We possess an ability to observe what is happening in our own body and mind. Whether this observer is in our minds or somehow separate, it can observe the mind itself. There are our thoughts and that which is aware of our thoughts. There are our feelings and that which is aware of our feelings. There are our mental, emotional and physical reactions and that which is aware of these reactions. It is in this awareness that we can find peace.

So then, the observer or knower is aware or depending on how you look at it, the awareness observes or knows. At this point you very well may have no idea what I am talking about. You may have never identified this observer or awareness and even though you may be trying to do so now, you still may not tap into it. But, once you do…you’ll know it. And then you’ll lose it again :-)

One of the reasons we want to identify this observer is that from the perspective of the observer, there is peace and emotional stability. That which observes is always stable and unshaken as it simply observes and is not connected to our emotions. The observer merely observes all that is happening within our mind and body. So, even if we are reacting emotionally to life, the observer is simply aware of these reactions whether they are feelings or outward actions. Now, if we can sustain such awareness, we can take refuge in it.

The more we tap into this awareness, the less we will react emotionally to life and the more stable we will become. As we spend more time being aware from the observer’s perspective, the calmer we become and the less likely we are to react to life in an emotional manner. When we react to life by getting emotionally upset, we are not accepting life as it is. Connecting to this awareness helps us to accept life with peace and serenity as it becomes more difficult to react when we are observing.

We are human and will react to life emotionally at times. We will still think unpleasant thoughts and feel unpleasant feelings and act in ways that are not conducive to peace and happiness. But, instead of losing ourselves in these thoughts, feelings and actions, we can pull back and take refuge in the awareness of it all and from there we will gain Right Understanding and peace. We will be able to make healthier decisions and cease acting and feeling in ways not conducive to our emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

So, just how do you get in touch with this awareness or the observer? It’s actually much simpler than it may sound. For example, at this moment you are reading this post. Do you know that you are reading this post? I am assuming yes. What is it that knows that you are reading this post? Here is a very crude explanation of what takes place. Your eyes see the words which are then processed by your brain. Because your brain has learned English, it comprehends what you are reading. But there is that which knows that your eyes are seeing and your brain is thinking. That’s the observer or the awareness. When you identify with this awareness, you will experience calmness and peace, although it may only be brief and subtle at first. The more you connect to the observer, the more you will be able to take refuge in it and the more peace and calm you will experience.

You can substitute any action, thought or feeling you are presently experiencing in the above example to help you to identify with the observer or the awareness. Here are some more examples to help you identify the observer. When you are eating, you can ask yourself at any moment what is it that knows I am eating. Your brain is in charge of the process but what is it that is aware that your brain is in charge of the process. That is the knower or the observer. Perhaps you are feeling angry. Your brain processed stimuli and now you are feeling angry. What is it that knows that you are feeling angry or thinking angry thoughts? From this place of awareness, you will be able to observe the angry thoughts and feelings without being attached to them. There is no “I” or “me” in the awareness. The awareness is not personal, it just is and it just knows. This is why there is so much peace from the perspective of the observer. Give it a try, see if you can tap into the observer. It may take some time or it may happen immediately for you. You may tap into the awareness one minute and lose it the next. Just keep trying, as the more we practice, the better we become, as it is with all spiritual practice.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Alan (last name withheld to adhere to our group's confidentiality policy) and I hope I can help you to be as happy and grateful as I have become. I wasn’t always this way, I spent many years being depressed and miserable. I no longer wanted to feel this way, so I changed. I believe that most anyone can be happy, if they have the desire and willingness necessary to change. I have wished that I could share my experiences with others, so that they may find the same type of peace, happiness and contentment that I have attained. Hence…happinesshelp.org.

I am not a doctor or mental health professional. My views and insights are a result of almost twenty years of intensive spiritual, religious and psychological training and practice. Becoming happy is not necessarily an overnight matter, so be diligent and patient. Some will experience results more quickly than others. I personally experienced a gradual progression towards happiness. This may take some time so stick with it! You may be the last to notice how much you’ve changed. Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

I wish you peace and happiness.