[This journal entry was originally written by Jay on October 22nd, 1997. As always, you can read what Jay thinks about this subject now in the post script – Dawn]
Imagine being that silent witness. Imagine seeing everything you see as if for the first time, not through screens of interpretation. Imagine being free from the pain of the past and the fear of the future. Imagine being someone who never manipulated on any level, and could not be manipulated on any level. Imagine pure Awareness. It’s always there, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be tapped.
They call the eyes windows of the soul. How very apt of them (whoever the hell “they” are). The eyes see. They observe. They take in everything. Then the mind, the ego, gets ahold of it and interprets it. Something is always lost in the interpretation. The more closed and regimented the mind, the more is lost. The more open the mind, the more is gained. What you allow yourself to see, what you decide, in that moment’s moment, to see, is exactly what you get. Possibilities can be rejected or accepted, considered or passed over. All according to the dictate of the mind, all in a moment’s moment.
Now, the great power I see in acknowledging the silent observer is the perspective gained by it. Things happen in life; we can do all within our power to make them happen our way, and developing and exercising this power is important, but it is not omnipotent. Besides, the perspective gained here is one that helps us realize just what is in our power to control, and how we can expand that power.
The Serenity prayer sums it up quite well. “God grant me the Serenity to accept that which I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” Your observer can give you the wisdom, and the wisdom brings the courage and serenity along with it. Your observer is your little slice of the Divine, the God or Goddess within that can bring these things about.
When we find the perfect balance of Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom, we find a formula for success and happiness otherwise inaccessible. When we apply each of these tools at the proper time, it is through proper interpretation… and when we learn to properly interpret, we automatically know how to apply each of these tools as is appropriate.
A big part of the silent observer’s job in the beginning is to reveal to us just how full of shit we really are. There is a certain spaciousness in hanging out in the realm of possibility, gazing through the observer’s eyes to flip through frames of possible perception as you might flip through the pages of a book. For this practice to benefit, however, a perspective must be chosen and committed action to reinforce that perspective must be taken in the outer illusory world (or the real world, or whatever you like to call it). Choosing one frame and diving wholeheartedly into it takes us from the realm of possibility to the realm of outcome.
Dwelling fully in either of these realms is necessary in the short term but useless in the long term. Dwelling partially in both realms is rather a difficult way to get things done. The simple examples are easiest to explain, and can be easily taken to any level of function. I can sit here and stare at the blank page for hours waiting for the words to come. This is not me contacting my own deepest wisdom, it is me standing on a bridge between inspiration and production. The time I spend standing on that bridge doesn’t do anybody any good (unless you’re hoping that I will stop writing so damn much). I need to get myself fully on one bank or the other, dwelling in spaciousness or translating what my last trip there told me. Failing to engage the lessons the silent observer is imparting makes the observer’s job meaningless.
I heartily agree with Yesterday Jay in that the Serenity Prayer is a great way to describe the process that the silent observer makes possible. I have always been fond of the score of reminders contained within it. It is the topic of a future “…What It Means To Me” blog, so I won’t go into it too much here. Suffice it to say that serenity, courage, and wisdom are like a toolbox with a screwdriver and a saw. They are both great tools when used by someone who has learned to use them in the proper ways and at the appropriate times. Those that fail to apply the wisdom find themselves trying to sink a screw with a saw or cut a board with a screwdriver. A problem that requires courage that is met with serenity is not solved, and vice versa. In fact, that’s how many problems are created. Stabbing a board repeatedly with a screwdriver will probably never cut through the board, but it will leave the poor thing scarred and pitted.
The tool analogy brings us right back to the the silent observer’s initial function, which turns out to be an ongoing process. I’m a tool. You’re a tool. We are all tools that infinite intelligence uses in the creative process. Our function as tools is to find the best ways we can be used by consciousness. That function must not be hampered by the desire to serve another function, because that in itself can cause a perfectly useful tool to be misused or unused. The proper function of the tool in question requires both appropriate design and use. A screwdriver that wishes it were a hammer is no good to anyone.
The silent observer’s job is more dynamic than it sounds like it should be, then. Fully engaging in life is absolutely necessary for those that want to achieve any results, whether they are external or internal. Fully disengaging is absolutely necessary to acquire the tools and perspective required to fully engage. The two processes get confusing when they get separated, and rightly so. That’s because they can’t be separated. They are aspects of the same process.
The question that the silent observer continually poses is a question that can only be answered in action. The question, essentially, goes something like this: “Do you want to express your eternal identity or your temporary identity in this world?”. The answer is what each of us does. Chilling with your silent observer all day is only useful if that day ends with action. Acting all day without checking in with your silent observer is confirming an identification with something that isn’t real… it truly is “acting”. It is pretending to be something that you’re not.
It can be fun to pretend to be something that you’re not, and some aspects of being can only be created by being developed. I can hammer a nail with a screwdriver just to prove a point, and I will surely gain some skill or wisdom in doing so. The best way to really give all we can to ourselves and others is to pretend to be something that we really are, however. Taking the time to express our unique perception of eternity will leave a lasting impression on both ourselves and the world.