Day 30 - Observation and Insight

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Dr. Daniel Farrant

Daniel is a senior clinical psychologist, specializing in stress and anxiety in community mental health and university settings. His practice includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Follow Daniel at the Skills Foundation on Soundcloud

The fundamental process of self-knowledge is to calm the brain and body, observe the thoughts, emotions and feelings that rise naturally into consciousness, and examine them with curiosity, interest and equanimity. The idea is to be watching the movie, not acting in it - to be able to see the story unfold without judging the script or actors - and without being swept away by the drama or attached to the outcome.

As we’ve discussed, noticing when we’re unconsciously being distracted by judgment or drawn into the drama, is the critical on-switch for mindfulness. Once returned to the present, “noticing” means simply observing what’s there. In this important exercise, we are going to practice noticing and observing eight important focal points (what we can see, hear, touch, taste, think, feel and our physical sensation.   


Try to observe with an open “beginner’s mind”, as if each experience were the first ever. These skills prepare us to prompt our unconscious values and beliefs into view, with the skill to detach from rationalization, justification, guilt, shame or remorse. 

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