Observation requires focusing on what is seen without distorting the observed by belief. If a judgment interferes with the observation, then an unreal conclusion is reached. Once an unreal conclusion is reached, all future actions towards the observed will be distorted. For example, a child observes a beetle. She notices that the beetle has a body and legs and moves rather slowly. One day, the child's mother tells the child that the beetle is "scary" and can hurt her. Now the child experiences a feeling of fear when she sees the beetle. She no longer notices the beetle's legs and body nor how the beetle moves. The child will continue to feel afraid of every beetle she encounters in the future and fail to truly "see" the beetle.
This distortion of the true nature of the beetle is just one example of how conditioning distorts our ability to "see" what is really going on in this world around us. Conditioning is the result of indoctrination. Indoctrination slants perspective to gain control over the way a person sees the world. This slant interferes with true observation and is emotionally charged. Once emotions are involved, a person's mind cannot access the "thinking" part of the brain, so what is observed is not based on facts, but is distorted to support the implanted conditioning. Then, a person only "reacts" emotionally without observation.
All advertising is slanted; all beliefs are slanted. Tradition is slanted; discrimination is slanted. All thought is slanted unless you step back and look again. You must observe your own conditioning and see it for what it is: indoctrination. If you are ever going to be a true observer of Life, you must know yourself: how you have been taught to see the world. You can never be free until you acknowledge the distortion of your perception. Once you have done that, you are able to "look again" with greater clarity of mind. Then, you can make your own decisions, draw your own conclusions.
This principle of observation applies to spiritual enfoldment, as well as, living in the world. Spiritual study goes way beyond reading books and meditating/praying. The basic principle - "know thyself" - can only be accomplished through unbiased observation of the "self" - the ego. For example, if you believe you have faith in God, but you live in fear, you do not trust a Higher Power. If you did, you would not live in fear. It is important not to lie to yourself. Lying is the act of distorting the facts.
If you believe climate change is not real, then you will not address the fact that rising waters are encroaching on communities. You will do nothing about the poisoned air you breathe, nor the poisoned food you eat. You will just go about your daily life, functioning in "automatic pilot" mode and disregard or distort whatever does not fit into your paradigm
Staying asleep to the truth may make your day better today since it takes no effort to live in harmony with your conditioning. However, if your conditioning is based on distortions of the Truth, there will be an inevitable consequence to pay in the future.
Waking up to the Truth requires the act of observation. Start with your "self", then move onto your family, your religion, your education, your government; the state of your society, the state of the world, the state of the Earth. Notice the gimmicks used to sway your mind and tell you how to feel. Then, let go of it - meditate, grow still inside - and open your eyes again and act with clarity of mind, based on facts. Inner strength.
The Act of Observation