There is a big difference between observation and absorption of events.
The concept of self observation is quite old, we have talked about it often as Gurdjieff and Ouspensky have taught, and yet as much as I teach this method of awakening, people fail to get much benefit from it.
Today, travelling in Thailand with one of our group, I realized why. I saw the difference between what I do and what others do which is the key to benefiting not only from the exercise of self observation but to many more parts of the work.
Before I go into the difference between these two concepts, I will present you with another analogy that together should have a significant impact on your inner work of awakening.
When you drop a pebble into still water, the rings go out on all directions, and for what could be an infinite distance as we have seen in the 2004 tsunami which reached every part of the world.
This is usually the analogy that people give to self observation, but I must to tell you that humans do not normally do this. Rather, the pebble makes a very narrow line of ripples, meaning that instead of waves going out in 360 degrees, they only go out in one degree, a very narrow straight line, ignoring the rest of the universe.
When a normal human practices self observation it is usually simply the observation of external events and perhaps the part they play or interact, perhaps the physical sensations of the body during a moment of that event.
This is a purely physical observation done with the brain registering what the eyes see and is a very shallow impression on the mind, thus the events are quickly forgotten.
Absorption means that the eyes see and although the mind may register the event details, the impressions of the event are actually absorbed into the depth of the mind, on both conscious and subconscious levels.
This level of absorption of events includes the event but as well many layers behind it, the cause of the event and the cause of the cause of the cause ad infinitum, depending on the purity of the openness of the mind.
When this happens, the data is recorded and understood in a different way, it becomes a part of the totality of the being. Each event then becomes a new piece added to the infinitely growing jigsaw puzzle that makes up who you are each day. This is the method of attaining cutting insight and profound intuition.
With the increase in your being through absorbing, your ability to comprehend events and life in general as well as understanding your own being and other people increases. Conversely, to merely observe is like pouring water on a duck, it just rolls right off.
A duck’s feathers are coated with an oil which repels water. The human mind and personality is coated with opinions which repel new information, so nothing sticks and you can just keep on flying or floating through life.
When you have accepted the principle that you are always possibly wrong in an objective sense, the ripples of every event can now proceed in every direction engaging all parts of your mind instead of just the surface and intellectual levels alone.
This principle of accepting that you are possibly wrong is a crucial factor of attaining wisdom that I have never been able to successfully convey to anyone so I will leave this topic open for anyone who wants to learn about it to ask me.
If you will have a totally open mind, rather than ripples from a pebble tossed into your mind going outward alone, it will be an opening of the mind in all directions and new information will be entering your being with every event that you encounter.
What I mean to say with the preceding paragraph, is that a wave hitting the shore always returns back out to sea. The distance between where the pebble falls and the shore is equivalent to the openness of your mind. If your mind is only slightly open, the returning wave is very short and narrow, and so will be the impression and information you receive.
If your mind is totally open, when you experience an event through the mind of absorption, that much more information, meaning the cause of the cause of the cause, will reach the depths of your being. This is how we expand the capacity of our limited human intellect and mind into one which has the insight to instantly see the reality behind the illusion of the moment thinking this is the totality.
Add to this two dimensional image the image of the earth floating in space and taking that flat horizontal ripple on the surface of the ocean going out in all directions around the sphere, and you will begin to get an idea of how vastly your mind must and can open, and then reach the infinite wisdom of the immensity of possibilities.