Witnessing is a practice of observing the activities of the mind and body including thoughts, desires, and emotions. without becoming entangled with them. This practice doesn’t involve judging, suppression, reaction, identification, or any deliberate effort concerning what you observe. As you simply watch (witness) you may begin to sense a distance or separation between you and the mind/body. The practice of witnessing helps one disengage from their identification with their personal historical ego story, the limited self.
By developing a witnessing practice you can start to regularly notice that awareness is distinct from your familiar thoughts and actions – and that you are that awareness itself! This change in perspective reveals the non-dual nature of reality
Throughout history, spiritual teachers have encouraged their students to develop this or similar practices. In modern Western society, it is encouraging to see that the teaching of mindfulness, whether in a schoolroom or a board room, has become popular and extends into secular life outside of any traditional spiritual or religious context. Perhaps it's an indication, or the beginning, of a global shift in consciousness.
One way to get free of attachment is to cultivate the witness consciousness, to become a neutral observer of your own life. The witness place inside you is simple awareness, the part of you that is aware of everything just noticing, watching, not judging, just being present, being here now. The witness is actually another level of consciousness. The witness coexists alongside your normal consciousness as another layer of awareness, as the part of you that is awakening. Humans have this unique ability to be in two states of consciousness at once. Witnessing yourself is like directing the beam of a flashlight back at itself. In any experience - sensory, emotional, or conceptual - there' s the experience, the sensory or emotional or thought data, and there s your awareness of it. That's the witness, the awareness, and you can cultivate that awareness in the garden of your being. The witness is your awareness of your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Witnessing is like waking up in the morning and then looking in the mirror and noticing yourself - not judging or criticizing, just neutrally observing the quality of being awake. That process of stepping back takes you out of being submerged in your experiences and thoughts and sensory input and into self-awareness. . . . The witness is your centering device. It guides the work you do on yourself. Once you understand that there is a place in you that is not attached, you can extricate yourself from attachments.
~ Ram Dass
I would suggest the following formula for daily living: Witness whatever is happening as precisely what was supposed to happen, according to God's Will/Cosmic Law, and therefore, nothing whatever could have been otherwise than what is happening. Therefore, witness whatever is happening without blaming or condemning anyone for anything. As for your own daily living, do feel free to do whatever you should do in any given situation, with the total acceptance that whatever happens has never, ever been in your control.
~ Ramesh S. Balsekar
When we step back to observer, the labeling is less, because judgment is not active. In observer things are not taken personally, so duality is there, but it’s not running as deeply. The subject (personal I) is not so drawn into its own drama, and this sense of "all about me" is no longer fueled.
~ Jac O’Keeffe
When the mind is quiet, we come to know ourselves as the pure witness. We withdraw from the experience and its experiencer and stand apart in pure awareness, which is between and beyond the two. The personality, based on self-identification, on imagining itself to be something: 'I am this, I am that', continues, but only as a part of the objective world. Its identification with the witness snaps.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
If the body-mind is an object, a personal and limited collection of mentations, there must be a witness to which it appears. This witness is usually referred to as consciousness or awareness. If we investigate what we are, it becomes clear that it is this awareness that is precisely what we call "I." Most people identify this witnessing consciousness with the witnessed mind, and in doing so they superimpose the personal limitations of that mind onto consciousness, conceptualizing it as a personal entity.
~ Francis Lucille
He is never seen, but is the Witness;
He is never heard, but is the Hearer;
He is never thought, but is the Thinker;
He is never known, but is the Knower;
There is no other Witness but Him,
No other hearer but Him.
He is the one Internal Ruler,
Your own immortal Self.
~ Brihadranyaka Upanishad.
One should remain as a witness to whatever happens, adopting the attitude, 'Let whatever strange things that happens happen, let us see!' This should be one's practice. Nothing happens by accident in the divine scheme of things.
~ Ramana Maharshi
One method we use to help us on the path is mindfulness. Becoming the witness. Watching yourself continuously. Watching your thoughts. Watching your actions. Sitting in meditation and watching what goes on in your mind. Not trying to change anything or correct anything. Just observing. Becoming the witness to your thoughts in meditation, and to your actions in the waking state.
~ Robert Adams
For many people, the first indication of a spiritual awakening is that they suddenly become aware of their thoughts. They become a witness to their thoughts, so to speak. They are not completely identified with their mind anymore and so they begin to sense that there is a depth to them that they had never known before.
~ Eckhart Tolle
I'm simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I'm saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes. It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering, not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say "this is good, this is bad," you have already jumped onto the thought process. It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher. And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty. That's the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.
First there is a seeker, a body-mind, a false I. Then there is a finder, a witness, universal consciousness. Finally what is revealed is what you are before being either.
~ Enza Vita
You are neither earth, water, fire, air or even ether. For liberation know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these five. If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from bonds.
~ Ashtavakra Gita
The Witness is a huge step forward, and it is a necessary and important step in meditation, but it is not ultimate. When the Witness or the soul is finally undone, then the Witness dissolves into everything that is witnessed. The subject/object duality collapses and there is only pure nondual awareness, which is very simple, very obvious.
~ Ken Wilber
It is extremely important that you become fully aware that you are the witness. For that eliminates the old patterns and the habit of thinking yourself to be the thinker or the doer.
~ Jean Klein
Awake. Be the witness of your thoughts. You are what observes, not what you observe.
There is a part of yourself that is not subject to change, it is the silent witness behind the scenes. That is essentially your spirit, the spirit being an abstract but real force. It is as real as gravity. It is as real as time. It is incomprehensible. It is mysterious but it is powerful and it is eternal.
~ Deepak Chopra
As you meditate, over time your consciousness becomes awake within itself. The silent witness within saturates and illuminates the mind so that it does not look to the past or the future for fulfillment. It experiences peace and freedom within itself in every moment.
~ Deepak Chopra
You say you are still not stable in presence.
But if that ‘I’ that is not stable in presence is a person,
of course no person is stable.
What watches the person?
Don’t be the person.
Observe the person.
Remain as presence.
You are the witness of the coming and going. Once you know that you are not the thing which is coming and going, peace will prevail inside your mind and heart.
Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.
~ Alan Watts
For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
~ Khalil Gibran
Just go into the room, sit in the centre of the room, open the doors and windows, and see who comes to visit.
You will witness all kinds of scenes and actors, all kinds of temptations and stories, everything imaginable.
Your only job is to stay in your seat.
You will see it all arise and pass, and out of this, wisdom and understanding will come.
~ Ajahn Chah
As you cultivate the witness, things change.
You don’t have to change them.
Things just change.
~ Ram Dass
There is freedom when you realize that you are just a witness to all that is happening.
~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Every blade of grass, every insect, ant, and golden bee, all so amazingly know their path, though they have not intelligence, they bear witness to the mystery of God and continually accomplish it themselves.
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
This is the secret of spiritual life: to think that I am the Atman and not the body, and that the whole of this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evil, is but as a series of paintings...scenes on a canvas...of which I am the witness.
~ Swami Vivekananda
A lot of people pass through the thinking I'm a guru and take enough trips to understand that no, I was just a witness. I was just a witness.
~ Terence McKenna
If we simply witness and we remain the witness of the projections played on the screen, then there's no trouble. But when we take part in it, we become the projection itself.
The observer is a doorway to a much, much deeper part of you. It is the access point to the infinite within you and to the beyond infinite you. Of course the observer is mind also, but it does not identify with things, people, events and stories. It is said that the observer is 'I am' which offers a clear understanding in that the observer exists but it does not identify with form or state.
~ Jac O'Keeffe
It is like washing printed cloth. First the design fades, then the background, and in the end the cloth is plain white. The personality gives place to the witness, then the witness goes and pure awareness remains. The cloth was white in the beginning and is white in the end; the patterns and colors just happened - for a time.
~ Sri Nisargadatta
Talking of the 'witness' should not lead to the idea that
there is a witness and something else apart from him
that he is witnessing.
The 'witness' really means the light that illumines
the seer, the seen and the process of seeing.
Before, during and after the triads of seer, seen and seeing,
the illumination exists.
It alone exists always.
~ Ramana Maharshi
Never try to stop the thoughts.
If you try to stop the thoughts they will become bigger and greater and they will win. Because the mind appears to be very powerful.
Yet in reality the mind does not exist.
There is no mind.
There is no such thing as a mind.
So when you sit in the silence you observe, you watch, you become the witness.
~ Robert Adams
The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.
~ Eckhart Tolle
The sense of doer ship is false. You are a witness, so remain like that. This is the only practice you should perform.
The witness is only a crutch to bring you to understand that you are not the doer.
~ Jean Klein
WITNESSING AND THE AWARENESS OF IT
~ by Osho
1. Meditation is not an effort against the mind. It is a way of understanding the mind. It is a very loving way of witnessing the mind -- but, of course, one has to be very patient. This mind that you are carrying in your head has arisen over centuries, millennia. Your small mind carries the whole experience of humanity -- and not only of humanity: of animals, of birds, of plants, of rocks. You have passed through all those experiences. All that has happened up to now has happened in you also. In a very small nutshell, you carry the whole experience of existence. That's what your mind is. In fact, to say it is yours is not right: it is collective; it belongs to us all.
2. REMEMBER remain alert that you don t get too much attached to the accidental -- and all is accidental except your consciousness. Except your awareness, all is accidental. Pain and pleasure, success and failure, fame and defamation -- all is accidental. Only your witnessing consciousness is essential. Stick to it! Get more and more rooted in it. And don't spread your attachment to worldly things.
I don't mean leave them. I don't mean leave your house, leave your wife, leave your children -- but remember that it is just an accident that you are together. It is not going to be an eternal state. It has a beginning; it will have an end. Remember that you were happy even before it began; and you will be happy when it has ended. If you can carry this touchstone, you can always judge what is accidental and what is essential. That which is always is truth. That which is momentary is untrue.
3. That true renunciation comes through witnessing; it is not indifference. Indifference will make you alienated, being alienated you will feel meaningless, joyless, accidental. Feeling accidental, the desire to commit suicide will arise, is bound to arise. Why go on living a meaningless life? Why go on repeating the same rut, the same routine, every day? If there is no meaning, why not end it all, why not be finished with it all?
4. This self-remembering Buddha calls sammasati -- right mindfulness. Krishnamurti calls it 'choiceless awareness', the Upanishads call it 'witnessing', Gurdjieff calls it 'self-remembering', but they all mean the same. But it does not mean that you have to become indifferent; if you become indifferent you lose the opportunity to self-remember.
5. Witnessing is the way. Do whatsoever you are doing but remain a witness. Watch it, observe it, continue to remember yourself. Walking on the road, remember that there is a point inside you which is not walking, which has never walked, which cannot walk with you. It has no legs to walk. That point is your center. Through that center you will come to know the reality.
6. Becoming more alert will make you conscious of the fact that there is only one thing you have got that you can call yours and that is witnessing. Everything else belongs to the universe; only witnessing belongs to you. But when you become aware of witnessing, even the idea of being I is dissolved. That too does not belong to you. That was part of darkness, part of the clouds that had gathered around you. In the clear light, when the sky is open and the clouds have disappeared and the sun is bright, there is no possibility of any idea of being I. Then simply witnessing is; nothing belongs to you. That witnessing is the goal of the journey.
7. Only one thing remains and that is your witnessing. Catch hold of it, don't lose track of it. It will be difficult to catch hold of it; again and again you will lose track, but again and again remind yourself to catch hold of it. Many times you will miss the goal, many times you will have glimpses. But by and by, more and more possibility will open. And if you can remain alert even for a few minutes together, a new man will be born unto you. You will be totally different. The old will be gone, and then you will not be worried with past, or future, or present. You will simply live in a different dimension, the dimension of eternity -- where nothing passes, nothing is born, nothing dies, everything remains.
8. Watch anything in the mind, and you are cut off. Watching is a sword. If a thought is moving in your mind, just watch it -- and suddenly you will see the thought is there, you are here, and there is no bridge left. Don't watch, and you become identified with the thought, you become it; watch, and you are not it. Mind possesses you because you have forgotten how to watch. Learn it.
Just looking at a roseflower, watch it; or at the stars, or the people passing on the road, sit by the side and watch. And then slowly slowly close your eyes and see the inner traffic moving -- thousands of thoughts, desires, dreams, passing by. It is always rush hour there. Just watch as somebody watches a river flowing by, sitting on the bank.Just watch -- and watching, you will become aware that you are not it.
Mind is being identified with it. No-mind is being disidentified with it. Don't be a mind, because in fact you are not a mind. Then who are you? You are consciousness. You are that watchfulness, you are witnessing, you are that pure observation, that mirrorlike quality that reflects everything but never becomes identified with anything.
9. Witnessing is a happening, a by-product -- a by-product of being total in any moment, in any situation, in any experience. Totality is the key: out of totality arises the benediction of Witnessing.
10. Just remember one thing, just the one thing that is the only quality of the buddha -- witnessing. Witness that you are not the body. Witness that you are not the mind. Witness that you are not the other subtle bodies, layer upon layer. You are only a witness, nothing else. The moment you are simply a witness, you are a buddha. This buddha has been hiding deep within you for millions of lives.
He has to be brought out. He has to change your whole life. He has to bring his grace to your gestures, beauty to your eyes, agelessness to your being, to your feeling. But first make sure that you are simply a witness.
Being simply a witness you are at the highest peak of consciousness, and when you are at the highest peak of consciousness, from there you can look at the deepest depth of your being -- the very abysmal depth. You have moved from a horizontal into a vertical being.
The second part of education should consist of meditativeness, of awareness, of witnessing, of love, of compassion, of creativity -- and certainly we will again be without any generation gap. The younger person will respect the older person, and not for any formal reasons but actually because the old person is respectable. He knows something beyond the mind and the young person knows only something within the mind.
The watcher is your authentic being. He is your own fundamental identity. The watcher is your fundamental identity, and any other identity card that you are carrying, any other passport that you are carrying... they all are just arbitrary. The authentic identity is only one, and that is of the witnessing self, who simply sees. He is not a doer. It does not mean that things don't happen around the witness; they happen -- but they happen spontaneously, without any effort, without any tension, without any deliberate action, but just out of spontaneity. Just as flowers blossom and birds sing and trees grow... things happen around the witness spontaneously.
A monk is going to spread Gautam Buddha's message. He himself is not enlightened yet; that's why Gautam Buddha calls him and tells him, "Remember, I have to say this because you are not enlightened yet... you are articulate, you speak well, you can spread the message. You may not be able to sow the seeds but you may be able to attract a few people to come to me -- but use this opportunity also for your own growth." The monk asked, "What can I do, how can I use this opportunity?" And Buddha said, "There is only one thing that can be done in every opportunity, in every situation, and that is watchfulness. You will sometimes find people irritated by you, angry because you have hurt their ideologies, their doctrines, their prejudices. Remain silent and watchful. You may have days when you cannot get food because the people are against you, they will not even give you water. Watch... watch your hunger, watch your thirst... but don't get irritated, don't get annoyed. What you will be teaching people is of less importance than your own watchfulness.
If you come back to me watchful, I will be immensely joyful. How many people you approached does not matter; how many people you spoke to does not matter. What ultimately matters is whether you have come home, whether you yourself have found the solid basis of witnessing. Then all else is insignificant." This is the only meditation there is; all other meditations are variations of the same phenomenon.
Thinking has to be stopped, but not by becoming unconscious. Thinking has to be stopped by becoming more conscious, alert, aware, so the energy that is moving in thinking moves into consciousness, and a witnessing arises in you. So remember, thinking has to be stopped not through chanting, but through becoming a witness to the thought process -- looking at it, watching it, a watcher on the hills, looking, seeing...
If you deeply see and penetrate the words, they start disappearing. A gap comes, an interval. Clouds disappear and the blue sky is seen. You are alert, sensitive -- not in a coma. More unconsciousness has been drawn into consciousness; your flame is bigger, more vital, and you can see more, you can touch more, you can smell more. And your action takes on a new quality, the quality of divineness.
Meditation, witnessing, silently sitting and looking at the mind, will be of much help. Not forcing, simply sitting and looking. Not doing much, just watching as one watches birds flying in the sky. Just Lying down on the ground and watching, nothing to do, indifferent. Not your concern really, where they are going; they are going on their own.
Witnessing is the only foundation for a real authentic religion. Whatsoever is, has to be witnessed -- joyfully, ecstatically. Nothing has to be denied and rejected. All denial, all rejection, will keep you in limits and you will remain in conflict. Everything has to be accepted as it is. And you have to be a watcher. Pleasure comes -- watch. Pain comes -- watch. Neither be disturbed by pleasure nor be disturbed by pain.
Let your calm remain unperturbed. Let your silence, your tranquillity, remain undisturbed. Pain will come and go and pleasure will come and go. Success will come and go and failure will come and go. And soon you will come to understand the point that it is only you who remains. That is eternal. This witnessing is eternal.
The contents that flow in the consciousness are temporary. One moment they are there, another moment they are gone. Don't be worried about them; don't be either in favour of them or against them. Don't try to possess them, don't hold onto them, because they are going to go. They have to go. It is the very nature of things that they cannot be permanent. Something pleasant is happening. It cannot be permanent. It will have to go. And following it, something unpleasant is already getting ready to happen.
It is the rhythm of life -- day and night, life and death, summer and winter. The wheel goes on moving. Don't hold on and don't try to make something very, very permanent. It is not possible. The more you try, the more frustrated you will become, because it cannot be done. And when it cannot be done, you feel defeated. You feel defeated because you have not understood one simple thing: nothing can be static. Life is a flux. Only one thing is eternally there and that is your consciousness, that innermost watcher.
But if you don't do anything -- not willing, not knowing, not feeling -- if you just relax, then there is witnessing. Witnessing is not knowing; witnessing is totally different. In fact, it cannot be said that you are witnessing. You are not doing anything -- not even witnessing. You are just there. Things are happening. Suddenly a bird starts singing outside and you hear it -- because you are there, you hear it. There is no effort to hear it, there is no deliberate concentration for it.
Once you get the knack of witnessingwithout judgment you will be surprised: the moment you are utterly a witness all the thoughts disappear. There is simply a plain white screen and no thoughts. This is the first experience, that you have come to the door of meditation. Just go on looking at the white screen. Don't do anything.
Consciousness has a nature -- if it cannot find any object which prevents it, then it goes round and comes back to you. In existence everything moves in a circle. Remember that: nothing moves in a straight line. If there is no obstacle, the consciousness comes back to its own source. And the consciousness coming back to one's own source, for the first time sees who is there, who has always been there. That is your real being.
While taking a shower you can try it, because it is a question of witnessing.You can witness anything, and anywhere.
If you forget, there is no harm. Whenever you remember, again you start. You will forget many times, you will remember many times. There is no question of guilt; it is human. Very slowly, bigger and bigger gaps of witnessing will arise in you, and as the gaps of witnessing become bigger, your thoughts will become smaller, less. The moment your witnessing comes to a peak -- at certain times with a crystal clarity -- the thoughts will simply disappear. You will be in an absolute silence. Whatever you are doing will not be disturbed by your silence, but on the contrary, your workmanship, your creative effort will be enhanced.
The energy has to be transformed, otherwise the energy will drag you down more into darkness than towards light. Do not repress anything. Whatever is natural is good. Whatever is natural is to be accepted with totality.
You have to do just one thing: don't be against nature but just be a watcher. Just remain a witness in everything, whether it is eating, whether it is walking, whether it is making love... just remain a witness and you will be surprised. Witnessing is an absolute guarantee of transformation, and you will see the difference.
You won't have any sexual dreams, you won't have any sexual fantasies. And if you repress, then you are going to be in trouble. Even Mahatma Gandhi, who was repressing his sexuality, at the age of seventy years was having nocturnal emissions. It is ugly. But I am grateful to him because he was truthful. He at least accepted it. Your so-called saints will not accept it.
Repression will show itself -- there is no doubt about it. Some day or other it will bring sex to your mind, either waking or sleeping. But if the energy is transformed then you will have a radiance, a glow, a certain light around you, a certain silence surrounding you; a blissfulness, a coolness that not only you will feel but those who are open also will feel.
If you just pass by their side they will feel that not only a person has passed but a phenomenon has passed. Something of your inner core will have touched them. Some music is bound to be heard by those who have ears. And as far as you are concerned there is an absolute distinction: you won't have any ideas, waking or sleeping, about sex.