Category Archives: Observer State

Which One Is the Real You?

Powerful Mind Part 20 
Created July 21, 2023 

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Read Powerful Mind 19

There can be a feeling of having lost one’s bearings when you’ve interrupted your ongoing persona, the consistent automatic System 1 process of carrying forward your own personal (necessarily somewhat infantile and childlike) coping patterns installed early in your life, without enough System 2 chipping in its own ideas back then.

At least before your new renaissance, it was easy to get through the day, and now that you are reconsidering everything in a new light, you may be stumped in the moment how to react.

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman established these two constructs, System 1 and System 2. In System 1 the gut (controlled by the cerebellum) makes low-attention snap decisions, often based on precedent, engaging what Jung called the feelings and intuitions, what Freud called the subconscious, and which current psychology often refers to as the implicit mind. In System 2, the conscious mind (controlled by the frontal cortex) is employing focused attention to dissect options and make a decision, corresponding to what Jung and many others called thinking, reason, or the intellect, and current psychology refers to as explicit thought.

In our theory, we further divide System 1 into Flow state, Observer state, and Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP). Flow state happens automatically and one’s actions flow effortlessly as if doing themselves. This is high effectiveness System 1. Observer state can emerge within System 1 until it evokes System 2 Observer state, which occurs as soon as the Observing self begins to interpret what it observes. All three of these states, which vary enormously in their effectiveness, can therefore occur within System 1. And all three effectiveness states can also occur within System 2.

What this means on a practical level is that one needs to quickly discriminate between the things that one does automatically that work well, and those which do not work well. If you are reacting automatically and things are going smoothly and you feel no sense of dilemma or negativity, it is probably Flow state. If you have an impulse to do something which is habitual but something inside tickles you with a subtle fleeting warning hunch and you are paying enough attention to catch it and hold back the impulse at least momentarily, you are probably in Observer state.

It is normal when you are shifting out of consistency with your past accumulated coping habits, and you are being real with positivity and constructiveness, there will be times when you wonder how to be real when you don’t really know the true you. You have memories of taking strong sides with one thing or another and you are now a bit unmoored from those presumed certainties, which is a good thing when you are reconsidering everything. But for a while you could find yourself without a clear enough concept of what you stand for, what you’re here for, what purpose you are called to serve in this life. All of that wondering and uncertainty is a good thing. Something to welcome in with gratitude. It means you have grown up from the practices automatically formed back when you knew ever so little. You are ready to redefine your compass and where you are going. We will talk much more about this when we get to Key #5, however here in the midst of installing Key #3, the process starts of rediscovering your dream destiny.

The real you is the way you were awed and inspired by things when you were very young, and there were certain types of things that you loved doing, which are evidence of your true mission in this life, the gifts that you have to bring to the world. Letting your memories go back as far as you can and looking for the most positive memories is a very pleasant way of getting the job done. Clues from your positive experiences will tell you who is the real you, what your heart desires for you to spend the rest of your life doing.

It’s normal once you’ve recaptured some of the essence of your calling that two things will happen that seem part of the good stuff but are actually relapses to EOP:

    1. You envision your success at doing your thing, and the trappings of success become more important to you than the joy of carrying out your métier. This is merely a more clandestine way of still being trapped in attachment to external outcomes, wealth, fame, respect, an overflow of aspirants for your affections, power, control, security, status, social acceptance. Remember: The joy of the mission is enough in itself to make your life a happy one that adds to the happiness of others, even if there is scant evidence of your having significant external effects.
    2. You perceive that the new life you wish to make for yourself competes for time with the things that you have been doing which are tangential or irrelevant or even at odds with the life you want to now live. This strikes you as a frustrating dilemma, bringing you down into EOP. Remember: You may not notice you are in EOP so make sure to recall  that a sense of dilemma is a clear indication of EOP. You want to set that aside and consider things from a detached viewpoint that is not dependent on external things, i.e. you want to slip back into the Observer state.

From the Observer state you can creatively solve the issues about how do you phase in your new life as the real you, and dial down the EOP life you have been living. This is a practical matter because we need money to live in the world as it is today and has been for all of recorded history (which goes back a very short time distance). If you yearn to spend your days doing X, you’ll have to start by using evenings and weekends for X, and it will take some time to begin to be able to make money in a new way, so again, the only way to win is to be independent of any dependencies on external outcomes, and simply enjoy the happiness of doing more of what you really want to do, even if it never gets anywhere in terms of public acclaim. This will be the beginnings of your becoming established in the real you.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,

Powerful Mind Pt. 9

Created May 5, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

To read Powerful Mind Pt. 8, click here.

EOP=Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. Corresponds to a mild panic reaction which can be sustained for a lifetime.

Ways to Enter the Observer State at Auspicious Moments

  • Waking up, just before you open your eyes. Catch yourself if you start the EOP inner dialog. Observe the thoughts and feelings that arise without taking ownership of them. Treat them as coming from elsewhere, not as true expressions of your own positions on things. They are ideas you may or may not decide to accept after due consideration.
  • Whenever you are alone during the day. On buses and trains and planes, while driving (with your primary attention on safety), and during bio-breaks.
  • If at all possible, a daily meditation period. Twenty minutes at the end of the business day for example, or whenever works for you. The other moments described here are especially valuable if you cannot manage to squeeze in these twenty-minute daily vacations, which are however of even higher value.
  • When you close your eyes to go to sleep.
  • Any time during the day when you feel challenged. Before responding, take as many moments as possible to breathe, feel the ground under you, and observe yourself and what is going on around you. Even if you feel negative emotions, phrase your responses as impartial objective observations of relevant fact, without seeming to care about outcomes. “Pretending convincingly” is a way to accelerate actually becoming the person you are, since your ego in EOP does not believe in your authenticity and tends to dwarf your spirit.
  • As many other times of the day as possible when you remember that the objective is to stay in the Observer state. Don’t beat yourself up for forgetting, just observe yourself and what is happening around you. Beating yourself up would just be more EOP activity.

Our work is motivated by the hypothesis that as more of us are able to stay longer in the most effective states of consciousness, all of the other problems of the world will tend to be solved as a result. If you think this is a stretch, look at what Gandhi was able to accomplish in India, a bloodless revolution that cast off British rule and softened the conflict between Hindus and Muslims; or what the Rev. Martin Luther King achieved in the South through the power of peaceful protest. These are just two examples of what can be attained with more powerful uses of mind.

Special Case of the Observer State

Buckminster Fuller, a celebrated Twentieth Century innovator and free thinker, wrote that his life really began on the day he decided to commit suicide.

He had been very much in love with a woman who did not feel the same way about him. After trying to forget her and trying many things to start his life anew, without success, he finally decided to end it all.

Then a strange thing happened. As soon as he knew that he was really going to go through with it, suddenly he found himself in a good mood. There was no rush to do the deed. Nothing worried him anymore because he had given up everything in his own mind — in the East they would say in his own heart.

Nothing worried him anymore.

This special case of Observer state, worth reporting here, happens when you hit rock bottom and simply cannot take it anymore, and you give up totally. You surrender.

In those rare moments, if one ever happens to you, take advantage of it.
Don’t miss the opportunity. Feel around inside yourself and see how changed you really are. Note the absence of crippling dependencies, attachments. You have lost that which you were most attached to keeping, and though you’re not happy about it, you are now free of that attachment.

You may have lost several things at once — your job, your new car, your house, your spouse or partner, or some other set of attachments. Whatever it was you lost, what you have gained is more valuable. Especially if you capitalize on it.

When you are down and out, start your life anew. Get your “new” more conscious life off to a good start, and enjoy every moment of it fully. And if you’re feeling fine and want to feel, well, just finer, meditate and use the Powerful Mind techniques described throughout this book whenever possible. Feeling finer is guaranteed.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,



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Powerful Mind Pt. 8

Created April 28, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

To read Powerful Mind Pt. 7, click here.

Observer State

The Observer state is a state most commonly experienced today by meditators. When a meditative state has been achieved, a person is in the Observer state. In this state, the usual background assumptions are not being made. They have been placed on hold. It is as if the person has agreed to set them aside for a while, during which meditation will be practiced.

In the meditative state, when thoughts or feelings arise, the meditator does not take ownership of these thoughts or feelings, but observes them as if they were outside himself or herself. Similarly, if one of the usual background assumptions comes into consciousness, it is observed but with the same kind of detachment. Meditation can be seen as an oasis or taking a mini-vacation from the usual “stuff”.

In this state, one “sees things as they are,” stripped of the usual interpretations of good, bad, or fear-producing. Often this allows brief moments of Flow state in which there are wordless realizations of what causes us to have certain types of recurring dissonant experiences, e.g. being victimized by a boss, hurting one’s spouse, not getting deserved recognition, causing ourselves to fail just when we are close to succeeding, not enjoying each day, doing tasks just to get them over with, and all of the other ways in which we stop ourselves from being happy — along with an awareness of how we invite that recurring experience. These “Aha!” moments are Flow state and could not have reached conscious attention if the person had not created a blank slate on which the mind could write. That in a nutshell is the Observer state.

 The core message of Powerful Mind is that the Observer state need not be limited to periods of meditation, and that it is better to spend as much time as possible in the Observer state, which leads to spending as much time as possible in the Flow state. 

We are not content to merely impart this message, as important as it may be. We are even more concerned with imparting the techniques that will get you there. 

Our assertion is that we all can and should make attaining the higher states of consciousness (Observer state and Flow state) a way of life. Doing so makes us more effective, more creative, makes us more of the individuals that we really are and less like programmed robots, puts us more in touch with love and the life of the spirit, more engaged and present in the moment. We enjoy living large, not in the sense of being materially rich showoffs, but in the sense of being enriched by the moment-to-moment wonders of being alive.  Making the attainment of higher consciousness a way of life leads to success in everything else. That’s why placing higher consciousness in the forefront of our moment-to-moment attention is so valuable.

The Chattering Mind Is Not The Whole Self

Chatter in the mind is another differentiator between EOP and the Observer state. In EOP, the inner dialog is more or less constant. In the Observer state, this talking to oneself attenuates and eventually disappears completely. In its place arises a process of thought that is much faster and much more attentive to subtleties. Ultimately, one can see each thought or feeling as it arises, before it is turned into words, and so there is no longer the necessity of turning it into words to explain it. 

Often in discussions of how to meditate one hears “first you must still the mind”. This is not bad advice, but those words alone do not automatically equip the meditator to achieve such stillness. In Powerful Mind, you will learn simple methods to achieve such stillness. For example, instead of trying to force stillness directly, you will be guided to observe your mind as if from outside. This has two effects: firstly, it provides a certain detachment or distance: you are looking at the mind’s content more like lab specimens under a microscope. Secondly, as you start to use words in your mind you notice it immediately and stop in mid-sentence.  Our technique is operational, action-oriented. The reader is equipped with an actionable strategy that in the end achieves the stillness so difficult to achieve directly, except by experienced meditators. 

What does the Observer state have to do with creative effectiveness? We hypothesize that the Observer state is a more efficient and effective information processing mode. It is characterized by no delays caused by putting things into words. Instead, the mind gets the point of each thought while it is still an unformed feeling or image in your mind, before the energy of translating it into words is expended. The intellect races ahead on an accelerated basis and everything in our internal and external experience is apprehended simultaneously and in relative perspective. Wisdom is more likely to occur. Wisdom is the tendency to right action. Right action is effectiveness.

In this state we call Mindquiet — an aspect of the Observer state — the mind moves from idea to idea so much faster that one often feels the desire to write down a “breadcrumb trail” (the metaphor in the Hansel and Gretel story) so as to remember the many important discoveries made. Whether you call this “journaling” or simply “taking notes”, the best way to do this is to use the fewest possible words, or else you will lose the Observer state and wind up back in EOP. We call these “trigger words”, the one or two words that will bring back the whole idea. 

Because you are likely to have many new and valuable ideas about yourself while reading Powerful Mind, and especially in applying its techniques in your own life, we suggest you always carry a writing implement, whether paper and pen or an electronic device.

In the Observer state, one has temporarily suspended preferences about outcomes. Again, it is like a vacation. You may still care a lot (perhaps too much) about making more money or whatever, but you have parked those desires for a while. It is like re-opening your mind for the sake of a temporary experiment, a “what-if” period, a game that you are playing. You reserve the right to come back later and re-instate the drive to make money, or whatever, but for now it is “unlocked” instead of “locked in”.  

With the chronic dilemmas set aside, fear and the mantle of self-protectiveness — the egocentric “defender” state — drops away in an autonomic cascade. One is simply observing without classifying good vs. bad, keeping an open mind, giving oneself permission to make decisions later. The usual unconscious kneejerk reactions are unplugged. 

And with the intellect no longer using up all its energy in self-chatter, and the feelings no longer set to kneejerk reaction mode, the chances of slipping into Flow state are multiplied many fold. These appear to be among the underlying mechanisms by which Observer state potentiates Flow state. 

Although the objective is to be in the Observer state whenever you are not in the Flow state, as you start the process of breaking out of EOP, it is especially important to take advantage of special opportunity moments during the day, which you will thereafter always want to benefit from.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,



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Powerful Mind Pt. 4

Created March 31, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

To read Powerful Mind Pt. 3, click here.

Chapter 2

The Observer State

A clearer, more effective state of consciousness —
only seconds away from your daily state of consciousness.
Just knowing it exists can benefit you

This entire book is about states of consciousness. In this chapter we will focus on one particular state of consciousness we call the Observer state. The Observer state is more powerful than the state most of us are in most of the time, and leads to the Flow state, which is more powerful still in terms of your ability to make an impact on others around you and on the world. We speak about both states as being “The Upper Mind”. The purpose of this book is to show you the simple yet easily missed doorways into the Upper Mind.

Why is it important to think about consciousness at all? Because life is all about consciousness. We do not exist without consciousness. While modern science has made brilliant progress in almost every other sphere of reality, too little is known about consciousness.

Yet all the ills of the world are rooted in ignorance of how consciousness works. We have made the world we see around us. It all started in our minds. Every day we do things we regret because we listen to and act on whatever our minds dish up to us. We need our minds to perform better, to become powerful, to gain insight into ourselves and others, to come to better decisions on a moment to moment basis.

The extreme anti-heroes who have become powerful on the world stage, who have driven much of our history so far, might not have chosen paths of destruction if their genius had been creatively channeled, if they had not lost touch with their compassion and love.

If we collectively knew our own minds better we would not go to war but rather we would find creative win/win solutions — the ones we get to in the end anyway after all the bloodshed. The path to a better world lies through the terrain of consciousness. One day when we all really do know our minds better the world will be a relative paradise compared to the way it has been throughout all recorded history. As the great science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells said, “History is a race between education and destruction.” If we can make our minds powerful now, we can gain the maturity as a race necessary to not destroy ourselves, given the extreme weaponry we have now at our disposal and our habitual disregard of our destructive effect on the environment (the air we breathe, the water we drink).

Because war is a pattern repeated throughout recorded history, we tend to assume this is the way it has to always be. And yet, “recorded history” literally means since the onset of written language. In short, written language and the thinking processes that go with it have led to acceleritis, information overload and Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), which blocks upper mind and leads not only to war but also to crime and personal cruelty born of our disconnection from innate compassion. Our minds need to become more powerful in order not to be confused by the information overload so much that we are easily led and manipulated into a life nearly devoid of positive feelings, squandering the opportunity of life.

Each of us knows intuitively that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This is the only way we can make a better world.

Powerful Mind seeks to reveal specific information and techniques for attaining specific states of consciousness. We will be talking about waking states of consciousness, not about sleeping states. Sleeping states are important too, but in the interest of focus we’ll leave these to another book.

A Broader View of What Science Is

Around 400 BC, in the Golden Age of Greek philosophy, one branch of philosophy called “epistemology” focused on understanding “how can we know”? Over time, different schools of thought evolved about how we can know: rationalists believe that we can know things directly through our intellect; authoritarians believe we know by listening to authority figures who tell us what we know; empiricists believe that we know by direct experience, by testing things in the real world; intuitionists believe we can know directly through a mysterious faculty.
Science developed out of empiricism, basing what we consider to be “truth” on factual experience, testing and validation. In the case of science as practiced in the West, especially in the last few hundred years, that “experience” is usually the taking of measurements using instruments with dials and displays from which one takes readings. The person taking the readings is the “observer” often mentioned in relativity and quantum mechanics, the latest forms of science. In the East, science is also based on experience, and there the experience can often be inner experience where dials and displays are not involved. This is still science and still based on empirical experience.

This Eastern willingness to accept internal evidence explains why science in the West has not validated the existence of the more effective states of consciousness. Starting toward the end of the 19th Century, inner experience or introspection fell out of favor in psychology, after William James, the last of the giants of psychology to accept inner evidence directly. The more externally-oriented culture of the West created a blind spot. In psychology, work shifted to behaviorism, the focus on externally quantifiable actions, along with the study and social application of conditioning to alter these actions.

Eastern epistemology actually fuses empiricism and intuitionism. No conflict is seen between these ways of knowing because they both involve experiencing reality for oneself.

Although based on empiricism, Western science became authoritarian and elitist in its epistemology: the common person was excluded from “knowing” by the reduction of all science to mathematics, a difficult language to master. Science at its cutting edge moved out of the sphere of something the common person could totally visualize and comprehend.

Science and States of Consciousness

Regarded academically as a “soft science”, traditional Western psychology recognizes only three states of consciousness: dreamless sleep, dream sleep, and waking consciousness. Eastern psychology since the fifth century B.C. recognized ten states of waking consciousness: the normal everyday waking state, the access state which precedes meditation, and eight progressively deeper states of meditation. Oscar Ichazo, a modern student/teacher of consciousness techniques and founder of the Arica Institute in 1968, fuses ideas from consciousness explorers throughout history (plus his own) to propose fifteen waking states of consciousness ranging from psychosis, through six levels of neurosis, three levels corresponding to the Eastern access state, and five levels of higher consciousness.

It is revealing that Western psychology reduces waking consciousness to a single state. William James was the first prominent Western psychologist who warned against “prematurely closing the book” on the existence of other states of waking consciousness. More recently, Mihaly Czikszenthmihalyi (pronounced “cheek-sent-me-high-ee”), former head of the University of Chicago Psychology Department, coined the term “Flow state” (known in show business as “Being On”, and in sports as “The Zone”), and conducted valuable research into this state, which was published in his 2008 book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,



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