There is a phenomenon whereby, even on an atomic level, particles change and behave differently when being observed. I have experienced this firsthand as a dancer, we dance differently when we are being watched, our senses are heightened and we ‘listen’ and ‘perform’ in a different way.
As I journey from a more external practise of performing to the more internal practise of Yoga, the question of observation comes up again but on a different level. Now the invitation has become to observe oneself purely from within, to witness the fluctuations and shifts from the inside.
But who is observing?
And what effect does this self-observation have?
Does this observing change the experience?
True wisdom unfolds via the experiential realm, so it is vital to go beyond dry theories and hypotheses. When we experience something profoundly with our own body and being it is assimilated in such a way that it becomes part of our everlasting internal terrain.
This refined level of observation has the power to change our habitual modes of being, and through this awareness we have the liberty to choose how to respond, rather than being blinded by habits or conditioning. Then we can choose to what means we use our powers of observation, and that becomes very interesting…
The etymological roots of the word observe are from the Latin servare: to attend to, protect and watch over. Thus, hidden within the act of observing is also the intimate act of serving, and this brings about some important questions...
Whom or what am I serving when I practise?
To whom or what am I offering myself up?
What am I attending to when I practise?
Is the practise a purely physical endeavour or does it transcend this and become an offering to the Universe? Each time we practice is an invitation to abandon our personal agendas and offer ourselves to the Divine. When we offer ourselves up in this way we become a vector for the sacred will of the Universe and as such we serve the atemporal unfolding of existence in a positive way. By attending to our practice in this way we nurture, refine and cultivate ourselves, giving sense to our lives by feeling that we have a place in the larger scheme of things.