The observer cannot be observed

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by henry quirk »

Dimebag wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:42 pm It’s quite hard to explain this to someone who hasn’t had this penny drop for them.

Here’s how it happened for me.

One day, as I was reflecting on the work I was doing, very repetitive work which allows this reflective ability, i was able to notice that, these actions were happening while “I” was watching them happen, rather than “me” producing them. I was then listening to my own thoughts in my head, and noticed, “there is a voice in my head, narrating my experience, a narrator”. I thought, if I can experience my own thoughts, which seemed like someone else’s, this narrator, who was I, observing? I seemed to be this observer, observing everything. It threw me a little bit, because up until then, when a thought entered my head, I would take it as not an object to be observed, but as a new lens to see the world through, typically you inhabit a thought, which will create a new thought from that, and the process fractally continues. But instead I was observing actions happening, observing bodily sensations, observing thoughts. I was a detached observer. All of my experiences were appearing as objects, which could be seen as distinct from me, the one observing them.

I could even observe my own egoic reactions to social situations. Some days it took a few seconds to observe such egoic reactions, as I had moments where I would observe AS the one having egoic reactions. But other days I seemed to be able to “catch” these reactions as they arose. This was a feeling like “I” was simply the awareness, not even the one who wanted to change external situations.

This is all purely subjective. It all happens inside this organism which supports this awareness. And this awareness is not separate from the body which supports it. But experientially, as awareness, I am distinct from the sensations of the body, from the senses, from anything which can be seen. Yet this awareness which I am has no characteristics beyond being the medium through which everything becomes known. So experientially, there is the observer and the observed. And the observer cannot be observed experientially. The observer, or awareness is that in which all observations happen, but awareness cannot observe itself in itself, a gun can’t shoot itself, a paint brush can’t paint itself, etc. This observer has no characteristics to observe, as awareness.
no offense, dime but you're describin' depersonalization disorder not an elevated or advanced or evolved state
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

henry quirk wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:30 pm
Dimebag wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:42 pm It’s quite hard to explain this to someone who hasn’t had this penny drop for them.

Here’s how it happened for me.

One day, as I was reflecting on the work I was doing, very repetitive work which allows this reflective ability, i was able to notice that, these actions were happening while “I” was watching them happen, rather than “me” producing them. I was then listening to my own thoughts in my head, and noticed, “there is a voice in my head, narrating my experience, a narrator”. I thought, if I can experience my own thoughts, which seemed like someone else’s, this narrator, who was I, observing? I seemed to be this observer, observing everything. It threw me a little bit, because up until then, when a thought entered my head, I would take it as not an object to be observed, but as a new lens to see the world through, typically you inhabit a thought, which will create a new thought from that, and the process fractally continues. But instead I was observing actions happening, observing bodily sensations, observing thoughts. I was a detached observer. All of my experiences were appearing as objects, which could be seen as distinct from me, the one observing them.

I could even observe my own egoic reactions to social situations. Some days it took a few seconds to observe such egoic reactions, as I had moments where I would observe AS the one having egoic reactions. But other days I seemed to be able to “catch” these reactions as they arose. This was a feeling like “I” was simply the awareness, not even the one who wanted to change external situations.

This is all purely subjective. It all happens inside this organism which supports this awareness. And this awareness is not separate from the body which supports it. But experientially, as awareness, I am distinct from the sensations of the body, from the senses, from anything which can be seen. Yet this awareness which I am has no characteristics beyond being the medium through which everything becomes known. So experientially, there is the observer and the observed. And the observer cannot be observed experientially. The observer, or awareness is that in which all observations happen, but awareness cannot observe itself in itself, a gun can’t shoot itself, a paint brush can’t paint itself, etc. This observer has no characteristics to observe, as awareness.
no offense, dime but you're describin' depersonalization disorder not an elevated or advanced or evolved state
None taken. I agree it has similar features, yet the character and nature of the experience was not negative at all, I had no feeling of loss, in fact I felt I had found my true nature as awareness. Suffice to say it did not last, my awareness merged back into my ego after a few months, though every few weeks it would bounce back and forth for a while. Now, my identity feels both merged with ego, yet I am still aware of this presence of the grounding of experience in awareness.

I consider myself a rather withdrawn person, and yet the experience has caused me to come out of myself and engage more with life. Not negative at all.
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by henry quirk »

Dimebag wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:51 pm
henry quirk wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:30 pm
Dimebag wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:42 pm It’s quite hard to explain this to someone who hasn’t had this penny drop for them.

Here’s how it happened for me.

One day, as I was reflecting on the work I was doing, very repetitive work which allows this reflective ability, i was able to notice that, these actions were happening while “I” was watching them happen, rather than “me” producing them. I was then listening to my own thoughts in my head, and noticed, “there is a voice in my head, narrating my experience, a narrator”. I thought, if I can experience my own thoughts, which seemed like someone else’s, this narrator, who was I, observing? I seemed to be this observer, observing everything. It threw me a little bit, because up until then, when a thought entered my head, I would take it as not an object to be observed, but as a new lens to see the world through, typically you inhabit a thought, which will create a new thought from that, and the process fractally continues. But instead I was observing actions happening, observing bodily sensations, observing thoughts. I was a detached observer. All of my experiences were appearing as objects, which could be seen as distinct from me, the one observing them.

I could even observe my own egoic reactions to social situations. Some days it took a few seconds to observe such egoic reactions, as I had moments where I would observe AS the one having egoic reactions. But other days I seemed to be able to “catch” these reactions as they arose. This was a feeling like “I” was simply the awareness, not even the one who wanted to change external situations.

This is all purely subjective. It all happens inside this organism which supports this awareness. And this awareness is not separate from the body which supports it. But experientially, as awareness, I am distinct from the sensations of the body, from the senses, from anything which can be seen. Yet this awareness which I am has no characteristics beyond being the medium through which everything becomes known. So experientially, there is the observer and the observed. And the observer cannot be observed experientially. The observer, or awareness is that in which all observations happen, but awareness cannot observe itself in itself, a gun can’t shoot itself, a paint brush can’t paint itself, etc. This observer has no characteristics to observe, as awareness.
no offense, dime but you're describin' depersonalization disorder not an elevated or advanced or evolved state
None taken. I agree it has similar features, yet the character and nature of the experience was not negative at all, I had no feeling of loss, in fact I felt I had found my true nature as awareness. Suffice to say it did not last, my awareness merged back into my ego after a few months, though every few weeks it would bounce back and forth for a while. Now, my identity feels both merged with ego, yet I am still aware of this presence of the grounding of experience in awareness.

I consider myself a rather withdrawn person, and yet the experience has caused me to come out of myself and engage more with life. Not negative at all.
well, whatever it was you experienced, I'm glad it was beneficial
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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previously there was a sense and the need to control situations, however while resting in the space of awareness I can allow whatever needs to happen to happen, actions, thoughts, experiences happen within this space, and awareness is that which allows actions to occur as a kind of connecting space from sense to thoughts to action, but awareness is not that which controls.

I’m not saying that this is my continual experience, only at times where my awareness is aware of itself,. It’s almost like awareness pays attention to the short-term memory which is normally dedicated to enabling actions to happen and for storing sensory and thought information for further use. When awareness rests in this place it can see its own footprint so to speak. It’s the creation of a kind of internal loop And in a way allows awareness to kind of Chase it’s own tail so to speak, however it can never catch itself because it itself is the space in which everything else is seen. But the effect of this is that awareness doesn’t then merge with all of the contents of experience, Allowing a more objective view.

I see this is a process of detachment, until such a time as this resting within awareness becomes automatic. There was a time during my experiences where this did happen, however awareness at some point merged back with the stream in which it was aware of. By merging with, I mean identified with.
AlexW
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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henry quirk wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:30 pm you're describin' depersonalization disorder not an elevated or advanced or evolved state
Thats funny...
I guess nowadays anything which is not commonly accepted as "human standard behaviour" is a disorder...
A few decades ago – especially in Eastern societies – people that had such "depersonalization disorder" where still considered sages or Jnanis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jnana) - now they are simply deranged, crazy people that need some medication :-)
How times change...
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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Dimebag wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:01 am previously there was a sense and the need to control situations, however while resting in the space of awareness I can allow whatever needs to happen to happen, actions, thoughts, experiences happen within this space, and awareness is that which allows actions to occur as a kind of connecting space from sense to thoughts to action, but awareness is not that which controls.

I’m not saying that this is my continual experience, only at times where my awareness is aware of itself,. It’s almost like awareness pays attention to the short-term memory which is normally dedicated to enabling actions to happen and for storing sensory and thought information for further use. When awareness rests in this place it can see its own footprint so to speak. It’s the creation of a kind of internal loop And in a way allows awareness to kind of Chase it’s own tail so to speak, however it can never catch itself because it itself is the space in which everything else is seen. But the effect of this is that awareness doesn’t then merge with all of the contents of experience, Allowing a more objective view.

I see this is a process of detachment, until such a time as this resting within awareness becomes automatic. There was a time during my experiences where this did happen, however awareness at some point merged back with the stream in which it was aware of. By merging with, I mean identified with.
I've never experienced such a thing, even when I had a fever and my hands felt just like two balloons
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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AlexW wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:32 am
henry quirk wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:30 pm you're describin' depersonalization disorder not an elevated or advanced or evolved state
Thats funny...
I guess nowadays anything which is not commonly accepted as "human standard behaviour" is a disorder...
A few decades ago – especially in Eastern societies – people that had such "depersonalization disorder" where still considered sages or Jnanis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jnana) - now they are simply deranged, crazy people that need some medication :-)
How times change...
me, I got no problem with the differently consciousness-ed bein' shamans, gurus, songwriters, or whatever the hell it is they wanna do

I only object to the differently consciousness-ed bein' held up as superior or enlightened...cuz they're not
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:59 am
Dimebag wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:01 am previously there was a sense and the need to control situations, however while resting in the space of awareness I can allow whatever needs to happen to happen, actions, thoughts, experiences happen within this space, and awareness is that which allows actions to occur as a kind of connecting space from sense to thoughts to action, but awareness is not that which controls.

I’m not saying that this is my continual experience, only at times where my awareness is aware of itself,. It’s almost like awareness pays attention to the short-term memory which is normally dedicated to enabling actions to happen and for storing sensory and thought information for further use. When awareness rests in this place it can see its own footprint so to speak. It’s the creation of a kind of internal loop And in a way allows awareness to kind of Chase it’s own tail so to speak, however it can never catch itself because it itself is the space in which everything else is seen. But the effect of this is that awareness doesn’t then merge with all of the contents of experience, Allowing a more objective view.

I see this is a process of detachment, until such a time as this resting within awareness becomes automatic. There was a time during my experiences where this did happen, however awareness at some point merged back with the stream in which it was aware of. By merging with, I mean identified with.
I've never experienced such a thing, even when I had a fever and my hands felt just like two balloons
It’s totally fine, you may have just never had the chance to experience this. When our lives are very busy or we are very preoccupied with the external world it is all too easy to miss this. The screen can’t be aware of its self when the screen is its self caught up with the play on it.
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by henry quirk »

Dimebag wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:09 am
henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:59 am
Dimebag wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:01 am previously there was a sense and the need to control situations, however while resting in the space of awareness I can allow whatever needs to happen to happen, actions, thoughts, experiences happen within this space, and awareness is that which allows actions to occur as a kind of connecting space from sense to thoughts to action, but awareness is not that which controls.

I’m not saying that this is my continual experience, only at times where my awareness is aware of itself,. It’s almost like awareness pays attention to the short-term memory which is normally dedicated to enabling actions to happen and for storing sensory and thought information for further use. When awareness rests in this place it can see its own footprint so to speak. It’s the creation of a kind of internal loop And in a way allows awareness to kind of Chase it’s own tail so to speak, however it can never catch itself because it itself is the space in which everything else is seen. But the effect of this is that awareness doesn’t then merge with all of the contents of experience, Allowing a more objective view.

I see this is a process of detachment, until such a time as this resting within awareness becomes automatic. There was a time during my experiences where this did happen, however awareness at some point merged back with the stream in which it was aware of. By merging with, I mean identified with.
I've never experienced such a thing, even when I had a fever and my hands felt just like two balloons
It’s totally fine, you may have just never had the chance to experience this. When our lives are very busy or we are very preoccupied with the external world it is all too easy to miss this. The screen can’t be aware of its self when the screen is its self caught up with the play on it.
see, that there is what I object to: oh, you haven't had this experience cuz your head is too busy with the superficialities of the world

a wrong-headed assessment based on bias, not any fact about me
Dimebag
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dimebag »

henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:19 am
Dimebag wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:09 am
henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:59 am

I've never experienced such a thing, even when I had a fever and my hands felt just like two balloons
It’s totally fine, you may have just never had the chance to experience this. When our lives are very busy or we are very preoccupied with the external world it is all too easy to miss this. The screen can’t be aware of its self when the screen is its self caught up with the play on it.
see, that there is what I object to: oh, you haven't had this experience cuz your head is too busy with the superficialities of the world

a wrong-headed assessment based on bias, not any fact about me
I say this without judgement or any sense of being better or worse, the fact is in life we find it hard to not do anything in particular, our behaviour patterns are attuned towards occupying ourselves rather than being with ourselves. This is an inherent barrier towards this kind of realisations. I don’t deny that you could probably have these realisations yourself if you so happened upon the state of mind in which it’s okay to pay attention purely to experience. But, most of the time and myself included sometimes we are restless. Restlessness is a barrier towards this Realisation. Goal oriented behaviour occupies a space in which awareness needs to pay attention to, it is filled up with the thoughts goals preoccupations and self imaginings which are then followed or identified with. None of this to is to say that the mode of being of which I’m describing is a healthier, more productive, or even more Evolutionarily adaptive way of being.

I also caveat all of this with the fact that I’m a relative newcomer to all of these practices, I am in no way grounded in this way I’ve been, and many times will find myself being carried away by thoughts and imaginings.

But the fact remains that underneath all of the appearances your inherent nature is also this. This is my belief, you may not agree with that and that is okay I am merely trying to point to you the way probably very poorly and unsuccessfully.
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:19 am
Dimebag wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:09 am
henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:59 am

I've never experienced such a thing, even when I had a fever and my hands felt just like two balloons
It’s totally fine, you may have just never had the chance to experience this. When our lives are very busy or we are very preoccupied with the external world it is all too easy to miss this. The screen can’t be aware of its self when the screen is its self caught up with the play on it.
see, that there is what I object to: oh, you haven't had this experience cuz your head is too busy with the superficialities of the world

a wrong-headed assessment based on bias, not any fact about me
Just to remind that all truth claims are always going to be of a wrong headed self bias nature, but the opposite is also available, an inversion of thinking is also possible as and through a direct realisation via direct experience of self realisation unique to the particular character experiencing itself.

This thread is simply pointing to a deeper truth that can often be overlooked and not really thought about before by the thinking philosopher.

It’s simply a discussion like every other philosophical discussion, one that explores the idea of the SELF as pure emptiness appearing full...aka Nonduality.
But then of course there are always going to be those who object, or reject such discussions, but that’s just the nature of Nondual discussions.

Henry, If you have a counter argument to what is being discussed then that’s welcome here. Do you have a counter argument? And is that why you are here on this Nondual discussion thread, participating?

Just because someone hasn’t understood another persons Nondual experience, does not make them inferior to that person, it just means they haven’t experienced what is being pointed to. So it’s really not helpful in these types of discussions to start believing that some of us are just more superior or enlightened than others. In fact what’s being discussed here is quite the opposite in that this knowledge is showing that reality is already ENLIGHTENMENT in every moment, and that as awareness you always this immediate Pure Freedom of unlimited being, and that there is no other one who becomes enlightened or is enlightened.

No other one is superior or inferior...because such ideas are just thoughts, thoughts that have absolutely no reality in and of themselves. Everything is pure awareness aka no thing and everything.

🤭
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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Dimebag wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:42 pm It’s quite hard to explain this to someone who hasn’t had this penny drop for them.

Here’s how it happened for me.

One day, as I was reflecting on the work I was doing, very repetitive work which allows this reflective ability, i was able to notice that, these actions were happening while “I” was watching them happen, rather than “me” producing them. I was then listening to my own thoughts in my head, and noticed, “there is a voice in my head, narrating my experience, a narrator”. I thought, if I can experience my own thoughts, which seemed like someone else’s, this narrator, who was I, observing? I seemed to be this observer, observing everything. It threw me a little bit, because up until then, when a thought entered my head, I would take it as not an object to be observed, but as a new lens to see the world through, typically you inhabit a thought, which will create a new thought from that, and the process fractally continues. But instead I was observing actions happening, observing bodily sensations, observing thoughts. I was a detached observer. All of my experiences were appearing as objects, which could be seen as distinct from me, the one observing them.

I could even observe my own egoic reactions to social situations. Some days it took a few seconds to observe such egoic reactions, as I had moments where I would observe AS the one having egoic reactions. But other days I seemed to be able to “catch” these reactions as they arose. This was a feeling like “I” was simply the awareness, not even the one who wanted to change external situations.

This is all purely subjective. It all happens inside this organism which supports this awareness. And this awareness is not separate from the body which supports it. But experientially, as awareness, I am distinct from the sensations of the body, from the senses, from anything which can be seen. Yet this awareness which I am has no characteristics beyond being the medium through which everything becomes known. So experientially, there is the observer and the observed. And the observer cannot be observed experientially. The observer, or awareness is that in which all observations happen, but awareness cannot observe itself in itself, a gun can’t shoot itself, a paint brush can’t paint itself, etc. This observer has no characteristics to observe, as awareness.
Thanks for sharing your direct experience, it's fascinating to read about how the same direct experience can be expressed in mulitple different ways. :o I here have had similar experiences to you there, so have been able to resonate with what has been described by you there.

And yes, the observer cannot be observed experientially because to do so it would have to become an object, which it's not.

Very good discourse from both you and Alex overall, so thanks for joining in with the discussion. :D
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dontaskme »

henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:03 am
me, I got no problem with the differently consciousness-ed bein' shamans, gurus, songwriters, or whatever the hell it is they wanna do

I only object to the differently consciousness-ed bein' held up as superior or enlightened...cuz they're not
That's right, they are not. In the same context, they are NOT a someone who has a depersonalization disorder...you see! :D

This topic is wholly about the nonconceptual state of being prior to any thought, or perception, one may have about it.

In essence, the nondual self arises as both the personal and the Impersonal both, for both have to exist in the exact same moment for any knowledge of a self to be known.
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henry quirk
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

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Henry, If you have a counter argument to what is being discussed then that’s welcome here. Do you have a counter argument? And is that why you are here on this Nondual discussion thread, participating?

I offered my counter...or, I thought I did...mebbe it was just a dream


This topic is wholly about the nonconceptual state of being prior to any thought, or perception, one may have about it.

so, the thread is about houseplants...okay...sorry...my mistake
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Dontaskme
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Re: The observer cannot be observed

Post by Dontaskme »

henry quirk wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:15 pm Henry, If you have a counter argument to what is being discussed then that’s welcome here. Do you have a counter argument? And is that why you are here on this Nondual discussion thread, participating?

I offered my counter...or, I thought I did...mebbe it was just a dream


This topic is wholly about the nonconceptual state of being prior to any thought, or perception, one may have about it.

so, the thread is about houseplants...okay...sorry...my mistake
👍

Your counter offer was that the observer can be observed.

My argument is that it can’t.


So I guess there’s no more argument, enjoy your garden. 🌵🌻
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