At each new level of development, you begin to see what you were immersed in on the previous level. In the first few levels of your personal development, external influences push you to move up through the levels, to develop new skills and perspectives.
On the other hand, at higher levels, it is you who, as a result of your own decision, can move to the next level taking the witness-observing perspective, as if standing next to you and looking at yourself with curiosity. One cannot witness an aspect and be immersed in the aspect that is being observed at the same time. Observing creates awareness of what you have been immersed in.
Let's call what you are immersed in the subject (what you are) and what you have become aware of (due to the new perspective) - the object (what you now have). At a certain level of their development, children are completely immersed in their feelings - they are their feelings and have little, if any, control over these feelings. Later in development, feelings shift from subject to object - the child now has feelings (and has more control over them). After making this shift, the child becomes aware of his feelings in a way ...
... which was not possible at the time,
when she was immersed in these feelings.
Development, then, is essentially a continual shifting of who and what you are from the level of the subject (of what you are) to the level of the object (of what you are aware of and in relation to what you have).
The baby is immersed in his body movements and tactile sensations. The baby is its body and tactile sensations. In this stage, everything is the subject, nothing is the object. The environment is simply an extension of the infant and it cannot distinguish between itself and the world.
At some point, the child begins to distinguish himself from others. After this shift has taken place, he is no longer immersed in his body, in his tactile sensations. The child becomes aware of having them. At the same time, however, it is immersed in something new - impulses and perceptions, a new subject.
In the next step, at the age of 5-7 years, another shift takes place. The impulses and sensations begin to be what the baby has. The subject becomes an object. At the same time, a new aspect of the subject appears - needs, interests, and wishes. The "I" now has sensations, impulses (along with the tactile sensations from the first stage), and the "I" simultaneously ...
… is needs, interests, and wishes.
Around the age of 12, needs, interests, and wishes become an object while the subject aspect appears in interpersonal relationships and group roles. At this stage, the end of egocentric development is marked and the period of group development begins. The child is now immersed in their roles within the group, in one-on-one relationships with one another, in friendships (those that express themselves as shared feelings and experiences). At this stage, the child learns how to play roles in a group and act not only for the benefit of himself ...
… but also for the whole group.
In the fifth stage, group roles shift to the aspect of the subject again, and an individual and personal identity - independent of the group - is in the foreground. This is the beginning of true identity, a true separate person.
In the sixth stage, the person is no longer immersed in individual identity. There is an aspect that development psychologists call inter-individuality, an ever-growing sense of the totality of all of us, an awareness of connection with everyone else. Here, the end of ethnic development is marked, and the period of looking at the world as a whole begins. By transferring his individual identity to the level of the object, a given person is no longer his role at work, his career, his duties. She has them ...
...but they are no longer what she is.
There are successive levels of development known as a spiritual awakening. As you can easily guess, each of them is characterized by the successive shifting of the relevant aspect from the subject level to the object level. Note that at each stage, more and more of what and who you are becomes an object. Every time this happens you gain ...
… expanded awareness, more control, a broader perspective.
I have provided the shortest possible description of each level of development because I meant more to outline the entire process than to describe each level in detail.
There are many more changes to each of them than the ones mentioned above. There are new cognitive opportunities, new skills in resolving moral and ethical dilemmas, new opportunities to experience yourself and others, new problem-solving skills, as well as all-new perspectives in every other area of human life.
Now, however, you are immersed in something.
The leap to the next level is possible when you begin to move beyond what you are now and gradually assume the role of an observer. This role is to look at yourself with curiosity, without however any judgments or intentions. For example, if you are immersed in your emotions, you probably have trouble in the emotional field, and it is one big roller-coaster, from one drama to the next. This is because you are emotions, the auto-pilot is controlling you.
However, if you do your best to mentally stand side by side and look at yourself from the observer's perspective, your emotions will shift from subject to object. The moment it happens ...
… emotions are no longer a problem.
So your job, no matter what kinds of personal development practices you use, is constantly asking yourself: "What am I immersed in right now?"
Even if finding the answer to this question is difficult (by definition, what you are immersed in is difficult to notice), you can always observe yourself. If you continue to observe unbiasedly, if you pay attention to it, sooner or later you will become aware of it. So watch your body, your emotions, your thoughts, your self-image, your beliefs about what is important in life, what is possible, what is necessary. The more you observe, the greater your ability to see the world becomes ...
… from a broader and more supportive perspective.
As Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy, said, "Consciousness and insight are transformative."
The author of this article is the late Bill Harris, the founder of Centerpointe Research Institute