So important is this for human evolution and to the attainment of freedom and the power to produce an adequate response in every conceivable situation, that if its full import were grasped, the whole effort of humanity would be directed towards its attainment.
To gain reflexive self-consciousness a certain exercise must be practised, in principle continuously, in early practice probably intermittently. The exercise itself is simple. But this is not to say that it is, for man in his usual orientation, easy. The battle to overcome the inertia of man’s established direction, his generally ego-centred attitude, will not be easily fought. Nor should it be. The prize is too high to be gained easily.
Here is the exercise:
When one is looking at some thing, or considering an idea or experience, a feeling or emotion, or performing any action, one must say to oneself:
“It is the Self which is consciousness itself which is looking at this thing (or considering this idea, etc.) This Self I am. I return to the Self.”
On saying , “It is the Self which is consciousness itself”, one must make oneself aware that the Self is consciousness itself, awareness, sentience.
When saying, “looking at this thing”, one must make oneself aware of a directional flow of attention from the consciousness to the thing.
“This Self I am I return to the Self”, one must focus oneself again on the consciousness and again become aware of a directional flow of attention, but now from the thing back to the consciousness-self.
THIS BACK-FLOW OF CONSCIOUSNESS TO THE SELF IS WHAT WE MEAN BY REFLEXIVE SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS
– Eugene Halliday