Observing one's thoughts

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)
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WhoAmI
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Observing one's thoughts

Post by WhoAmI » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:13 am

Hi all,

I'm new to this community, and grateful for its existence :-)

My first question (drum roll...).

I have found that when I try to be the observer, I can observe my emotions with compassion - took me a while, but I can now do it often without repressing them. It used to be that I would become aware of an emotion and it would immediately disappear - but it felt like it was pushed down again - not "living itself through" and then dissolving. Just a sudden disappearance.

After a while I've become able to hold the emotion in place while observing it with compassion, and it would eventually dissipate.

However, I haven't been able to do that with my thoughts. The moment I notice a thought it's like a bolt of lightening - it ceases immediately. I feel that I'm not really observing the thought while it's in progress. It's more like I'm sending it semi-violently into oblivion.

So I'm basically observing my thoughts retrospectively - I realize what had happened, and I then recreate the thought and try to observe it, but it's not the same :-)

I'd appreciate your thoughts (that's not a dirty word now, is it? ;-) - just kidding...) and insight on the matter.

Thanks,
WhoAmI

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Mason
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Post by Mason » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:19 am

The moment I notice a thought it's like a bolt of lightening - it ceases immediately.
That is great to hear + I'm not alone in wondering this; it's almost the exact same thing that I posted in my very first msg on this forum last month.

For reference, here's the thread.

http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... php?t=3091

WhoAmI
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Post by WhoAmI » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:28 pm

Hi Mason,

Thanks for the reference.

I do like Kiki's response, but I don't feel it answers my question.

How does one go from being the eliminator of thought (I loved how you stated it so clearly) to the observer of thought? The responses you got mainly dealt with the meaning of being the observer, but I was hoping for a more practical answer.

Something to the effect of "yeah, that happened to me too. Now I can observe my thoughts without immediately eliminating them. I did it by ... / It just happened by itself after a while / ...".

I mean - I understand the importance of being aware of what the observer is. But Eckhart gives "being the observer" as a practical thing to do in order to become the observer. And I'd like to do it in the manner he means for his disciples/readers to do it.

You seemed to be satisfied with Kiki's response at the time.

Are you still satisfied, or has the wondering resurfaced?

Maybe someone could pick up the thread and provide further clarification :-)

mariamusic
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Re: Observing one's thoughts

Post by mariamusic » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:32 pm

Hi dear WhoAmI,

I think that the problem is in this , you wrote "I have found that when I try to be the observer". You should just be an observer not try to be an observer, without trying to be. Because trying is a kind of compassion...

Concerning thoughts, you've described the way I observe my thoughts, and this is the first step, the important step, because you can stop yourself in every moment from that unendlessly thoughts...and this stopps will be more and more until ( without your realise) you willl start to think only when you need to think, not all day long. And then your thoughs will be more powerful , clear, und useful and helpful.

excise me my bad english

hapy times
Mariam
WhoAmI wrote:Hi all,

I'm new to this community, and grateful for its existence :-)

My first question (drum roll...).

I have found that when I try to be the observer, I can observe my emotions with compassion - took me a while, but I can now do it often without repressing them. It used to be that I would become aware of an emotion and it would immediately disappear - but it felt like it was pushed down again - not "living itself through" and then dissolving. Just a sudden disappearance.

After a while I've become able to hold the emotion in place while observing it with compassion, and it would eventually dissipate.

However, I haven't been able to do that with my thoughts. The moment I notice a thought it's like a bolt of lightening - it ceases immediately. I feel that I'm not really observing the thought while it's in progress. It's more like I'm sending it semi-violently into oblivion.

So I'm basically observing my thoughts retrospectively - I realize what had happened, and I then recreate the thought and try to observe it, but it's not the same :-)

I'd appreciate your thoughts (that's not a dirty word now, is it? ;-) - just kidding...) and insight on the matter.

Thanks,
WhoAmI

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Post by Agnieszka » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:47 pm

Hello WhoAmI,

Kiki once described how to observe thoughts arise by "as if staring at a mouse hole". I tried to do it several times, and some experience a little close to Kiki's occured only when very, very deep in meditation.
I've always had an impression that the source of watching and thinking is the same - our mind, which most of the time is active (sometimes terribly so) and at other times - esp. when well-trained or in extremely traumatic moments - it is capable of quieting down.

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Post by Webwanderer » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:40 pm

Hello WhoAmI, welcome to our forum. :)

When mind functions as identity, all manor of self separating internal dialog is generated. When one recognizes this type of thought process in progress, it generally does shut down. This is because there is a shift in perspective out of ego/mind in favor of essential awareness. It’s like baking mud pies for dinner in the mistaken belief that they will feed your hunger. While they may be filling, once it is realized that mud pies are not real food, and are more likely to be harmful to ones health, they are dropped without further participation.

The purpose of watching thought is to recognize those thoughts that draw us out of presence. Once that recognition is made there is little point in continuing a distracting monologue. (other than gaining a better understanding of it’s workings). Directed thought, on the other hand, that thought that is helpful in problem solving, may be observed and conducted simultaneously.

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Post by kiki » Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:50 pm

First of all, welcome to the board.
WhoAmI wrote:I mean - I understand the importance of being aware of what the observer is. But...
Don't dismiss this so quickly. This is critical to realize, the foundation for being present, for waking up. If you don't realize that your true nature IS the observer you will stay hung up in the "me" who tries to be the observer.
WhoAmI wrote:But Eckhart gives "being the observer" as a practical thing to do in order to become the observer. And I'd like to do it in the manner he means for his disciples/readers to do it.
Gain the experience of recognizing your true nature and see if you become an observer or if you already are the observer - when you look at anything without labels or judgments where is the observer as the separate "me"? Isn't observing just happening?. Do you have to be a "me" in order to observe anything? No, it just happens.

For those who are first beginning this there may be a period where you think you are doing all of this, "becoming the observer". At some point you will see/realize that you are already the observer and that the "me" is only a bundle of thought identified with. Then you can see how limiting the use of descriptions are. This is all very hard to put into words, but the reality of it is so simple that it is quite literally unbelievable to the mind.

WhoAmI
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Post by WhoAmI » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:00 pm

Thanks, guys (and gals)...

I think that for now I'm reasonably at peace with this, having read all of your replies.

I guess I'll just have to see (watch?) how it goes...

----
edited to fix a typo.

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Mason
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Post by Mason » Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:38 pm

Glad to hear whoamI + it's starting to come together for me too.

I think that the most success I have had in being the observer came after I heard Eckhart's "In the Presence of the Great Mystery" in which he gives the advice "be the space which allows the thought to happen"

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