Saturday, September 22, 2018

Witness vs Awareness

For the advanced seeker.  Please do not take this name as an assault.  Lately everyone has an idea to end the spiritual search.  But it happens on it's own accord.  Nothing shameful in being a seeker,  the path is not one shot deal, like ego wants.  Sure, there are revelations on the way,  and then mind sneak into the next identification, and we need to honestly see that.  This small essay-exploration is a pointer to the next level of discernment that many are ready for.

Witness vs Awareness

Witness is not a natural state.
There is some effort, tension in the mind to maintain it.
Awareness requires no effort, its always there.
Mind can't register it.  Mind is not an instrument that is able to register and describe awareness, just like it is not possible for any system to know the system that includes it. 

When awareness aware of itself, mind is not there, how he can know of this natural state of existence?!
He doesn't.  But he will try to be a rightful owner of it!
As soon as it's abilities to conceptualise back after wordless experience of awareness, he will sell you the truth of experience that he has nothing to do with, mixed with concept, where he will hide himself as a member of the experience: 
"I had an experience. I am an awareness"  

If you hear this phrase in your head, beware, it's not the truth.
Awareness is an immediacy of being, where no words are possible to describe it, because the faculties to describe are not the part of the experience.

There might be a state of being where awareness aware of itself - a revelation experience of pure awareness, and a state of being where awareness is a phenomena itself.  It does not mean awareness if not present, it is focused into the different activity, it hides it's own face into the skin. Doesn't matter where it is focused: aware of itself or appear as phenomena, in that natural existence there is no tension.

In a contrary, witness is a state of mind with an effort to maintain, to hold the view, the distance.  It keeps duality, subtle and sneaky form of duality, quasi-non-duality.  Mind is maintaining the dream of being awake.  Question every idea about yourself that comes from the mind in a way of a description of who you are.  Who you are not a description, but a living experience. 

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  1. The paragraph: When awareness aware of the phenomena it does not mean awareness if not present. Shouldn't that be: IS not present?

    1. Thank you! I re-phrased the whole paragraph, more clear wording came. it is not easy to describe what I am attempting to describe, and also I write to different mind abilities, different level of knowing, so I always ran into discrepancies, I try to refine my wording, its not carved in stone :) I appreciate any collaboration to make the written offering the most clear it can be.

  2. This is the essence of the difference between practices that involve focus and the transcending practices.
    There is a confusion between the results of effective meditation and how to do it.
    Silent mind and awareness are states of being, not activities to engage in or attempt to create.
    In the transcending practices we move away from the active, efforting mind and progressively arrive at the state of witness and silence that is always already there beneath the active mind. We don't try to still the active mind or try to witness - that would be a paradox in terms anyway -any trying or efforting can only add to the activity of mind which is the very thing that prevents us from going beyond the mind to that silent field of awareness that transcends all the content of the mind.
    Can't overestimate the value of this distinction!!

  3. You are right. To witness with effort is not natural, but to choicelessly witness is natural. Big difference.

  4. I had this comment on google +, maybe it will be helpful for anyone here:

    Thank you for that Elena, I had an experience recently where my mind apparently switched off was simply aware of sights, colours and sounds, but could not function in this state. I was in a supermarket at the time and until the cashier touched my arm and asked if I was OK, I was lost in this state. I did wonder afterwards if this was all a trick of the mind, which it obviously was.

    Terry, thank you for sharing this experience. The experiences like this, different kind, are given for us to start question the only reality we know- the physicality of everything around. Do you see that from that point on it opened your curiosity to exploration what was it, how is this possible, how to repeat this so it can be understand more, how to make it stay for longer? And so on :) every seeker went through one experience or another that ignited him to search the answer to the koan that experience left. The danger, of cause to develop certain attachment to the experience, we all went through this. But I don't want to underestimate it, the suddenly altered state of mind where the thinking mind completely gone, is precious. I would suggest to train mind in inquary, so when the altered state happens, the inquary runs authomatically. When the question Who am I is introduced to the mindstate as you described, the awareness turns to itself and recognizes itself. This recognition is a self-realization in that moment. Many have altered mind states, through medicines, drugs and etc, sometimes spontaneous in a supermarket, like you, it also happens. But to have a trained mind focused on inquary at that precious moment of grace is a grace itself that was prepared by human effort.

    1. Hi Elena I must have pressed the wrong button here :-) To add to my original reply, I joined "Liberation Unleashed" a month or so ago and did a short session on there, coming to the conclusion that I would probably evolve with subtle changes, rather than any dramatic event.
      This session could possibly have triggered the experience in the supermarket? I don't feel any particular attachment to that awareness state, but I now experience a kind of peace and lack of anxiety about life in general, plus a sense of fun and lightness of being, I had a fit of the giggles last night, similar to being drunk. In saying that I have given up drinking any alcohol since the experience, quite a feat since I am in Russia at the moment where it is cheap and everywhere :-)
      Thanks again Elena I am finding your blog and Facebook posts very helpful
      Love Terry

    2. lol, Terry! I am the opposite, I was not drinking at all, I was so focused into a search, and now I enjoy a glass of good Pinot Noir sometimes :) When you relax into a presence you are, no need to be something else, and then giggles emerge, or simple quite, or engaged conversation, drinking tea or wine, whatever floats the boat, without addictive tendencies of the unrest. Enjoy Russia! Much Love to you !

    3. .....and there was I Elena, imagining you in the lotus position sipping green tea, so many illusions ....... I will probably go back to having the odd beer sometime soon. :-)
      Love to you and cheers to your glass of Pinot Noir

  5. Why is "awareness" always proclaimed to be the end all be all of existence? Is there "awareness" in deep sleep (or for the matter any unconscious state) when there is no thing or experience to be aware of? There's only the registering of lack of knowing or experience upon the waking state?

    Is there not a better term than "awareness"? I think of "awareness" to be aware of some thing. And knowing toggles between awareness of experience and not perceiving anything.

    Am I misinterpretting how non-dualist use this term? Awareness always seems to be touted as the absolute.

    1. Hello, Peter! Awareness used in many ways, and absolutist ways as well, and as an object too. I use the word as I do not know other word that can describe, maybe Conscious would be better one, but then this word can be used in relation to the thinking mind as well. I wrote about awareness more in my next post, maybe one day I will come to more clear descriptives, I am work in progress as a writer in the field of consciousness, the clarity and the abilities to express are evolving, not static linear understanding, there is a freedom in this I won't trade for anything :)

  6. Hey Elena, it's not just you though. Even Adyashanti, Rupert Spira, or Nisargadatta Maharaj uses it, if you're familiar with them. So I get confused when it comes to the unconscious state when no sense experience exists. So I wonder why is that particular term used so often even for states of no perception when there's no thing to be aware of. I've been struggling with that. Would you be able to shed some light? I saw someone comment on your FB post saying it's just phenomenon.

    1. Hi, Peter! Usually "phenomena" word used for the objective world, the physicality, the tangible and also energetic part of the existence that arise in consciousness, the space, that sort of there and give rise to the objective world. Awareness word used to describe the aliveness of consciousness, thats how I see it, through awareness the objective world exist... these are mutually not separable. But talking about in an attempt to describe it flattens it to the concept that I am not sure if it is useful, maybe it is. I wasn't able to use it in any way, in fact, when i didn't know how to describe I would just say "I don't know". Now years later, I am able to write couple of sentences about it, and still I am not sure if this is truth :) Truth is a living thing, and truth is true in a direct experience, and it is different for everyone at a given moment. Some big truth about consciousness described in words mean nothing to us until we have a direct experience, and words either come together about it or not, but truth will be in that very experience, undeniable.