Sunday, April 04, 2010


Documenting self image
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness which is both mind and matter and beyond both.

I have been thinking about witnessing.
I have been wrestling with the experience for so long, I think it worth the effort to untangle.

Nisargadatta says:
First, we must know ourselves as witnesses only…

And only then is there a next step or
[Ultimately] there is no subject and object, whereas in the witness there is still subject and object, but the subject no longer identifies himself with the object as the ordinary man does.
Paul Brunton

Right there, so much gets explained. So much gets established.
The trinity of experience is introduced:
experiencer, process of experiencing, object of experience…

In the witnessing consciousness there is both subject and object, but the subject is no longer identified with object. This is a good definition for what Maharishi Maheshi Yogi termed Cosmic Consciousness:

The identity of self has been disentangled from objective relative. And it this sense it can be called self-realization.
The self is recognized and experienced as separate from activity, thus establishing a true duality from which one can awake.
Prior to this there has been what Maharishi would call “the unity of ignorance” as self is all bound up with identification.
Curiously, the ego (be that defined as “individuality” or the sum total of our conditionings) remains fairly well intact.

Maharishi taught that in Cosmic Consciousness a person had become enlightened, but that was not the end to evolution. Unity was possible. But the process of evolution took time and there were no specific techniques to speed the transformation along.

What Maharishi encouraged was meditation that allowed the mind to become more and more familiar with subtle levels of experience. In essence, the senses become refined – purified. This helped Cosmic Consciousness to transform into God Consciousness – still a dual awareness because both you and God exist. Purification occurs in the body, through refined digestion and the production of soma. As the senses become refined, the heart opens. Through Love the heart unites that which the intellect had separated.

In some respects, this differs from the position taken by many of today’s teachers of the Direct Path. Adyashanti teaches anyone can awaken at anytime: no need to become a good person, no need for purification. One awakens from the mind through techniques of inquiry: “Who am I?” and “I am….”
But, Adya also teaches that for “emptiness to dance” this realization must settle deeper as if into the heart and belly. He calls this embodying awakening – and it too is a process that takes time and can be miss managed.

I so appreciate Adya for teaching about the subtleties of this process and the stumbling blocks:

… the position of the witness can become a fixation… this means of course, that there hasn’t been a true and thorough realization. It is more like a half realization; it’s like being half awake…

and then he sites this famous saying:

The world is illusion. Brahman alone is real. The world is Brahman
Ramana Maharishi

This saying speaks to certain insights that come with awakening. The first insight, that “the world is illusion,” is not a philosophical statement. Seeing that the world is illusion is part of the awakening experience. It is something that is known; we discover that there is no such thing as an objective world out there…This first statement, then, is pointing to this insight, which comes with realization.

The next statement, “Brahman alone is real,” points us toward the recognition of the eternal witness. The witness to the world is where all the reality is. From this perspective of awakening, the witness is experienced to be much more real that what is witnessed. What is witnessed is seen to be like a dream, like a movie or a novel, unfolding in front of us. There is a great amount of freedom in this, but also a great tendency to become stuck in the idea that, “I am the witness to what is.”…

[“Brahman alone is real”]…could also be understood as “The witness alone is real.” But without the third statement, “The world is Brahman,” we would not have true non-duality. In the statement, “The world is Brahman, “we have the realization of true oneness. “The world is Brahman” collapses the position of the external witness. The witness position collapses into the totality, and suddenly we’re not witnessing from

the outside anymore. Instead, witnessing is taking place from everywhere simultaneously – inside, outside, around, up, down. Everything everywhere is being witnessed from inside and outside simultaneously, because what is being witnessed is what is witnessing. The seer and what is seen are the same. Unless that is realized, we can get stuck in the place of the witness. We can become stuck in a transcendent void, in emptiness…

the next phase of the journey of awakening [is] the collapsing of the witnessing position. It starts to collapse when we see that if witnessing is different from the witness, then there is inherent division. Letting yourself see this division is the beginning of the collapse… you can start to see the elements of ego that are using the witnessing position as a way to hide, to not be touched by life, to not feel certain feelings… Make no mistake – to see a fixation within ourselves because someone explains it to us is not enough… It must be discovered in oneself, for oneself.
Adyashanti, The End of Your World.

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