The object determines the subject

shira's picture

Average: 4.8 (22 votes)

(The beauty of the following is that it's not a theory, you can try it by yourself)

The observed object determines the observing subject.

What you observe can not be you. Once you observe it and accept it, your identification with the object breaks and the "I", the subject, is reduced to being what it was before minus the object.

This is the art of awareness, To observe more and more, to find more and more things you were resisting and thus suppressing and thus not observing and thus subconsciously being identified with. By doing this, "you", the subject becomes less and less until you are not and then there is no duality of subject-object anymore.

On the way, you will peel in that way the physical world including your body, the senses that sense this world and body and the sensor, you will peel your various emotions and the feeler of the emotions, your various analytical processes and thoughts and the thinker and all other aspects of your mind and the mind itself as subject that are associated with dealing with objects, mental as well as physical, "internal" as well as "external".

Given your current "fat" "I" containing objects you are identified with, you have no many choices other than observing in order to peel the identified objects, in order to minimize into being, into non-duality.

Intellectual inquiry can nor help you in this path to non-duality since you need the mind for that and the mind is also an object you must include in the list of things you must peel. Once you peel it, you can only observe it.

(The beauty of the above is that it's not a theory, you can try it by yourself)

eknutson's picture

A beautiful explanation of

A beautiful explanation of the essence of Being, thank you for your insight and ability to say a truth with such clarity and simplicity.

It is a pleasure to experience the world through your insights.


eknutson | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 13:01
Omkaradatta's picture

In truth...

Maybe it's worth pointing out, maybe not, but in truth there are no subjects or objects. Life is an active interaction, give and take, really One. The split is illusory and in the mind only. Things are happening in 'real-time', and only the mind can freeze things and decide something is divided from something else.

Omkaradatta | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 18:59
Phroggy's picture

I agree, and maybe I should

I agree, and maybe I should take advantage of the opportunity. Hehe.
Noticing that you cannot be what you observe is a very important intuitive insight. Once it is clearly seen, it's not necessary to go through everything you observe to see if it's you. Nothing you can perceive can be what you are.

Ultimately, it can be seen that there is no subject and no object. There is thinking, but no thinker and no thought. There is seeing, but no seer and nothing seen. The subject and object are both assumed.
(The beauty of this is it's not theory, but it is also not something you can try for yourself. It is not a practice but an intuitive insight which requires looking but does not guarantee seeing.)

Phroggy | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 19:19
shira's picture

In the case of 99.99% of the

In the case of 99.99% of the people, realizing that what you perceive is not you is not enough. You need to go further, adopt this realization as a tool and start inspecting mental objects and discriminating using this powerful tool. See by yourself: have you already got enlightened just by realizing that what you perceive is not you?

This was, by the way, the greatness and uniqueness of Ramana Maharshi who didn't stop after uttering "you are not what you observe" and "you are not the individual I" but continued with providing the "Self Enquiry" practical method which calls for observation of "I Thoughts" and then for each one observed realizing that it is not you.

shira | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 22:20
Omkaradatta's picture


"In the case of 99.99% of the people, realizing that what you perceive is not you is not enough."

Where do people get these numbers? ;-).

"You need to go further, adopt this realization as a tool and start inspecting mental objects and discriminating using this powerful tool."

Did ya mean to say that *you* do? If so, that's enough... you are 100% of the people who actually count for something in your spiritual enquiry.

"but continued with providing the "Self Enquiry" practical method which calls for observation of "I Thoughts" and then for each one observed realizing that it is not you."

Self-enquiry is primarily meant to turn the subject back on him/herself. There is no fixed 'technique' for it, other than the general inquiry tool "Who am I?" Nisargadatta's "Just BE-ing" is self-inquiry, too.

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 02:21
shira's picture

No, this is a common and

No, this is a common and unfortunate mistake. Ramana's self enquiry method is MUCH MORE than that. Its power lies in the how. So many people do this mistake of reducing the technique to the "Who Am I" question and consequently get nothing from this system at the end of the day.

A good source to really understand the technique is David Godman's book "Be as you are" and also for those who have a general knowledge:

shira | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 07:46
shira's picture

Exactly. And the purpose of

Exactly. And the purpose of this practice is to help in realizing it.

shira | Sat, 09/13/2008 - 22:14
Omkaradatta's picture

Might I ask (peeling the mind)...

"the mind is also an object you must include in the list of things you must peel. Once you peel it, you can only observe it."

How can you peel the mind altogether? Who is going to do the final peeling? You (the peeler) are part of the mind, aren't you?

All this thrashing about when subsidence, loss of interest in the mind, dispassion, detachment, letting go, giving up, surrendering, etc. is needed. Discrimination, observing the mind (to the aforementioned ends) can be useful, but otherwise you are just separating "me" from "the mind", are you not?

P.S. remember the 'maps vs. territory' discussion? Aren't we still just working within the map department here? You can draw anything on the maps, tear them up into small pieces, divide, subdivide, sub-sub-divide, fold, spindle or mutilate, and it won't bring you to the territory unless/until you want to go there, get tired of dwelling in flat-land. Not to put down your technique here tho, if it's having some results for you.

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 03:39
shira's picture

Instead of analyzing it just

Instead of analyzing the technique just try it and you will get the answers.

shira | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 07:49
Omkaradatta's picture

I don't need to try it

I don't need to try it, as I'm not seeking either to gain anything or get rid of anything.

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 08:59
shira's picture



shira | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 09:37
Omkaradatta's picture

Fair reply...

What else can ya say? ;-). Except maybe to keep silent...

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 09:52
seeker's picture

I agree

Finlay, the young waitress served the cake. The professor wondered to himself whether the cake is delicious. So, loyal to his habit, he started inspecting and analyzing the ingredients and then called the young girl and asked to know exactly how the cake was prepared.

"Taste it, for god's sake," cried the young waitress impatiently. "Take this damn spoon and just try it. You will never know whether it is good or bad by analyzing it".

"Interesting approach," replied the professor, "how come you serve as a simple waitress?".

"You are analyzing again, professor." replied the waitress.

Analysis and rationalization yield nothing except of more intellectual amusement for the mind. This is the very reason why the mind likes so much to analyze, intellectualize and reason - it knows that words pose no danger on it while they convey a deceiving feeling of knowing. This is the reason why the mind is terrified of meditating or of trying such techniques. It prefers to analyze and it will give all tricky reasons why it shouldn't do anything else.

seeker | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 09:12
Omkaradatta's picture

It's worth noting...

"This is the reason why the mind is terrified of meditating or of trying such techniques."

It's worth noting that although folks enjoy sharing techniques and such around here, they must not have worked or the person in question would be 'awakened' already. Nor is there any way the sharer can know if it will work or not - even for them, let alone for everyone. I'm not knocking the sharing itself though.

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 10:04
leo's picture

analysis vs. meditation

I strongly disagree, abandoning doing (including analysis) and just surrendering to the techniques and meditations as if they were automatic escalators is so essential, then things dissolve by themselves. Whatever usage of the mind, including analysis, is a good preliminary step but its value is marginal comparing to techniques and practices (such as the above one) and at some point it is better to leave it aside.

leo | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 10:30
Omkaradatta's picture

I tend to agree...

I actually tend to agree with the prevailing view on this board that practices are better than analysis (although it has its place, particularly direct discrimination between real and imaginary). I sometimes 'play devil's advocate' anyway, and I'll let Sri Ramana explain why:

"There is no greater mystery than this - that being the reality, we seek to gain reality. We think that there is something hiding our reality and that it must be destroyed before reality is gained. It is ridiculous. A day will dawn when you will yourself laugh at your past efforts. That which will be on the day you laugh is also here and now."

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 10:54
Omkaradatta's picture

Hey... :-)

It's spiritually incorrect to ask 'personal' questions, but why the avatar with a mean looking guy wearing a hood? ;-).

Omkaradatta | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 12:12
seeker's picture

because this way he can

because this way he can practice asking himself "who is it that wears the hood?" :-)

seeker | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 09:54
Phroggy's picture

Any description can be

Any description can be dismissed as theory and rationalization when it's not understood or seen. What disturbs me is that there is rarely any discussion here, just declarations of wrongness and instructions as to what should be done to correct that.

Somebody spends a lot of time trying to point to something, and it's dismissed with "Just try it" or "Why theorize about it?" or "You're over analyzing it"

I'm seeing Zombies again; folks locked into their own ego plan for self realization, designed to prevent the very thing they pretend to seek. Anyone that threatens ego's plan of Truth avoidance is dismissed, insulted, degraded, corrected, patted on the head and sent off to perform some ignorance eradicating excercise.

All of spirituality is an ego circus strategically designed to avoid the very thing we're looking for. What are we looking for? Something that can't be found. Something that is already here. Something that requires no knowledge, no effort, no seeking. Something that is literally what we are and couldn't hide if it wanted to. How far do we have to travel to get where we are? How much do we have to learn to realize what we are? What sort of methods does it require to become what we can't possibly avoid being? Right now, mind is thinking, "Fine, but how do I realize that?". More avoidance, more misdirection.

I'm suggesting all effort is avoidance effort, and noticing that might save 100 lifetimes in the quest to become what you are already. Yes, yes, I know. That's my ignorant theory resulting from too much analysis and rationalization, and what I need to do is try more practices and techniques, and then I'll learn me sumthin. I see Zombies.

Phroggy | Sun, 09/14/2008 - 17:29
Omkaradatta's picture

It's strange...

It's strange that there are so many on this forum 'into' techniques (who don't enjoy discussing much), where the situation is pretty much the opposite on the Yahoo groups. There must be a mental conditioning involved -- "like minded" people tend to congregate in certain places, with the result being sameness, lack of variety, difficulty introducing anything new. This is the way the mind/ego works. It's a dead, static thing, tending to move completely to one dualistic pole and avoiding the other.

I too am seeing some avoidance of discussion around here, but it hardly matters... there are other places on the Net to discuss, and those interested in both can frequent more than one website.

Omkaradatta | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 16:44
shond's picture

we are addicted to textual stimulus

I see it as a big advantage of this place and of the people here. This is probably why I feel drawn to here. There is hardly any bullshit here (vs. the abundance of bla bla, ego fights and repetitiveness in yahoo groups, for example).

no new stuff??? I find here a LOT of new (quality) stuff, sometimes introduced and explained in a more organized and clearer way than in most of the spiritual books I have read. Actually, some of the blog posts here are remarkably inspiring.

I don't see the point in conducting endless discussions (other than having a social entertainment which is fine and cool but not the main thing, at least for me).

Probably this is the right proportion of discussions required. After all, it is the mind that wants these discussions and gets addicted to them as it gets addicted to any textual stimulus and amusement. There is indeed some need for discussions and instructions, especially to have the mind satisfied so that it won't disturb later and will feel that it is still in control by "understanding" and mainly to have orientation for "moving on" into practice and disappearance but that's it. Beyond this, i am afraid it may pose a dangerous and tricky hindrance as the mind just gets stronger by these mental activities. No wonder why gurus emphasize so much the importance of practice and meditating over conceptualizing and intellectualizing.

shond | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 19:02
Omkaradatta's picture

Rejecting the mind...


"You must think it all out for yourself, become yourself the object of your meditation. The effort to understand yourself is Yoga. Be a Yogi, give your life to it, brood, wonder, search, till you come to the root of error and to the truth beyond the error."

"Question, observe, investigate, learn all you can about confusion, how it operates, what it does to you and others. By being clear about confusion you become clear of confusion."

"You believe the world to be objective, while it is entirely a projection of your psyche. That is the basic confusion and no new explosion will set it right. You have to think yourself out of it. There is no other way." -- from I Am That

There is a place for thinking (a.k.a. contemplation) and a place for meditation in spirituality. After all, we are discriminating between the real and false. The mind will not shut up until convinced of its own uselessness. If you believe the false to be real, no amount of meditation will change that belief.

If you automatically assume everything is intellectualizing and analysis, you are setting yourself against the mind, which will merely rebel and start thinking even more. Don't be fooled by the 'egos' into believing there is no place for contemplation. Rather, contemplate rightly. Don't reject the mind, or it will just become your enemy.

Life is supremely active, unafraid, free, fully here/now. There is a temptation to retreat into a safe, repetitive, sleepy spiritual activity. There is also a temptation to be egoic, think too much. The way is narrow; allow your approach to be balanced, as though walking a tightrope.

Omkaradatta | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 22:29
Phroggy's picture

Very well said. I just got

Very well said. I just got through posting something similar myself. Some guru said 'Don't be afraid to think', and I'm remembering Jed Mckenna said, 'People don't know how to think.'

Phroggy | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 23:53
sonti's picture

People don't know how not to think

It's the opposite: people don't know how not to think. They are mastering the "art" of thinking too well and so does this who hides behind the name Jed Mckenna who is afraid to touch anything which is metaphysical like any other secular.

sonti | Tue, 12/15/2009 - 21:21
Psiplex's picture


True dat

One Love

Psiplex | Tue, 10/14/2008 - 06:23
banana's picture

excellent, excellent

excellent, excellent tale.

These is a similar tale by Osho for the same purpose (to make his listeners drop the addiction to analysis and start trying and experiencing) - when the doctor prescribes you a medicine, you heal not by reading about the medicine but by simply taking it.

banana | Mon, 09/15/2008 - 09:51
dhorai's picture

the theory is told many times as neti or na iti!

shira ur face shines like realised being.....
good luck in ur journey.....
can u join learn ur yoga course on miracles....
or vibhuti pada or just rain cloud of dharma in pracitise...
u need to feel high.....
u r wothy of more...
with love

dhorai | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 22:16
shira's picture


Thank you dhorai for your kind words...

But don't let the looks fool you, nor the words ( = input of the senses & intellect).

I truly don't feel a need for anything more right now... Much obliged! :-)

shira | Thu, 12/25/2008 - 23:17
Mind's picture

i dont know whats happening

i dont know whats happening here but what i feel is that we should not go against our mind.Mind is so innocent that it makes your every belief true.You have been feeding it beliefs since u r born so naturally it is accustomed to it.Now tell your mind that all beliefs are may not agree at once it takes time be patient love your mind .Mind may act spontaneously bcoz beliefs became a habit and habits die hard.Tender care and awareness is required.

Mind | Fri, 02/13/2009 - 12:51
genep's picture

Subject v's Object

"The observed object determines the observing subject."

The Monism or "non-duality" of Advaita tells us the observer is the observation.
The best Physicists can do is to tell us "the Observer determines the observation."
since the observer is the observation it can make no difference who gets credit for observing -- the observer or the observation, object.

In its Simplicity: the "Mind" is the "totality of thoughts," -- ie The Universe.

that the individual mind/body is separate from the rest of the universe is unmitigated fiction, illusion, pure academic, scientific and religious, and especially spiritual, bullshyt.
if a mind is to do anything productive to reach so called "realization" -- it should focus all its efforts on accumulating all this bullshyt it can until it becomes overwhelming ... and then it has to be discarded.

when this discarding of bullshyt becomes an addiction the individual-mind will have no choice but to sooner or later self-destruct or vanish into the totality of thoughts:
with the realization that the individual-mind has never been separate from anything because it has always been: the totality of thoughts, the Universe.
-- O'no

genep | Fri, 04/17/2009 - 15:16

subject v's object

trio in one that is observation------ observer, the observed, observing but remains as one that is observation annihilating the dual element of observer and the observed; how's it,s processed?

NIDHI PARKASH | Wed, 07/14/2010 - 05:46
dora's picture

Arrived at the same conclusion

I independently arrived at the very same conclusion. The observed object determines the observing subject and not vice versa as we are used to think.

The subject is the complementary to the object observed. When all that is is observed as one, the subject disappears.

When you observe a certain object, look after some time also at the "I" that observes. You will realize that as you expand the object observed on the expense of the "I" (neti neti), automatically the parts that are now included in the observed are torn from the center, from the subject, from the "I".

dora | Mon, 09/07/2009 - 22:49
yeshcheraz's picture

Brilliant and important

This is brilliant because we tend to think that the subject determines the object (I, the subject, cognizes something and conceptualize it as an object) but as shown in this post, it is all the way around.

yeshcheraz | Fri, 05/06/2011 - 11:43
sisi's picture

Plus, the finer the object, the finer the subject

I totally agree, this is a revolutionary aspect of the post. Plus, the finer the object, the finer the subject. You can sense it, for example, in Vipassana - with time, the sensations that you sense are more delicate and refined and if you are diligent you can notice that so are you at that time.

sisi | Fri, 03/28/2014 - 08:00