“The future, higher evolution will belong
to those who live in joy,
who share joy, and who spread joy.”
Reading this... will help you to identify the two voices that make you human: your ego with its chatty, self-serving endless quirkiness, and what I’m calling the wise Observer that is patient, non-judgmental and loving. While they appear to be completely different, they actually both want the best for you, they just come at it in very different ways.
Recognizing Them: The Ego and the Observer
The ego takes center stage; a real show stealer. It knows what you want, what you don’t want, it steers you toward things that will make you happy, steers you away from things that might be upsetting. Sometimes your ego is flashy and loud, sometimes it’s shy and self-conscious. It also comes with a handy chorus of inner voices that give you constant feedback, telling you how you look, what would make you look better, who loves you, who doesn’t, and what you had better do in order not to get hurt. Sounds like a good friend except your ego talks shit about you as well, and has an opinion on everything you do, commenting on your latest mess-up and your latest success.
The Observer, on the other hand, patiently hangs out in the wings, waiting for an invitation to enter, whispering softly only when it has something meaningful to say.
The ego sounds awful in comparison, doesn’t it? Loud, demanding, and critical. It’s like the noisy barker at a carnival who never goes home because the show is never over. Not to mention that it takes everything personally; poor me, happy me, sad, overweight, skinny, ugly, good-looking, rich me – you name it. The operative word here is ME! It’s got the voice of an opera singer warming up: “Me, me, me me me....”
Not surprising, it’s the source of all our drama. But why? Because ego wants you to feel good all the time. No judgment here – just a truth. The ego lives for sensation, attention, and good stories. The bigger your life, the better it feels. Think of it like a needy puppy. Cuddle me, love me, feed me, aren’t I cute?
All this crazy drama comes from the ego’s desire to protect you and keep you safe – kind of like one of those helicopter moms who tries to control their child’s every move so that things go well for them. The Ego is well meaning, just a little disoriented, not to mention totally fearful.
Now Let’s Look At The Observer
The Observer – the witness, our soul, our higher self – helps us to see things objectively, as they really are. It’s a stance of both wisdom and compassion. It allows us to step off the worrisome ego stage of our lives and look back and review things from afar. From this more distant viewpoint, our dramas and stories are less compelling and distracting, and even endearing and sweet. “Aww, look what that silly ego is doing again,” says the Observer. “How sweet!”
The Observer is one of the “Missing Elements” – the part of yourself that enables you to understand your quirky personality beyond judgment, as though you were an angel looking back at your human nature. Your Observer, the witness, the wise, quiet, soulful voice has the ability to teach, tame, and support your ruthless ego. When invited in, it says, “Hey, you’re doing that thing again. You’re lost in the drama. It’s okay. Slow down. Take a breath. You’re doing the best you can.”
Can you feel the compassion here? No judgment, just gentle noticing.
The Observer cultivates humility and a soft approach to life. It helps you become good at saying things that your ego will cringe at such as, “I am sorry, I need help, I made a mistake and I was wrong.” The Observer allows us to come out from behind the mask of the protective ego and become transparent and real. All healers or good teachers spend lots of time in the land of the observer.
The Observation Deck
Imagine a huge, horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottomed observation deck anchored in a limestone cliff of the Grand Canyon – 4,000 feet above the chasm below. Look up, the turquoise sky appears endless and you can literally see for miles in all directions. Look down and the Colorado River appears as a slim, pea-green ribbon, and the burro-riding tourists below look smaller than fleas. It’s a wonderful view, because with so much perspective you can’t focus on the little things. All you see is the majesty of the view, held under a magnificent sky. This is the Observation deck where the Observer lives.
Once on deck, be prepared for the emergence of kindness, because this is what happens when you step back from trying to micromanage your every move so you’ll look good. The Observer is compelled to heal, to care, to love you – unfortunately it’s constantly sabotaged by the ego.
My job as a therapist and an astrologer is to assist you in falling in love with exactly who you are – your quirky, egoic personality – and also to introduce you to the partner of your dreams – your compassionate Observer who will laugh and shrug and sweetly say, “Hey, you’re doing fine – try again.” The fact is, you can’t change who you are. Your emotional reactions and sensitivities are not going to be plucked out like an ingrown hair. We are a manufacturing agency of human nature stories. So just notice and adjust your behavior from a place of love.
What's The Solution?
You can read all the spiritual books you like, you can sit on cushions, eat brown bread, and drink protein powder, but when your ego is triggered and or violated it will, without a doubt, react, throw a fit, cry, scream, hide, or ramble on depending on your personality type. Every ego on this planet has some pretty immature qualities, nothing that the Observer can’t poke fun at, learn from and possibly even adjust over time.
One teacher with whom I studied said that once you develop your Observer nothing can hurt you – the ego will be quieted and calmed. Even if arrows of trauma and pain were shot in your direction and hit you, once aware, the pain would just land at your feet. She said, “No one can ever make you angry when you are in your Observer.” That’s not true for me.
My teacher was very spiritual, and in fact, in almost every spiritual circle and psychological model, the ego gets a bad rap. We’re told to step over it, listen with our souls and to identify with our higher selves. Trying to be “good” is a great hobby – however I have a new job for you: accept the fact that you, just like everyone else, are a flawed humbled human.
We all feel and we all fail. Don’t fool yourself – no one is made of Teflon. I can assure you, having worked as a therapist with so many people, much of your faulty childhood sticks to you whether you know it or not. It’s what shaped you and made you you.
Being Human and Vulnerable
We all grow up wounded in some way; we weren’t seen, we felt ashamed because of the way we looked, the things we said. We were punished for upsetting our parents when all we wanted was to be loved. We live in reaction to some version of an old story year after year. We think it’s real, that we really are unlovable and somehow different, so the punishment continues inside our minds.
When the relationship ends, when you are cheated on, when you lose your job or find out the sky is falling, you will react. Human nature is a reactive machine, impulsive and emotional. And funnily enough, I love this about being human. I have been shocked and amazed by human nature – when those I thought to be my best friends have suddenly become my worst enemies. I have cried an ocean from my confusion over how I could have loved so deeply and then have been forced by life to let go.
Our experience here on Earth demands that we learn to let go of our lovers, partners, best friends, parents, children, and our pets. It is painful and sad.
The Guru was found crying for days over the death of his son. His followers found him and pleaded, “Stop crying, teacher. There is no need to be sad. Let go.” And he said, “Leave. I will cry for as long as I need to. It is my gift as a human.” Such simple wisdom. The shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” No amount of spirituality can take away the stinger of sadness, or despair – it is a beautiful truth: we all are human and vulnerable. This is what makes us loveable.
Waking Up To The Compassionate Observer
While the ego can make things worse, turning our experiences into high drama, the Observer plays fair, and is your ticket to the land of non-judgment where you take nothing personally, especially yourself. The art is to fall in love with who you are, ego and all, and to meet ourselves and others with an open heart.
Pain serves to activate the soul. It assisted me in growing my Observer and I softened my pain by increasing my awareness that we are all in this together; each of us carry a wound that can be lifted and soothed. Everyone has the choice to harvest pain into wisdom; this is the Observer’s role.
I’m asking you to practice becoming the Observer. To do this in a non-stressful time is easy and is a great practice that I strongly encourage. To do this when you are upset is not so easy. So how do we begin?
Imagine you are being trained for a government position where your job is to collect information, feel and sense what is happening, then report back to the central office with an objective review. In order to be good at your job you must remember there is a difference between a perception (the Observer’s voice) and a judgment (the ego’s voice). For example: You look at a burnt piece of toast. “Oh, look, the toast is burnt,” says the Observer. That is a simple perception – hard, fast and factual. “You idiot, you burnt the toast again,” says the ego. There is a judgment. To simply observe, to perceive what is in front of us requires neutrality. Simplicity. Just name it.
So the healing begins when we turn the Observer on, when we simply see things without judgment. “Oh, I didn’t get the job.” “I’ve gained five pounds.” That’s just what’s so. We’re human, these things happen. They only start to mean something when the ego gets involved with its scary commentary: “What were you thinking having that piece of pie?” “You are aging, you are fat,” “You suck” – these are judgments.
We Are The Velveteen Rabbit
What would our lives look like if we became more accepting and forgiving of our human nature? The nature of the human psyche is poorly designed.
We are flawed. We will continue to learn from our mistakes – we age, we gain weight, we hurt ourselves and others; we are human, raw, and beautiful. That’s what it is to be real.
Once we begin to wake up to the compassionate Observer in ourselves, the part of us who worships the privilege to be in a body, alive and in service to humanity, then we can move beyond our personal drama and tend to selfless acts of service in a world that needs help so badly.
Our purpose on Earth is to accept our humanness with an open, tender heart and evolve the species by remembering that you are a healing agent evolving for all of us. As you do your independent work of truly being yourself, we all benefit. This is the only way to a healthy future, starting now. It is you being you.
©2016 by Debra Silverman. All Rights Reserved.
Publisher: Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com
Subtitles by InnerSelf
The Missing Element: Inspiring Compassion for the Human Condition
by Debra Silverman.
About the Author
Debra Silverman works on an individual basis as well as in workshops to impart emotional wisdom through a simplified language that describes the qualities of Water, Air, Earth and Fire. She received an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. She trained at York University and studied Dance Therapy at Harvard. Find out more at DebraSilvermanAstrology.com.