms of Silat and Kuntao.
If we can learn to observe both internal feelings while engaging in activity, then you can control emotions with breath. You don’t need to practice these arts to use it, but it shows an interesting connection. When you use controlled breathing and this visual technique, they can control our autonomic nervous system. This skill set helps respond in the right way to critical situations. We’ll discuss this more later on.
Situational Self-Observation Tools
1) Become more self-aware of your surroundings. Enhancing observation starts with training your awareness. Practice watching and listening. We don’t do this because we are too used to being entertained. Instead, learn to observe people. Stop tunnel vision, which means refraining from your smartphone. If the first thing you do when you sit down in a crowded place is to pull out your phone, stop. Instead, use the first minute to observe yourself and your surroundings.
2) Learn to engage your internal radar. You can enhance this quality of perception by Assigning yourself a scavenger hunt: Pick something and look for it throughout your day. For instance, red on a sign or shirt. A spiral form, etc.
3) Become more mindful and attentive. Practice the waking mindfulness technique to keep the Observer in the driver’s seat instead of operating from the default settings of Ego. Sweet. You will see and hear things that you otherwise would have overlooked because you were not present.
Eye and Breath Training Tactics
The senses are the outward tools of self-observation. You can use these tactics simultaneously when you are cleaning the lens of your worldview. Learning to use them together will enhance your observational skills and inward awareness. This is the key we talked about with martial arts. This tool of the positive change academy opens the door to several exciting options
The key is learning to control your nervous system with the eyes and breath. Here’s how it works. In threat situations, the sympathetic (SN) activates the emergency response of our fight, flight, or freeze reaction. It allows us to react fast, but it also shuts off the higher functioning brain center. So we move quickly, but how and where we move might not have the best outcome. For example, we could be sacred and jump back but fall into a hole. The goal is to control this reaction through ocular training and controlled breathing. We want to keep the parasympathetic system engaged.
This type of practice is the domain of advanced martial arts, like the alignment practices of Silat. This technique’s method takes the form of what looks like a dance. It’s the practice of very sophisticated physical and mental processes with martial arts a purpose. The untrained eye sees what appears to be a somewhat awkward dance performed to music with frequently changing rhythms.
Breathing and centering are two other significant components of your self-observation tools. Learning to control your sensory input is one way to get and maintain presence. The last element uses specific breathing techniques, which provide power to the actions. We can use these same tools for positive change to enhance our self-awareness.
A warrior uses peripheral vision while focusing on an internal rhythm during combat. The eyes control the nervous system and keep it from engaging the sympathetic nervous system. The active mind focuses on music and rhythm; this allows us to access the dance’s combat applications.
This combination of these techniques gives the warrior greater control over their emotional reactions. It’s an ancient method that allows higher cortical functioning to assess a rapidly changing conflict. The breath is a critical aspect of this technique. We cannot exist without oxygen. As the breath deepens, we feel more grounded.
The Positive Change Process with The Enneagram
We can spend much of our lives on autopilot, and most people can relate to this experience. If you’ve driven a car or traveled somewhere you routinely, you can make the trip and not have any recollection of the journey itself. You were on autopilot the whole time you were driving your car. Your mind was somewhere else. Thus, your personality and instincts were entirely in charge of your body. This autopilot syndrome is something we use, especially when we are not present or grounded.
So, we use the Enneagram to identify our default settings. Then we look at the tendencies for our particular personality and instinctual type. Now we have the power to recognize them and change them. It’s one of the most powerful tools for positive change.