Thought Free Living Series: The Magic of Observation #TFL1



OPD – Observe, Point, Dissolve. 3 steps to cure any dis-ease. 3 steps to dissolve any pain. 3 steps to resolve any problem. Such is the insightful observation of not just one but several gurus from the beginning of time, few of which I have been reading recently. And as I practice it, I notice that there is a depth to it which is widely unappreciated. Even though I have only touched it’s precipice, I have grasped it’s significance. And it works! I can vouch for that. In fact, I highly recommend incorporating this habit into your lifestyle and making it into a daily practice.

It’s like a workout – running or flexing muscles in the gym – the more you do it the more powerful it’s effect. And, very slowly and gradually you will see that you are more present, more peaceful, more free from all crappy-tivity (stress, judgment, doubt, fear, negativity etcetera) which serves no purpose but that of bringing one down.

“..such a practice can help you to be better at everything..”

Terms like peacefulness, mindfulness, meditation, may seem overused these days, in books, lectures, advertisements and other places.  But their immense benefits can only be felt and experienced once you undertake on any such practice – be it OPD, yoga, meditation or anything else. In fact, OPD is a sort of 3-part meditation as follows:

  • Observation – First you feel your mental and physical state, the emotions, sensations your mind and body is going through at any moment. It could be the time when you feel stressed, excited, in pain, feeling low or any other phase you go through daily.
  • Pointing – Now you acknowledge that feeling, the emotion and the sensation it brings, however negative, stressing or discomforting it may be. Once you recognize the presence of it then you get a sense of control or rather a stillness which assures you that you can choose to not let that feeling take control of you and affect you.This could be a negative thought that could lead to you lashing out at someone, an emotional impulse which incites you to react harshly to someone’s argument, an urge to do something like overindulging and bingeing on stuff or giving in to any addiction you are trying hard to quit.And this leads you to the third point of the OPD paradigm.
  • Dissolution – Once you watch and observe your mind and body as it goes through the phase, this happens. It just happens. Like, on its own. The emotion, feeling, sensation, good or bad, will dissolve. Try it. It could take some time to pass, but it passes on and then you can be in your default state.

The ones that led me to this concept are in fact several great thinkers and leaders of our time. I have been reading several books on meditation and spirituality, and across multiple books belonging to this genre, the authors speak about the same practice. The ones which I have read quite recently and remember are – Eckhart Tolle, Osho and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Eckhart Tolle:  Throughout his book, The Power of Now, the author/spiritual leader, emphasizes on the importance of being in the now, which is the present moment. To highlight the importance of present moment awareness, he suggests several ways, one of which includes observing the mind and by doing so, freeing it from the non-essential attention-unworthy mental chatter.

The present moment is sometimes unacceptable, unpleasant, or awful. It is as it is. Observe how the mind labels it and how this labeling process, this continuous sitting in judgment, creates pain and unhappiness. By watching the mechanics of the mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and you can then allow the present moment to be. This will give you a taste of the state of inner freedom from external conditions, the state of true inner peace. Then see what happens, and take action if necessary or possible.

Osho: Osho in his book, Meditation, suggests the idea of being a watcher of your self and goes on further to explain the immeasurable rewards accompanied with it.

The first step in awareness is to be very watchful of your body. Slowly, slowly one becomes alert about each gesture, each movement. And as you become aware, a miracle starts happening: many things that you used to do before simply disappear; your body becomes more relaxed, your body becomes more attuned.

H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the book, Buddha – The Manifestation of Silence, Ravi Shankar shares stories of Buddha’s life and through them he emphasizes the importance of silent observation and how the Enlightened One himself walked the path by following this principle and how he passed them on to his followers.

A certain, specific part of the body resonates with a definite emotion, and when you observe the sensation, the emotion disappears and dissolves on its own. When you know this, you then see that the body and consciousness are separate. As you continue observing, you see that you are simply linking a sensation with an outside event or emotion, and as you continue observing the sensation, the emotion disappears.

In relevance to modern day’s productivity driven lifestyle what such a practice brings to the table is: clarity and better alignment.

  • Clarity in the sense that as you observe, you begin to notice when and where you are straying away from your main goals and getting sidetracked by small yet time and energy consuming distractions.
  • Alignment in the sense that as you begin to observe the unnecessary things you have habituated yourself into doing, you can begin to gradually weed them out of your life and align yourself to your those few vital things that matter to you most.

On a personal level, such a practice can help you to be better at everything from relationships to dealing with problems – getting better at communication, not getting into senseless arguments, being more thoughtful, developing better relationships, managing stress more effectively and de-cluttering yourself. Doing such practices is like allowing yourself to pass through a sieve and separating the psychological lumps that drag you down.

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P.S. I have been reading these books and following the practices suggested in them. It has been a really unique and liberating experience. It gives you a clearer mindset as it not only frees you from the shackles of the past but also rescues you from the worries of the future. And in having this clarity, there is a lot more you can do.  

P.S.S. I love it how each one (several great thinkers leaders across various books) points to the same truth – the realization of the self – which underscores the importance of it. And as simple and straightforward these techniques are, the main nugget of wisdom to take away from them would be that this is one of the several ways to attain what you are seeking. These are just signposts to guide you and they would definitely lead you to your destination which may be a goal, a milestone, or a dream, but this is the eternal truth-

You are the source, you are the stillness and the fulfillment you are seeking, you are the peacefulness that you so desire, you are already there, because all of it, you embody and are born with, but you need to remember and realize that. And once you recognize that you are the point where you want to get to, your life will take a turn for good.

P.S.S.S. The OPD coinage was a result of my experimentation with this practice which I learned from these guys. I thought of this term while I was trying to observe my habits, behaviors and thought patterns and working with them to become better at self-management. So it is just a modern interpretation of an age-old truth which I only recently stumbled upon.

Ad Infinitum Get your hands on any of the above books to get a better idea of this concept and experience the change yourself.

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