I watch myself as I move through the day. I’ve been doing it for years, decades, and meditation practice has only made it more prominent. Maybe it’s a matter of percentages. In my youth, when I was doing it and just thinking it was self-consciousness, it was perhaps seventy per cent of the time, the other thirty being lost in self denial and self escape, the mad flush of hot emotions, erotic excitement, melancholy moods and drifting thoughts. In my maturity it seems much more like ninety or more percent.
I watch my thoughts upon awakening, including the ones which seem to spring from ‘dream’ leftovers. I watch my moods as I shower and dress. I see who is taking over from the quiescent inner me: The one who has work to do , the one who plans errands, the one who dresses carefully, the one who reacts to the news as he drives. They all have their turn at the wheel.
This morning I watched as I tried on jackets and pants; updating one’s outerwear for autumn and winter can be a chore as much as a pleasure. I watched as the chore function won out and my mood slipped gears. I watched as I refused the gas bar attendant’s offer of a points card: I saw the driver slip into an irritation which lasted until his arrival home, whereupon it was modified by placing the new clothing items in the closet and taking the old ones to the donation drop box at the end of the street. A snack of eggs on toast modified it further and I watch as the home owner rested in his rocker and gazed contentedly at the ivy rustling against the window and the tree branches waving beyond.
I watched as he was tempted to nap, but remembered his previous promise of fresh pears for a friend. I watched as his contentedness morphed into neighbourly duty: fetching the ladder, climbing it and retrieving some ripe ones. I watched as he was stung by a wasp and pained. I watched his annoyance, thumb under cold water. I watched his recovery, tempered by notions of sharing the bounty with all the sentient and desirous creatures inhabiting the garden.
I watched as he answered the phone and talked with a loved one who’s back had given pain and needed healing, and I listened as he received the thanks for the previous day’s efforts in that direction. I watched as his pride vied with his humility. I watched as he set to lunch and watched more of a video on testimonies by government and military employees who had either witnessed or participated in various encounters with aliens and their interplanetary craft. I watched as he absorbed the knowledge and began the process of filtering it into wisdom. I watched as he prepared for his afternoon shift, realizing that the time for a nap had vaporized.
Later I watched as he interacted with his passengers, adjusting his receptivity to their various levels. Then I watched as he drove through avenues of early autumn foliage, giving thanks for their startling beauty, knowing that it would only get better as the season unfolded. Then I watched as he strolled by the lake, it’s sturdy waves and sunlight sparkles charming him more than he could say. I watched as his gratefulness reached up to absorb me. And I allowed it in and then let it pass through me, for I have no need to treasure it or save it for later.
I am the patient observer of all that ‘happens’ to the bearer of this body, this vehicle of experience, this temple of observance and service. I see it all and remain unaffected. For I am my own light and do not crave supporting candles or detracting shadows. I require no scaffolding or sustenance, for ‘I am’ as all true beings are, unborn, undying, unlimited and free as the breeze.
He who suffers and enjoys and experiences, he is my projection, my actor, my trainee, my shadow. I am he and he is me. I am he with all doors open and he is me with most of them closed and some daringly ajar. He feels the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune while I observe, enjoy and applaud as each door is gingerly nudged.
I am, of course, just who you think I am. And your thoughts are conditioned by your stage on the inner journey. Your definitions of ‘me’ evolve as you grow. He sometimes refers to me as the ‘observer consciousness’, particularly when he’s teaching mindfulness meditation to newcomers, but he knows I am more than that which suits his present purpose. He lets others discover what he has arrived at. At some point they will see that I am no more than a useful illusion, a trusty companion when you cannot trust yourself, – a pal, a guide, a soul, a causal body, an angel, an apprentice master, a deity, …all stations on the way to the nothingness that knows all and couldn’t care less.