​Is self-observation a journey through oneself?

Comment made by José Parés Pérez

Concepción, Chile

The more I practice mindfulness, the more I become interested in self-observation. I see self-observation as something totally natural if I intend to stay in the present. If I don’t learn to recognize the origin of the issues that lead me to abandon the present, I can never be intentionally aware of my life now.

Doing some activity is not something that teaches me much about myself. Talking or acquiring knowledge that refers to who we are can contribute, but not so much. To learn about myself there is no better way than personal and attentive observation. If I have the firm intention to know myself and learn about how I react to life stimuli, what gives me pleasure or pain, what motivates me, what fulfills my best desire to relate and collaborate, etc., I have no other way than to observe myself.

Self-observation is paying my full attention to what I feel both in my physical and emotional body. My emotional body contains all the baggage of emotions, habits, instincts, feelings, resistances, attachments, desires, fears, etc. which consciously or unconsciously manage my behavior. We have lived our whole lives with ourselves and we are likely to accept all of our behaviors because we consider them our nature and we are not particularly interested in the damage that we may be doing to ourselves and to those who relate to us.

And it is not always malicious not to care, but it simply does not occur to us to act differently because we live half awake. And what is more, it does not occur to us to study ourselves for self knowledge because we do not know that we can change ourselves. The human being ignores that we all have the potential to change ourselves if we intend to. It’s part of the ignorance of what we are and this usually accompanies us from the cradle to the grave.

We live upset, angry with ourselves, suffering from the non-acceptance of what life brings us. And as if that was not enough to ruin our life, our health deteriorates which further darkens the ugly panorama of our life.

There is no other way than the inward journey, after taking an interest in ourselves. Knowing what makes us sick and what hurts is always the first step to our healing.