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  • Writer's pictureAnne Sweet

Witness Consciousness

There is one question which is bugging me....not just academic but as part of on the ground practice. I quote you as saying:

"By turning our attention to observing these internal mechanisms we are breaking this habitual identification. We are creating space around our experience rather than being lost in it. We are learning to experience ourselves as the observer of experience and distinct from it."

Some teachings talk about a witness consciousness but for others it is a kind of dualism. I wonder what your take is on this question. Are we attempting to realize a kind of witness conscious, (good) True Self, and this is separate and distinct from (bad) ego conditioned contracted self........ Thanks for your time. A.L

The instruction you quoted was to help break the individual’s identification with thought, feeling and sensation. Most people believe they are those experiences and the act of observing experience (and being separate from it) begins to crack (hopefully) that identification.

That is not the end point, however. When you truly witness/observe experience, a space opens up within and in that space the witnessing consciousness becomes aware of itself. In other words, consciousness falls back on itself/realizes itself. This is a tremendous moment of self-recognition. One recognizes oneself as that consciousness, as the Self. Undivided.

Functioning as consciousness/Self, the usual subject/object dichotomy falls away. There is of course distinction between what is ‘me’ and what is ‘not me’, but somehow simultaneously there is ‘allness’ or unification/seamlessness. One no longer feels separate from everything ‘not me’. Somehow it is all included in/as me. (It’s particularly thrilling to recognize oneself (each of us) as the creator and creation, as the very source of existence itself).

Resting in and as this undivided consciousness/Self, being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations is not a doing. It is simply a natural, effortless noticing within the unified field. The ground of one’s Being is the foundation, and the arising and passing away of experience is simply that – the arising and passing away of experience (to which we have responses of course).

The holding to a separate Witness sounds like torture to me. The Self/consciousness is our natural state, we don’t have to do anything to create or maintain it. Our only job is to discover/uncover it beneath all the false identifications and ego drives which normally run our lives.

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