I am attending an intensive for the type of bodywork I am doing. The bodywork itself is a laboratory for practice and exploration, for self-inquiry, and it is a wonderful practice in many ways. Deep, nourishing and soulful.
But one thing is left out, and it is a crucial step – and also quite obvious when we see it.
With its emphasis on mindfulness of the “me” only (the human self and its identities and dynamics), an identification as first the doer (shifting into observing) and then the observer may easily become “invisible”. If it is habitually there anyway, it may not be strengthened, but there is also not a direct invitation to bring it to attention and notice it. The sense of “I” may continue to lurk outside of attention.
Sometimes, there will be shifts of identification out the me but not out of the I. Other times, there may be shifts out of both. (As happens for me with this practice.) And it may well be that such a release of identification, when repeated over time, helps it stabilize. (These shifts also happen without any intention or practice, although practice and intention does seem to invite it in – whether it is this or another form of practice.)
But it also seems that intentionally notice the sense of separate I – as the doer and observer – is very helpful here.
I can notice the sense of a separate I as content of experience, and coming and going. Is that what I am? What is awake to this sense of separate I? What is observing the observer?
I may notice some of the dynamics around this separate I. For me, right now, it is an image anchored on sensations in the head/neck area. Something happens in experience. A dog barks. There is tension in the upper back. A train goes by. It is labeled, placed somewhere in an image of space or extent, and a story tells me that the observer is observing whatever happened.
But when that observer is noticed to be content of experience, just as what it appears to observe, and the story telling me it is what is observing, what happens then?
Is everything already awake to itself, where it is? Is an image of an observer needed? (It can be very useful, of course, also after identification has softened or released out of it, but this image itself is not needed for something to be experienced. For it to appear within, to and as awakeness.)
Is it so simple it is almost impossible to point to with words? All already awake to itself, where it is? Is this awakeness itself what appears as object (observed) and subject (observer) when filtered through all of this? The image of an observer, the image of something observer, a story saying the observer observed what is observed, and yet another story saying that observer is what I am?
All of this seems so obvious when recognized, and – as so many points out – a cosmic joke. A joke on us. (A joke awakeness plays on itself.)
- identification w. observer
- a great start, but not make it into a habit, be more inclusive
- need to notice what observes the observer, and what is awake to anything happening w/in experience