Self-observation is a key step towards gaining self-knowledge — a goal emphasized by many sacred texts and traditions as being essential for spiritual development.
Techniques for self-observation involve directing attention inwards, to study one’s own psychology and to see directly how thoughts, feelings, and inner states work. These can be sitting techniques or practiced during the course of daily life.
Self-observation is valued as a way of understanding negative or harmful thoughts and emotions and experiencing higher states of consciousness. This provides a solid foundation for spiritual change.
Ancient Hermetic texts spoke of ignorance as the first “tormentor” within, naming others like lust, greed, envy, anger, and “many others,” while saying someone who works upon themselves should “learn of himself, and with the power of his Mind divide himself from his not-self and become a servant of Reality.” Jesus taught to “watch and pray” and that rather than faulting others we should look for those faults within us, while Taoist texts suggest to “Let this monkey [the ego] go… Just remain in the center, watching.”
Listed here are texts related to the religion of the sun where references to self-observation can be found (note this is a work in progress and will be expanded as further research is conducted):
- The Bhagavad Gita, chapter 2, verses 67-71, chapter 18, verses 23-25
- The Mahabharata, Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CCIV (Translation by K.M. Ganguli)
- The Flight of the Feathered Serpent, Book One, Chapter 15, p. 109-111
- Gospel of Mark 13:33-37 (King James Version)
- Gospel of Matthew 5:21-24, 5:27-28, 7:1-5 (King James Version)
- Gospel of Luke 11:34-36 (King James Version)
- Hua Hu Ching, chapters 10, 11, 31, 45, translated by Brian Walker
- The Secret of the Golden Flower, translated by Richard Wilhelm
- The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, Poimandres, The Vision of Hermes
- The Way of Hermes: New Translations of The Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius by Clement Salaman, Dorine van Oyen, William D. Wharton, and Jean-Pierre Mahe. Book 9, paragraphs 2 & 5, Book 10, paragraphs 9 & 10, Book 13, paragraph 7
- Iamblichus: The Life of Pythagoras or On The Pythagorean Life, The Daily Program. Taken from The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, pp. 81-82
- Iamblichus: The Life of Pythagoras or On The Pythagorean Life, Temperance and Self-Control. Taken from The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library, compiled and translated by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie, p. 105
- The Precepts of Ptah-Hotep, c. 2200 BCE
- The Awakening of Perception by Belsebuub
- Gazing into the Eternal by Belsebuub
- Searching Within by Belsebuub
- Self-Observation by Belsebuub
Explore the posts below to learn more about practising self-observation.