Being the “Silent Observer”


I find it quite helpful at times to be the observer of my mind, thoughts and feelings, watching them pass like a movie and not giving them any attention (just as we learn in meditation). This helps us to not get attached and to control our reactive process. And even though Swamiji mentioned the term “silent observer” in his book “Demystifying Patanjali,” I would very much like to know if Master recommended this technique and if it is in tune with the teachings. Thank you.

—Carina , Europe


Dear Carina,

Paramhansa Yogananda did indeed recommend this technique of being the “silent observer.” He taught that in meditation, specifically in the Hong-Sau Technique, to emphasize this approach. He also encouraged this approach when we are involved in the various activities of daily life.

His quote, “be calmly active and actively calm” expresses this point of being centered in the calm, undisturbed essence within, while being actively engaged. It also refers to being in the “active” watchful state while in meditation.

In his poem, “Samadhi,” from his book of prayers and poems, Whispers From Eternity, Yogananda offers these words to describe this watchful state of being the silent observer:

Samadhi but extends my conscious realm
Beyond the limits of the mortal frame
To farthest boundary of eternity
Where I, the Cosmic Sea,
Watch the little ego floating in me.

Nayaswami Pranaba