Saturday, February 15, 2014

Resting As The Witness

Posted By Steve Beckow 2-14-14

John Smallman at homeThanks to John Smallman for these two excellent extracts on the Self and the Witness and to Christina for forwarding them. John says:

Here’s a short piece from the book Essential Spirituality by Roger Walsh:

“You are more than you think! Look deep within, and you will find that your ego is only a tiny wave atop the vast ocean that is your real Self. Look within, and at the center of your mind, in the depths of your soul, you will find your true Self, that this Self is intimately linked to the sacred, and that you share in the unbounded bliss of the sacred . . . . The great religions all exist to help us discover our true Self and our true relationship to the sacred. This discovery, they agree, is the supreme joy and the greatest goal of human life.”

And a longer one from Ken Wilber’s One Taste:

“People make two common mistakes on the way to One Taste. The first occurs in contacting the Witness, the second occurs in moving from the Witness to One Taste itself.

“The first mistake: In trying to contact the Witness (or I-I), people imagine that they will see something. But you don’t see anything, you simply rest as the Witness of all that arises – your are the pure and empty Seer, not anything that can be seen. Attempting to see the Seer as a special light, a great bliss, a sudden vision – those are all objects, they are not the Witness that you are . . . . So the first mistake is that people sabotage the Witness by trying to make it an object that can be grasped, whereas it is simply the Seer of all objects that arise, and it is “felt” only as a great background sense of Freedom and Release from all objects.

“Resting in that Freedom and Emptiness – and impartially witnessing all that arises – you will notice that the separate-self (or ego) simply arises in consciousness like everything else. You can actually feel the self-contraction, just like you can feel your legs, or feel a table, or feel a rock, or feel your feet. The self-contraction is a feeling of interior tension, often localized behind the eyes, and anchored in a slight muscle tension throughout the bodymind. It is an effort and a sensation of contracting in the face of the world. It is a subtle whole-body tension. Simply notice this tension.

“Once people have become comfortable resting as the empty Witness, and once they notice the tension that is the self-contraction, they imagine that to finally move from the Witness to One Taste, they have to get rid of the self-contraction (or get rid of the ego). Just that is the second mistake, because it actually locks the self-contraction into place.

“We assume that self-contraction hides or obstructs Spirit itself, whereas in fact it is simply a radiant manifestation of Spirit itself, like absolutely every other Form in the universe. All Forms are not other than Emptiness, including the form of the ego. Moreover, the only thing that wants to get rid of the ego is the ego. Spirit loves everything that arises, just as it is. The Witness loves everything that arises, just as it is. The Witness loves the ego, because the Witness is the impartial mirror-mind that equally reflects and perfectly embraces everything that arises.

“But the ego, convinced that it can become even more entrenched, decides to play the game of getting rid of itself – simply because, as long as it is playing that game, it obviously continues to exist (who else is playing the game?). As Chuang Tzu pointed out long ago, ‘Is not the desire to get rid of the ego itself a manifestation of the ego?”

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort – you end up with two efforts instead of one. The ego itself is the perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego, which simply increases the effort of ego itself.

“And so, the practice? When you rest in the Witness, or rest in I-I, or rest in emptiness, simply notice the self-contraction. Rest in the Witness, and feel the self-contraction. When you feel the self-contraction you are already free of it – your are already looking at it, instead of identifying with it.”

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