Observe without Desires

Reference: The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness

Mindfulness provides the discipline for looking and contemplation.

You may do this exercise while sipping coffee in a café, or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed. Then patiently observe the world go by.

Mindfulness is “seeing things as they are.” Expectations can act as filter and prevent one from recognizing what is actually there. For example, you may see a person in priestly robes and trust him implicitly because you expect him to be a man of God. But he may be a crook who can take you for a ride. Thus, expectations may add extraneous thoughts and conclusions that do not reflect what is actually there.

Uncontrolled thinking comes about when one is trying to predict what may happen tomorrow without first recognizing fully what is there. One wants answers; but answers do not come from ungrounded speculations. Only when you know what is there can you hypothesize in a reasonable and consistent manner. As one continues to observe without filters of expectations and desires, answers present themselves.


PURPOSE: Observe without getting influenced by your expectations and desires.

  1. Observe as usual. Notice the environment and other people.

  2. As you observe, see if there are any expectations or desire to predict something that may be influencing your observation. Spot them one by one.

    Example: You may see a person in priestly robes and trust him implicity because you expect him to be a man of God. But he may be a crook who can take you for a ride. Reference: “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him”

  3. Don’t suppress those expectations and desires. Simply become aware of them, and then move on.

  4. As you observe, see if there are any extraneous thoughts arising in your mind. Spot any expectations and desires underlying them that are influencing the observation.

  5. Don’t suppress them. Simply become aware of them, and move on.

  6. As you observe, see if there is any uncontrolled thinking going on in your mind.  Notice the possible scenarios that the mind is trying to predict.

  7. Don’t suppress them. Simply become aware of them, and move on.

  8. As you observe, see if there is any unanswered question. Notice any speculations that the mind might be entertaining.

  9. Don’t suppress them. Simply become aware of them, and move on.

  10. Expand your span of attention and let the perceptions pour in.

  11. Let the realizations present themselves to you without you making any effort.

  12. Use your own judgment as to when to end a session.


Develop this exercise to a point where you are doing it naturally even while interacting socially with others. Keep observing patiently without expecting anything, or attempting to get an answer. Many things may come up naturally to be scrutinized. Simply observe them and become aware of them without effort.


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  • vinaire  On July 30, 2014 at 5:59 AM

    I have updated the introduction and revised this exercise to make it more clear. An example.is provided for this purpose.


  • Mark N Roberts  On August 11, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    While doing this exercise at a local shopping ctr., I found my willingness or perhaps obsession to evaluate my surroundings slip away. This was disconcerting at first, until I realized that both seeing things as they are, and evaluating the current environment are both essential tools for living. But obsessive, unconscious evaluation is an outpoint.
    This exercise alternated with quickly and accurately evaluating my environment produce a confidence and ease which I found very enjoyable.


  • vinaire  On September 4, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    Here is an old observation about acknowledgements that I want to highlight. Acknowledgements have been taken to a ridiculous length in Scientology.


    I am going to write frankly from what I understand of the axioms.

    End of a cycle occurs only when something is totally understood, and that would be as-isness. A cycle could be made up of many smaller cycles, each of which containing a part of that understanding.

    Understanding occurs when something is recognized for what it is. You know that you have recognized it. That is an acknowledgement in itself. There is no need to tell yourself that you have recognized it. That would be an additive.

    It makes sense to acknowledge another person by saying “thank you,” “good,” etc., because he is not in intimate contact with your mind. But, to treat yourself in the same way seems to me that some basic understanding about acknowledgement is missing.

    To me, a recognition of something for what it is, is itself an acknowledgement. Saying “thank you,” “good,” etc., to oneself is simply using a via that slows one down.



  • vinaire  On September 4, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    What is happening when one recognizes things as they are?

    The things don’t vanish as the concept of “as-isness” in Scientology emphasizes. Nor should they be expected to vanish.

    What vanishes is a little bit of the filter one is looking through. It is that little bit of “alter-isness” that vanishes.

    Recognizes things as they are is a gradient process. The clarity comes about little bit at a time. A massive bit of clarity seem to come about too now and then. But that is still a part of the overall gradient.

    Where does it all end? You don’t want to know that in advance. Haha.


  • vinaire  On September 4, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    The cycle of looking at any stage is completed when attention automatically moves away from that area.



  • vinaire  On September 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    In mindfulness, one is bringing into view existing considerations and looking at them. One is not thinking.

    When thinking, one is associating the considerations with each another. This is the activity of the filter. It is judging, evaluating, labeling, etc.

    When investigating, it is more like looking with mindfulness. One is looking at the considerations as well as at the associations among them.

    When perceiving with mindfulness, one starts to look at that the perceptions more closely for what they are.

    One starts to become aware of how the perceptions are being “colored.”

    In doing so one starts to become aware of the filter one is looking through.

    Therein lies the secret of mindfulness.


  • natrajdikshidar  On September 27, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    Reblogged this on notestoseekers.


  • Anonymous  On February 1, 2017 at 10:05 AM

    This exercise helped me learn how to questions my assumptions in a very aware manner. I have always tried to be aware and question my assumptions, but this type of meditation really helps to evaluate what my assumptions are and how to be an observer instead of someone constantly evaluating and putting my learned and preconceived notions on people, places, and things…..:) Diane

    Liked by 1 person

    • vinaire  On February 1, 2017 at 7:30 PM

      Great Diane! This is a very interesting feedback.


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