Throwing a Wrench in the Witness

More gems from the book, “F*ck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way.” I’ve been working very consciously with the five tips expounded on in chapter 2. They are Relaxing, Letting Go, Accepting, Watching Impartially, and Conscious Breathing. I have been paying particular attention to these tips during my daily meditation practice. The “Watching Impartially” tip has lead to a bit of a breakthrough. This concept is often referred to as the witness (as I am sure you are all aware). There is a feature of the witness that is called out on the spiritual path as a stumbling blockĀ or conundrum. That conundrum is the phenomenon of the infinite regress that can come from standing (or sitting) as the witness. The root idea of the witness is often stated as, “That which you see, you cannot be.” Because whatever it is that you see, you saw it. The issue is that you can then become aware that you witnessed it, which means you witnessed the witnessing, so that cannot be you, and the regress cranks up.

What hit home for me was the word “impartially” in the Fuck It tip of “Watching Impartially.” That distinction drove home in a deep way the “not me” portion of witnessing. It appears that there are at least two things powering the infinite regress of witnessing. One is the simple circular logic of it. The other is identification as the one having the thought, “I witnessed X.” The logic part can be handled by the recognition in logic that any infinite regress is invalid. The impartiality helped me grok the trouble of identification. I sat watching impartially, the witness regress started up, and then the notion came up, “Whew! I’m glad that’s not me doing all that spinning.” Then, of course, that notion got pulled into the regress by witnessing that I had witnessed my gratitude of not identifying, but the power of the thing dropped dramatically. As I sat there smiling, relaxed, accepting, letting go, breathing, and watching, the loop of thought slowly faded away. It was free to do what it wanted, just like the sounds of the room, and the feelings of the body, because they were not me.

These days when I have a breakthrough I almost always see the teasing of that breakthrough that has been going on for some time. This was no different. But, I find it very useful to make note of what happens that crystallizes these breakthroughs so that they can really sink in.

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