Today I’d like to talk to you about the spiritual concept of “the observer.”
When we are here on this earthly plane, it is extremely easy to get mired or bogged down in the concerns of our daily lives.
We forget that we are spiritual beings who are eternal and get lost in the stress of traffic, work, kids, relationships, family, finances, and a million other things.
When you are going through a particularly difficult time, it is easy to sink down into what we think of as negative emotions like frustration, anxiety, irritation, anger, fear, depression, etc.
Our minds, used to being efficient, give us the thoughts we always tend to think in these situations.
If we have an argument with someone we may think:
- What a jerk!
- I can’t believe she spoke to me that way!
- I’m right so I don’t know why he’s fighting with me.
- I’m so sick of her attitude, etc.
Which tends to lead to confrontations, resentment, incorrect assumptions and more.
If a friend or family member neglects to call or text us back, our minds may go straight to fear.
We wonder if something bad happened like an accident – even though the most likely explanation is an uncharged phone or a phone placed on silent mode during a movie or work.
We have a great date or interview but never get called back, so our minds barrage us with thoughts and feelings of unworthiness, ugliness or doubt in our abilities.
But there is a simple and effective method to stopping these automatic reactions. And it’s called putting some distance between you and your thoughts.
It’s called becoming the observer.
When you realize that your thoughts are slightly separate from you, that you are having thoughts but you are NOT your thoughts, it is very empowering.
You can distance yourself from these thoughts and look at them without feeling the entire brunt of them.
I love Star Wars – I’m a huge geek! – but I am fully well aware that as human beings we do not have Jedi powers. We cannot feel when a big tragedy happens generally speaking.
We aren’t Obi Wan Kenobi who felt a “disturbance in the force” because a planet was destroyed.
Let me use the same example life coach Brooke Castillo uses. If someone dies, you do not immediately react unless you know about it.
If some big tragedy happens, unless we are directly involved, we won’t feel it or react to it.
Yes, most of us consider someone’s death to be a sad thing. But what if they were over a hundred years old and went peacefully in their sleep? What if they were suffering horrible untreatable pain?
In that instance, they may have welcomed death.
The point is that our feelings come from our thoughts. Something is only sad to us if we think it’s sad.
The same is true of our happiness. We can decide to think happy thoughts about something, and amazingly, we’ll then feel happy.
All these emotions are a choice.
Just as all of our thoughts are a choice.
This is why it’s so important to be the observer. We take a step back and gain a new perspective.
We are the observer a lot when we learn about historic events.
In many ways, the bubonic plaque was a terrible tragedy. If you lived during that time, you would’ve likely felt a lot of fear and sadness at the events transpiring around you.
But through the lens of time, we can now see that the plaque ultimately led to the Renaissance – a time of more food for the remaining population, great creativity, and many new advancements for society.
So how you feel and think about something depends of how and even IF you are affected by it.
When you become the observer of your thoughts, you can feel more calm and rational. Really strong negative emotions tend to sting much less because you realize you are not your thoughts.
No feeling or emotion will kill you, it is your reaction to it that may cause a problem.
Over the holidays, I witnessed two men in a parking lot screaming at each other. One had apparently backed his vehicle into the other’s.
Now would most of us be upset or angry in that circumstance?
But will screaming ever solve such a problem?
Is being angry and upset worth getting in a fist fight? Is it worth an assault charge or maybe even jail time?
What if those two men had taken a step back and become the observer even for just a second?
Things might not have become so heated. They ended up resolving their issue without coming to blows over it, but judging by the loudness of their argument, it could’ve easily gone the other way.
I personally have benefited greatly from becoming the observer more often. When something I might not like happens, I now try to pause, step back and disassociate myself from the event.
Of course, I’m not always successful. I’m working on being more enlightened overall, but I’m guilty of letting my emotions override my common sense, too.
Once, when two lanes merged into one, a guy in a minivan raced from behind me to cut me off. When I didn’t slow down so he could cut me off, he honked, nearly hit me and flipped me off.
Angrily, I flipped him off, too. The guy sped away, driving erratically, and suddenly I just found the whole situation uproariously funny.
It was the first and probably last time I’ll ever flip somebody the bird. Anger is just not my own personal go-to emotion.
I watched the guy drive off and just thought, “That was completely ridiculous!”
And it was!
That’s why I started laughing so hard. It was just all so silly and over the top.
Even though I hadn’t studied the spiritual precepts I’m now much more familiar with today, I managed to become the observer.
I managed to see the situation from a different perspective and realized whatever that minivan driver was doing or thinking, I wanted no part of it.
Flipping him off actually felt pretty good at the time. Even though I don’t know if I’d recommend it most of the time. But the laughter that followed it released any frustration I might’ve been feeling.
I still think it’s funny to this day.
So when a big bad emotion shows up in your life, whatever it might be, see if you can become the observer.
Find out how much more in control you’ll feel when you separate yourself from the situation a little.
And let me know if this podcast or any other podcast helps. 😃