Self-observation and Self-honesty

I imagine that of the seven billion people alive today, each is gripped by fear in his or her own individual way, and those who begin to awaken from the effects of fear, do so in uniquely individual paths.

Each path I’m sure is unique, but it does seem to me that there are some realizations which are common.


I’m not certain but it seems to me that these recognitions must happen to all:

      1. Self-observation
      2. Self-honesty
      3. A non-intellectual, non-thinking method of knowing can be developed, variously known as no-mind, mindfulness, effortless awareness, presence, meditation, attention, vipassana, formless meditation and so on.

To a lesser degree:

  1. It comes down to the self-inquiry: Who am I?
  2. Observation and understanding of emotions and the ability to let go of emotions
  3. Observation of conditioning
  4. Observation of ego
  5. Observation and understanding of how beliefs form in us and that beliefs are elastic
  6. An understanding of the relativity of fear and love (unconsciousness and consciousness, confusion and clarity, and so on)
  7. An understanding that right and wrong are only opinion. All human endeavors are legitimate. Cruelty, harm, judgment, fear, remorse, and guilt are not necessary to evolve.
  8. An understanding that physical reality is entirely subjective
  9. An understanding that experience can only be experienced in the present
  10. An understanding that the basic nature of human beings is to create and expand experience
  11. And that acceptance and gratitude and empathy are in our basic nature

It seems to me that people get serious about exploring the self when they get tired of suffering. This, though, is not enough, as we have an enormous capacity to tolerate misery. It seems to me that along with the confusion of suffering, the ego must be pliable enough to be open to a different way of seeing.

Does your path include something unique?

6 thoughts on “Self-observation and Self-honesty

  1. Chaknop Khullar

    Why I am attached to bitterness?

    ” God does not want us to be bitter. It is ego in us which keep us bitter even against our will. You may have no desire to remain bitter but it is stuck in you. What remain stuck in you become sickness .If you can not solve your bitterness by yourself, surrender it to The God. When you accept God blessings, you begin to be healed from bitterness as you have now become part of divine health program being run by The God Him self.
    Chaknop Khullar

    1. Davidya

      Chaknop – your question may be rhetorical but assuming not, the question to ask is what does it give you? As the Yoga Sutra tell us, we are attached to pleasure and have aversion to pain. So when we see/feel aversion we know there is something to be healed. And when we see attachment, we know it gives us something – also to be healed.

      Perhaps its a justification for a grudge or anger. Or an excuse to “prove” ones self-story. That is for you to discover.

    2. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Chaknop,

      It sounds like you are talking about the path of devotion and surrender. Both are valid of course.

      What I am trying to say in this article is that even though everyone’s way is unique and different, probably, self-observation and self-honesty must be part of every journey to clarity.

      Thanks for commenting!


  2. Davidya

    Hi Kaushik
    I’d agree that there are some realizations that are common but because it depends on what’s being held and what we fear, the specific realizations will vary widely.

    Some things, like Self Realization are common to all, but the approach and transition are each unique subjectively. The beginning of witnessing is another, although when it begins can vary – sometimes it comes with Self Real., or before, or it can be very soft (non-contrasty) if there is already a lot of healing already.

    Another typical one would be a recognition of choice. A recognition we can choose how we respond to circumstances and are not a victim. You mention many others.

    Some of them come in batches when there’s enough self-awareness so may not be recognized as individual discoveries. Some may arise quietly and not be noticed until in retrospect.

    The last fear some describe as the core fear. Some say its the fear of death but it may not be. Surprisingly, it becomes conscious after Self realization. It is essentially the fear that arises from our disconnection with the divine. When that fear is seen and released, it is the beginning of unity or Oneness. That fear created a subconscious sense of separate identity that divided inside and outside, divided us from the world. When it resolves, there is no longer that division. A process of unification with all the layers of experience follows.

    Interestingly, while the process is common to all, not everyone recognizes that occurring. They may just feel a release and notice only the new. Adyashanti described 2 weeks of release, so it was very clear for him.

    So yeah, the recognition and resolution of fears can be major milestones on the journey.

    People may also begin a spiritual journey as a result of an unexpected glimpse.

    It reminds me of a section in the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna observes that at first we recognize after the fact – oh I reacted/ was caught again. Then as we become more conscious, we begin to notice during, in the middle of it. And finally, we notice just as the impulse is arising. Then we can choose and even may resolve that form of response. Of course, the progress can be different in different areas of life.

    Thanks for the explore, Kaushik. It’s part of the challenge I’ve had in trying to map this stuff. There is so much subjective variation, different terminology, and aspects people notice that charting it is almost endless. (laughs)

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Davidya,

      Thanks again for the insights.

      I see it the same way. The recognition of fear is important. In my experience, it was big. It came to me one day as the realization that the only difference between me and Eckhart Tolle (who up that point had been the spiritual icon), was that he had eliminated the basic fear of life in him and I had not. I can’t say that all fear has been released, but the recognition of it is big.

      On self-awareness and witnessing, they are self-observation too.

      The Gita section is interesting. What motivated this article is that I had recommended Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now to someone. When the subject comes up, I usually recommend that book as a starting point, because in clear English, Tolle has managed to cover important basic points, like the resistance of the mind, the ego, conditioning (pain-body), that suffering is optional, the nature of emotion, and the resistance of identification with conceptual thought; and he suggests some pretty good techniques (self-observation, presence, attention into the body, awareness). Tolle does not cover fear very well, but he does say that all negative emotions rise from fear.

      People usually respond positively, with an aha kind of thing after reading. Not terribly surprising because I only recommend the book if the subject has already come up, which often means that the person is willing and ready to begin self-exploration.

      But recently, I had someone who reacted with a great deal of resistance, saying that Tolle is throwing the mind under the bus and suggesting that people shouldn’t think, whereas this person firmly believes that the solution is “deep thinking.”

      The breaking of the identification with mind and ego had been essential for me. And so it seems to me that self-observation, witnessing, no-mind, “effortless awareness”, detachment from identification with the mind, are essential tools. Conceptual thinking has to keep up, but it is not an incisive tool and at least in my experience it was a big obstacle to clear seeing.

      The ego must be soft enough for this recognition to occur. I think.


  3. Kaushik Post author

    It occurs to me that in pointing out that in my experience, self-observation and self-honesty and no-mind awareness have been important, that this ignores a whole bunch of ways that others may come to realization. I imagine people start their journeys from unconventional experiences as well, such as NDE and visions and channeling and so on.

    My view is that there is only consciousness, and the physical world is just an extension of it, and so it logically follows that anything conceivable is allowed in the physical world.

    And so, perhaps, there is nothing in common in the journey to clarity. Each path is unique.

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