Remember laying on your back as a kid, and watching the clouds without trying to change them, control them, or pass judgment on them? These are the very same qualities we look for in the practice of Detached Observation. This was J. Krishnamurti's favorite form of meditation, and the following description is based upon his work. There are only three rules to follow:

* Let go of control. Let the mind wander where it wants, or let it sit still... it is all the same.

* Pay attention. Do not fall asleep or let the mind wander off by itself.

* Do not judge. Whatever the mind is doing is real. Accept it dispassionately, neither take credit for good thoughts or blame for bad thoughts. Watch the mind carefully, as if from a distance, like a child watching clouds.

This practice will give you insights into the inner workings of your own mind. Let the mind wander where it will, without any interference, but stay with it always, watching from a distance. This practice will encourage a creative, spontaneous and "alive" mind whose spirit is unbroken.

Between each thought is a pause... a drop of silence. See if you can become aware of these moments of silence between thoughts and then focus on them. Gradually these moments of silence will become longer pauses, and come more frequently until you learn to tap into the silent source of all thoughts at will.

This technique is slower than some, and harder, but worth the extra time and trouble. It is like breaking a horse gently with love by winning it's trust, rather than breaking it's spirit with force until it submits to your will (Quicker but violent). *Note - this form of meditation can be done anywhere, at any time, with the eyes open or closed.

Think about the qualities you would look for in an ideal friend or lover. Imagine someone who allows you the freedom to be yourself, who pays attention to you, and does not judge you, but rather accepts you unconditionally. In the presence of such a person can you not see that you would flourish and do well, as opposed to someone who tried to control you, or did not pay attention to you, or judged you?

Now think about your relationship to your own mind! Do you try to control it? Do you ignore it often slipping into semiconscious? Do you judge it as good or bad? If you answer yes to any of these questions then you have a less than the ideal relationship to your own mind. Detached observation teaches you to become your own best friend. It gives you the key to knowing yourself. It creates a healthy relationship between the observer and the observed in the realm of your own mind and leads to healing and illumination.

Of all of the forms of meditation I have studied, Detached Observation Meditation is my favorite... and the best part is, you cannot do it wrong! After all, wrong implies there is a right way to do it and requires judgment which is not part of the exercise. If you find yourself judging yourself during this meditation, and realize it, do not try to stop judging yourself, as that is an act of control, which is not part of this exercise. If you are unable to stop yourself from controlling yourself so as not to judge yourself, do not judge yourself for your inability to control your judgment.... And so it goes, round and round chasing its own tail until the mind collapses exhausted, and catches a glimpse of itself in the mirror of self-awareness.

There is a simple formula for spiritual growth... Awareness and acceptance. Through acceptance of reality we become more aware, which requires additional acceptance which permits more awareness to flow through the iris of the 'I'. This is a positive spiral of illumination.

If you do not accept reality, then you reject it! And if you reject reality, are you not rejecting God? If you reject reality, what is left? Illusion! This is the choice, to live in a world of illusion and self delusion, or to move out into the world of awareness through continuing acceptance.

This is the same formula as detached observation... awareness of one's own mind, and acceptance, leading to greater awareness and in turn demanding more acceptance... as we slowly learn to love ourselves and the universe around us.

Two of my favorite yoga teachers, Rodney Yee, and Erick Schiffman, are both influenced by the teachings of J. Krishnamurti. Follow this link for a story about Detached Observation and Rodney Yee.

Author's Bio: 

Charles is registered with the Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT-500 hour level and T-500, the highest level of registration currently available. He is co-founder and instructor with the Living Yoga Teacher Training Program, and co-founder of the Texas Yoga Retreat.

Charles is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is registered with the Independent Yoga Network's Yoga Register operating in Europe.

Charles has practiced yoga since 1971. Since 1989 when he began teaching yoga full time he was worked with over 12,000 students. He currently offers retreats in Texas, Massachusetts, Mexico and Guatemala. Visit our website for more essays, and information on retreats and workshops.