[Meditation Exercise] Distinguishing Your Experiencer From Your Observer

in Meditation, Personal Development

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Take a minute and think about your ‘rollercoaster’ of feelings this past weekend.

Perhaps you started off Saturday feeling happy it was the weekend, then somebody cut you off while driving which made you upset, but then you met a friend which was exciting, but they told you bad news which made you sad. Regardless of any patterns, just take a moment to reflect on how you felt throughout this past weekend and how it shifted along the way.

Read on when finished.

Now, let me ask you this – who is the ‘person’ that just reflected on all the various emotional states from the weekend? Was it you? But wait, if you reflected on it, then who actually experienced those actual emotions when they came about. Was it you?  If so, then who’s the real you? Is it the person that experienced the emotions or the person that observed those experiences of emotions?

Interesting contemplation, eh.

What it proves to us is that this idea of ‘you’ is very subjective and based in the perspective in which you view yourself and your relationship to the world around you.

The power of this idea lies in the fact that the observer self isn’t just confined to being accessible in retrospect. In any given current moment you can actually pull yourself out of your experiencer self and sit within your observer self.  Today’s meditation is going to focus on helping you do just that.

  1. Get into a comfortable position. As a reminder, don’t get caught up in forcing yourself to sit cross-legged if it doesn’t feel right. Meditation isn’t a practice in becoming a monk, it’s a practice in better connecting within. Depending on your mood, you may want to sit on your haunches with a pillow under your butt or lying down on a yoga mat or bed. The key is to find a position that allows you to relax.
  2. Take a minute to either practice the ‘shifting realities‘ meditation if you’ve tried it already. If not, just take a deep inhale while imagining fresh energy entering your body and as you exhale slowly, imagine your body untensing/loosening and space being created for your body to expand and relax. Do it a few times until your body feel more relaxed than when you’ve started. Remember to try Synctuition to help!
  3. Trigger a slight tension/pain in your body. Doesn’t have to be anything wild. If you have tight hips, adjust yourself so you can feel the tension. Or if your back is sore, move so that you can feel that soreness. Bring your focus fully to that sensation.
  4. Move from the perspective as the experiencer of the tension, to the observer of the experiencer. The best way to do this is to ask yourself this question – “I wonder what it would be like to no longer be the ‘me’ that is experiencing the sensation, but rather the ‘me’ that is watching that version of me experiencing it?” The beauty of this question is it stated in the curiousity-tense, allowing your mind to find a way for you to move into this point of view. From this new perspective you should be able to see yourself from either outside of your body or from a little area of consciousness in the back of your head that is unable to feel the sensation but rather just see the sensation. Regardless of the way you choose to visualize it, the key is to be in a perspective in which you no longer can can consciously feel the sensation.
    Your mind may fight you on this since it is so familiar with being fully absorbed in the experience of reality, it will think that any other perspective is preposterous! Be patient with yourself. As we proved above, if you’re able to see yourself in various emotions without necessarily feeling them when reflecting, you can also do the same in the moment. As you keep reminding yourself it’s possible and asking questions that allow yourself to move away from the feeling, you will naturally begin to identify better with this observer self.


It’s important to note that my intention with this post and exercise is not to try to get you to ‘live’ within the observer self and deny the experiencer. I’ve been through courses and read books that really push you to be in this observer self consistently as though it is better, and, well, I respectfully disagree with that philosophy. I think it’s unproductive and unhelpful to try to choose a perspective in which you should constantly reside in or define one as better than another. For example, looking in your rear view mirror is not better than looking in the side mirror. They both serve different purposes through different perspectives.

Ultimately, existence is relative. Life is relative. We would have not been given the opportunity to be experiencers if it were not for our benefit and growth. All we are doing in this exercise is learning that we are not confined to having to always stay in our experiencer self. We can move out of it into the observer, and over time become better at consciously moving into our experiencer self to enjoy the sensations life has to offer, while maintain an awareness of our observer self.

**This blog post was inspired by the book The Untethered Soul.**




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