The arguing kids are too much to deal with now and I don’t know what to do about the irritation I feel because of the wet newspaper. All I can do right now is observe this irritation and feel it in my gut.

Part of this entry pertains to the pain of the moment. This is discussed in the next entry, but here we will focus on observation. This ability was discussed in the last section and I have brought it up once again because of its significance. This individual is developing the power to observe his environment. On the surface, this may appear to be insignificant, but in a practice such as emotional self-mastery, the ability to observe one’s own actions and reactions is paramount to effective practice.

We must develop the capacity to be present in the moment as often as we can. We must learn to be present to our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. This sense of presence gives us the power to manage these three areas of our lives with more efficiency. When we think, feel, or act unconsciously we are little more than robots performing our programmed functions throughout the day.
You are the entity using the human instrument of thought, feeling, and activity. Without your conscious presence, the instrument—through the conditioning of the social order—carries out its duties with almost no input from you, the supposed manager of the instrument. So there is no way to practice when-which-how unless YOU are present, consciously aware, and able to direct, manage, and observe the results of your self-initiated expressions of the heart virtues. So, the statement: “All I can do right now is observe this irritation and feel it in my gut,” is not such a futile activity as it first appears. If our practitioner was unable to observe the presence of irritation, how could he even begin to remedy this lack of emotional self-control?

This does, however, bring up another more subtle issue. This is the initial difficulty of increased sensitivity without the ability to be present and observe it. Through our work with the virtues, our individual energetic bodies (human instrument) are being imprinted with more intense energetics. Therefore, we need to try our best to observe this increased sensitivity of our individual energetic fields to these incoming forces.

A simple analogy might be that of parents with a newborn baby. While the baby is still an infant it requires care and an increased sensitivity on our part. The infant can be placed in a playpen or crib and it will be relatively secure and will require less observation than a two year old. The two year old is walking and climbing. It requires not only sensitivity, but a greatly increased amount of observation on the parents’ part. A more sophisticated, mobile, and curious child requires increased observation so that we can manage the child’s higher, more intense energies. The parents’ conscious presence becomes of prime importance.

The same holds true for our practice. Our responsibilities increase as the power of our energetics increase. We must be consciously present to observe and manage their use.