Friday, December 31, 2010

Whatever Happened to Witnessing

black stone
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
With the egoic sense of self, the more we know, the less innocent we feel.
But, to our true nature, the more we know, the more innocent we feel.
I call this feeling innocence… because it has a sense of being very unguarded…

In innocence, there is no idea about what’s going on…When I say it doesn’t know what’s going on, I mean it’s not relating to experience through thought… it may seem a nice place to visit, but it’s a terrifying place to hang out because it takes all the tools of the egoic state of consciousness and renders them useless… the mind is actually not very comfortable staying there because it is non-operational while it’s there.

We see that we are not who we thought we were, and the world is not what we thought it was. Everything is new and open… For example, if you are sitting in your chair and you have a certain sensation arise in your body that your mind would immediately label fear, the innocence wouldn’t know that…

Innocence just looks with curiosity and asks, “What is it?” And it draws the sensation very close. It discovers what that sensation is through the experience rather than through the idea.
Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

I found these words this morning, after the fact, after deciding that I wanted to give an update on my complaint to Adya, last fall, that I felt as if I had become stuck as the witness.
So, here’s an update and how it relates to the fear and intense emotions I mentioned in my last blog.
The other day, I was at work when I abruptly stopped because I felt very strange and wondered what was happening. I just stood in the middle of the lab kind of looking this way and that totally perplexed and very ill at ease.
After a bit, I realized that in the past when I complained of witnessing, it was because my eyes looking out at the world saw (felt) that nothing was “Real.”
I didn’t (don’t) particularly enjoy this sense of unreality, of watching, of witnessing from some distant, privileged state of REALness.

The strangeness that now stopped me in my tracks was the noticing that my body and all its contents, that sense of center, were no more real than that “unreal” world I had experienced during witnessing.
I looked down at my torso. I looked out into the room. The two now seemed a seamless continuity of the Unreal.
I looked back at my torso and probed inside for my thoughts and feeling; again, there was seamless continuity - no difference between the inside and the outside of my body.
Suddenly, there was nothing of true substance, truly real.
This was not good news!
In fact, my discomfort seemed the central perception. I was Very uncomfortable, bubblings and turmoil in the body, something intensely physical was happening, but what?

Mind did not want to look too closely.
It felt as if I moved a muscle of mentality, of individual will, intention, or analysis the total strangeness of the situation would explode into total Chaos.
A thought came, “Do not do a thing.”
So, I allowed mind, emotions to simply hang there. My body I directed back to the small work-tasks at hand.
Eventually, another thought arose, “Jesus, the witness just collapsed!”
I let that thought go also.

Oddly, I discovered foretastes of this discomfort and process while viewing some “post literate asemic art.”
Now, the art seems the perfect illustration and I have to wonder about their power as mandalas.
I hope you take a click. The glyphs and dreamwork by John Ryan and Tony Burhouse and earlier December posts seemed to explode within my body. I had to leave immediately.
About a month ago, “The Systematic-Reductive-Dismantling” of Peter Ciccariello felt marvelously compelling: That’s it and I wanted to share.

Which brings me back around to the intensity of feelings I’ve been experiencing and Sarojini’s comment about barriers and collapse of a separate self, or witness:
…without any barriers in place (namely, the sense of a separate self) …these [emotional] energies are free to go from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds.

Before that experience of the collapse of the witness, I decided that my emotional situation of late is more like a baby’s. Babies are happy until the instant they are not happy. Then they cry – 100%, all out. And then, it passes and it’s gone. There’s a clean slate. This is the innocence of babies’ emotions – no barriers. At first, I labeled this as learning “impulse control.” We call it “maturing” or “growing up.” That’s when I also realized you could also call it conditioning and that it coincides with acquiring a sense of self.

There is no need for an emotional barrier or the feeling of separation… The only reason you ever thought that you needed protection was because of a very innocent misunderstanding… when you were given a concept of yourself in very early childhood, you also received a kit with which to build walls that would protect this concept…This is very innocent. It happens without your knowing that it’s happening. It continues until you realize that inherent in this holding of “me” as a self-image in the mind and body is the belief that you need protection… When you drop your protection, the truth comes in and takes away the self-image.
Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

And you can also freakout a bit.
If you’d like to hear this collapse of self from another perspective, there’s a new interview with Sarojini on Buddha at the Gas Pump. She describes the severing of a cord connecting awareness and the body. (See discussion beginning around minute 17:45.)

Happy New Year! New You. No You.

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