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What Does It Mean To Observe The Observer?

Have you ever gone to a yoga or meditation class and heard the instructor tell you to step back and “observe the observer,” without letting your thoughts get in the way?

This is a very common phrase used throughout many different meditation styles, but, if you’re just getting started with meditation, it can be difficult to know what, exactly, it means?

In this post we’ll talk about how to step back during your meditation, to enter a higher state of awareness and observation.

Who Is The Observer?

Firstly, who is this “observer” that we’re talking about.

Put simply: it’s you, but not the everyday ‘you’ that goes to work, drives the kids to soccer practice, and cooks dinner. It’s a higher version of your consciousness.

On a deeper level, we are not our individual personalities, we exist as a state of energy, a state of consciousness, that goes beyond the needs and wants of our physical bodies.

Thus, when we talk about becoming aware of the observer during a meditation, what is usually meant is that you should become aware of the fact that you are self-aware.

First, you begin to observe your own actions from a higher level, as if you were completely detached from yourself, and not involved in your own actions.

Then, you become aware of the fact that you are watching and observing your own actions. This is the heightened state of awareness, which we often call ‘stepping back.’

How To Observe The Observer – Stepping Back During Meditation

We refer to this state as stepping back in your meditation because for many people, there is a sensation that you are physically moving back (or higher, or behind) your current physical self. It’s like a feeling of stepping out of your body and mind, in order to watch your body and mind.

Of course, ‘stepping back’ is just a metaphor. You don’t have to physically move at all, but it is the feeling of this movement as you expand your consciousness into the higher state of awareness.

To experience this state for yourself, I recommend you try this simple breath exercise.

While the process may feel weird the first time, with a little bit of practice I think you’ll find that it’s not that difficult to do, and you can even learn how to step back and let go of everything in a single breath.

Being able to engage with this feeling whenever you choose to is an important skill if you want to become more spiritually enlightened, because a higher sense of awareness and consciousness of your own actions is one of the primary characteristics of spirituality.

As you work with it, you’ll also find that observing the observer will bring with it a new perspective on your life. You’ll begin to feel more peaceful, and will move more joyfully and more effortlessly through your daily actions. Awareness is the key to enlightenment.

Learn more about how to start your spiritual journey.

Kyle Greenfield

Kyle Greenfield is the Founder and CEO of The Joy Within, where our mission is to help you win the fight against stress and negativity by harnessing the power of your natural, inner joy. Kyle has been teaching on meditation, mindfulness, and how to eliminate negative thoughts since 2016. He currently resides in London. You can follow Kyle on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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