The Art of Being an Observer
Going through life as a detached observer enables us to distance ourselves from stress and potentially dramatic situations, thus providing an unbiased observation, opening the way to viable solutions when necessary.
The art of detached observation takes time and patience to develop. If you are like I was when I first started the practice of being an observer, most of the time you will find that you have gotten caught up in the drama of a situation before you realize what is happening, finding yourself reacting out of habit in the same manner you had previously to similar situations.
As I said, it takes time and patience to develop the skill of detachment. This is how I’ve seen the process unfold for me:
First came my intention – I intended to change the way I reacted to stressful situations or drama (which, of course, is also stressful). I intended to practice being an observer when confronted with the stress of life.
At first, what I found was, when faced with a stressful situation, I was doing the same habitual things, reacting in the same manner as I had previously. After an encounter, I realized that I had gotten caught up in the drama and overreacted – I reacted, rather than having become an observer. That did not deter my determination; I continued with my practice.
Eventually, after a lot of (sometimes frustrating) practice, I realized what was happening during an encounter. I realized what I was doing as it was happening rather than afterwards, but was still too late because I was in the middle of it. The exciting part was that I was making progress!
I continued to practice on real life situations, which could be with people or just stressful conditions. Of course, stressful situations are much easier because we don’t have the dynamics of human emotions to push us over the edge.
Eventually I encountered stressful situations and found myself consciously staying centered as a detached observer during the process, observing my emotions, my body, and feelings, acting in a calm manner rather than reacting! It was like I was watching the dynamics of my interaction with the other person on a movie screen … I was in the movie and watching it as well.
I find it helpful to express my gratitude and appreciation for my accomplishment … and continue with the practice during real life situations. It is always such a pleasure to see this practice at work and the end result.
It is especially important to employ this exercise on minor events where it is somewhat easy to control our reactions. This is an ongoing process, requiring one to remain conscious and aware, for it is easy to fall back into old patterns. Like any major accomplishment, it requires determination, patience and practice, but the health benefits and enhanced relationships alone are well worth the effort.
Be joyful, embrace life and thrive!