Observe without resistance

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here’s my mother…and saluting the strength of women everywhere…heart throb rose
Creative Commons License photo credit: virginia.mcmillan



Last week I said observe your thoughts, dispassionately, as a witness, and the gaps between thoughts will expand, and as you abide in the gaps, you will see more clearly.

The questions which come up of course are don’t I need my thoughts? How can I function without thoughts? Who am I without thoughts? I like thinking.

But this is more thinking, more analyzing. Look inside. Who is asking these questions?

A few years ago, after decades of depression and anxiety and addictions, in a period of pain, I was open, and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle made sense, in a way they had not on prior readings. I am lucky—the mind I have is highly intellectually resistant, but at that time life was painful enough that I was open.

Rather than analyzing and categorizing and labeling and trying to understand, what if you go beyond that? The mind wants to categorize, and say this is thought and this isn’t. This is mind and this isn’t. But it is the mind trying to do all this understanding, when the mind cannot understand this. The mind knows how to compare, analyze, label, and categorize. It doesn’t know how to go beyond itself.

There was talk about the ego as well. There is already a lot said about the ego, and it’s confusing. I look at the ego very simply as the changing beliefs we have about “me”.  From an early age, we react to what happens. We embody these reactions. These stored reactions add up to give us complex preferences and aversions and the sense of “me.”

As we take on more definitions of “me”, we become more rigid and more constrained. This is one way in which egos develop.

What if we examined these beliefs and definitions? I don’t mean examine them in a psychological way. That’s hard and circular. What if we witnessed with clear, natural, innate, effortless awareness?

This is what observing thoughts is about. We first observe thoughts. We experience the gaps in thinking. We understand what it means to witness with clear awareness. We witness the voice of thought. We witness thought-stories. We soon realize we can witness emotions too.

And it gets more and more subtle. We witness the sense of “me.” It may be a strange thing to hear that the sense of “me” is false, because it is so prevalent and so unquestioned—even the smartest people on earth have this abiding sense of “me.” We can go on to examine deeper—am I the mind? Am I the body? Who am I?

The word “examine” is wrong, because it implies a difficult, intellectual analysis. This is an easy, effortless, innate looking. Well, it will be effortless—in the beginning it might not be.

Notice that to observe thoughts you need to rest. You need to go inside, breathe out, with relief. You need some peace to observe. You might not have this peace in the beginning, and so observing feels hard.

Allow the questions and doubts. Observe them.  With a smile.

It’s simpler than I say it here. Just be present, observe, witness. The effort of it will go away.

13 thoughts on “Observe without resistance

  1. Dear Mr. K

    I love this article. Really nice, smooth reminder. Lately, I keep going back to the statement, (starting to become belief) that I have choices. I can choose to practice awareness. I can choose not to make this difficult. I can choose to be aware of my breathing anywhere, anytime. Even when situations are extremely challenging I can choose to go back to my breathing. Breathe in the feeling of the situation or feeling or even painful memory and ask myself if I am willing to release, immediately release. This does work. If all I ever learn from this website is the breathing technique I have been handed a miracle. Once you live with overwhelming panic and anxiety that is difficult to even explain, practicing the breathing technique and giving myself permission to except the healing is unbelievable. You can have a new life. If I never learn what an ego is, if I never understand what the universe means, that will be okay for today. Because today I can choose to accept the gift of my conscious contact with myself through my breathing.
    Janice R.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Janice,
      Yes, I like the way you say it, simple and smooth. We make it difficult for ourselves, but of course we don’t know that, and that’s why practice is necessary. I like the breathing-releasing technique as well and fall back to it often!

      I hope you are well, my friend!

      love and peace,

  2. Lloyd

    To is Observe without resistance is such a art.it takes time and effort,but the benefits or golden, I feel it should be taught in schools , because their are so many dimensions to the mind, this education would make the world a better place.
    Thank great post
    .-= Lloyd´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Lloyd,

      I think Eckhart Tolle said the same thing, that hopefully some day, this will be taught in schools.

      Thanks again for your insights!

      love and peace,

  3. Liara Covert

    To observe with dis-attachment permits all kinds of energies to flow through you. As one senses the difference between acceptance and resistance what you think and feel shifts dramatically.
    .-= Liara Covert´s last blog ..Review your dream =-.

    1. Kaushik Post author

      I like the word dis-attachment. It implies the absence of effort.

      Thanks for a very insightful comment, Liara!

  4. Walter

    I have been trying hard to master this principle of awareness. But I must admit that it’s very hard. Still, I will gain a lot if I do my best to be observant of my mind, I know that one day I will go beyond its grasp. 🙂

    1. Kaushik Post author

      Hi Walter,
      There is the paradox of effort. With some practice, we are able to shift attention when we learn that it is more about letting go than it is about grasping control.

      Thanks for a very open and illuminating comment.


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