Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Stuck in the Witness
...At first it [witnessing] was wonderful and amazing and transformative and profound. But over time, I started to have this intuition, this little voice that said, “This isn’t the whole thing. This isn’t oneness; this isn’t unity.” The witness was perceived as being totally free of the human being that I imagined myself to be. But the illusion that the witness was different from what was being witnessed remained. For me, as for many people, the next phase of the journey of awakening was the collapse of the witnessing position.
It starts to collapse when we see that if witnessing is different from the witness, then there is an inherent division. Letting yourself see this division is the beginning of the collapse of the external witness.
With that 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, to not encounter our lives directly and intimately in a gritty, human way.
Adyashanti, The End of Your World
At the retreat last month I asked Adya about being stuck in witnessing.
I have no idea how to implement his “answer” and in fact he said, “I can’t tell you how to do this.”
I have to discover the next step for myself.
So, I am reviewing just a bit some teachings on witnessing.
The more we realize that who we are is totally outside of time, outside of the world, and outside of everything that happens, the more we realize that this same presence is the world----all that is happening and all that exists. It is like two sides of a coin. This experiential awakening is not rare, and no one teaches it to you.**
It seems a part of this process is to simply stop.
No more thoughts, the analysis. No more me-ing. Stop.
And, there is a strong pull to do just that.
But there is also a reactive struggle to pull myself out of that stillness:
To think, just a bit more. To dance and thus avoid the Void, just a moment longer.
So, I read on…
When we are no longer functioning through our conditioning, the sense of “me” is no longer there. What really runs and operates this life is love. ... one will find that “I” am the silence between two thoughts. You are nobody. You are this openness, this presence. You are not a creation of thought, belief or faith. It is free of all identity. It is the uncreated.
And right there it seems is where the getting stuck occurs.
I perceive the openness and presence and yet do not identify it as “me.”
I have been assuming that some thought will arise that recognizes the Vastness as “me.”
But, that may not be true.
Maybe that belief needs to be dropped.
But meanwhile, old habits die hard and I have to ask:
Where am I? What can I identify as “me”?
It seems I do not know. Awareness comes through my eyes. It seems to flow from an unboundedness inside and it looks out through the eyes to see another unboundedness: The World.
I feel like merely a point. Sometimes, I am the toggle point between the two infinites. Sometimes, I occupy an area no bigger than a thumb print rattling around in the vastness. I’ve become no thicker, no more substantial, than the thin inky outline a thumb print leaves upon a blank white page. But, I remain substantial enough to be uncomfortable in the expansiveness. Substantial enough to want to reach out and touch someone, or something, just to kind of steady myself and my individuality for a moment.
And, I am substantial enough to desire to be done with all this. Enough!
Trying to hold on to one’s identities, even if it is the holiest of identities, is like shoving a camel through the eye of a needle. However... Not a shred of self-centred identity can go through, only nothingness can.
A friend told me that this is about unconditional love. Yes!
Adya said I had to learn how to witness from the heart.
I replied my heart would break.
The separation of the witness is intolerable to the heart.
Well, enough said for now.
I’d like to offer another link to Buddha at the Gas Pump and an interview with Takuin Minamoto regarding his spontaneous awakening. His description of a Vastness that has somehow scattered the components of memory and self-identity into such a great space as to render them no longer relevant feels very familiar to me. It is exactly this blowing to the winds that my little mind(?) or ego(?) is attempting to avoid by its refusal to stop. I can feel the larger amount of energy such a “holding things together” requires.
But, what a disaster for an ego – to be simply blown away! So, for now it holds on
… even as the heart is breaking to go Home.
** While I originally thought these and the remaining quotes below were Adya’s words, I think these are actually the words of an essay by Dr Tan Kheng Khoo describing Adya’s teachings. But they are so close, it is hard for me to tell.