When I settle down, become quiet and pay attention to my thoughts and feelings something unique takes place. Normally I take it for granted that all my thoughts and feelings originate from me. So how is it possible that I can observe these subjective thoughts and feelings as if I were an objective observer?
I can literally observe all these varied mental states as if they were merely passing through me and, therefore, I am not forced to identify with any one of them. For instance, I find I have a goofy me, a serious me, a selfish me, an empathetic me, a proud me, a deceptive me, a helpful me, an envious me, devilish me and a spiritual me.
How can any of those “me’s” really be me, especially when I have the cognitive ability to observe all them as though I were watching actors performing in a play? How can I contain contentious “me’s” when I see myself as a single, coherent person? Which me is really me? And who is it that can look at all these “me’s” in such an unattached manner that I am given an opportunity to experience a rare type of inner freedom and liberty?”
The New Testament states that, “Man is legion.” Is Holy Scripture referring to all the “me’s” that I carry with me? Did the Lord come into the world to free us from the slavery and oppression of all these divisive “me’s?”
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, the answer is yes. Swedenborg discovered that all thoughts and feelings emerge from human spirits in the other world—both in hell and in heaven. The human race on earth, believing that life and its derivative thoughts emerge from themselves, risks identifying with and acting on ignoble influences and therefore end up adopting someone else’s negative proclivities for themselves.
The Holy Bible is full of references and warnings that we are to “awaken” and “sleep not.” This doesn’t mean we should take “uppers” and stimulants to keep from nodding off. It means that we are to be vigilant and raise our consciousness to the level of that objective “observer” in us (higher awakened mind) so that we can look at all the mental states passing through us and have the spiritual freedom to make more rational choices about our actions.
A century and a half later, George Gurdjieff put a more contemporary spin on this unflattering human predicament. He called it hypnosis, by which humans would live out most of their lives on automatic pilot. We are educated in a world that permits us to make false assumptions about ourselves.
I dare anyone to observe their own thoughts and feelings and not experience a new level of liberation and awareness.