Adhyatma Upanishad, Chapter 37
BY KNOWING ONESELF AS THE INDIVIDUAL WITNESSING SELF OF THE INTELLECT, AND ALL ITS MOODS, AND CULTIVATING SUCH FEELINGS AS "I AM THAT," ONE SHOULD RENOUNCE ANY IDENTIFICATION WITH ALL THINGS EXCEPT THE SELF.
AFTER CEASING TO FOLLOW OTHERS, ONE SHOULD CREATE A DISTANCE WITH ONE'S OWN BODY. THEN ONE SHOULD STOP FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES AND GIVE UP ONE'S IDENTIFICATION WITH THE SELF ALSO.
WHEN A YOGI IS ROOTED IN THE SELF, HIS MIND IS DESTROYED BY FOLLOWING RIGHT METHOD, RIGHT LISTENING, AND HIS FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE, AND BY SEEING OTHERS AS HIS OWN SELF.
HE THEN, CONTEMPLATES THE SELF, INSIDE THE HEART, WITHOUT GIVING AN EAR TO WHAT PEOPLE SAY, WITHDRAWING HIS ATTENTION FROM THE OBJECTS OF THE SENSES:
SOUND, TOUCH, SIGHT, TASTE AND SMELL COLLECTIVELY; AND HE DOES NOT GIVE IN TO SLEEP OR FORGETFULNESS OF THE SELF.
The word "witnessing" is one of the most significant words, particularly in Eastern spiritual alchemy.
This word is a key word. So we must understand what witnessing means.
We act, we do something, and the moment we do it we become the doer - you walk, you become the walker. But there is one more possibility - to remain a witnesser, to remain a witness. Walk, eat, or do whatsoever; don't be identified with the act, don't become one with the act. Remain a witness.
Walk, eat, or do whatsoever; don't be identified with the act, don't become one with the act. Remain a witness, an observer, looking from afar. You are walking; remain a witness to your own walking, don't be identified with it. And suddenly, if you can remain in witnessing, you will feel the body is walking, not you. You have never walked - how can you walk? Only the body can walk.
You are eating. If you can witness this act, if you can observe the very process of eating.... The body eats. You have never eaten; you have always been on a fast. The consciousness inside has never eaten anything. How can the consciousness eat? That is impossible. Hunger belongs to the body, the food goes to the body not to the consciousness. Food is a fuel. Your body is a mechanism, it needs fueling constantly - water and food - but you are not your mechanical body.
Look at it in this way: You are driving a car - the petrol goes into the car, not into the driver. The body is just like a car; the only difference is that your driver, you, cannot come out of it. That's why you become identified with it. If a boy is born in a car as a driver, and is not allowed to move out, he will become identified with the car. When the car is hungry, the boy will feel "I am hungry."
The body is just a vehicle. You are born in it, and you have never been out of it; that creates the problem. There are ways to be out of it. And once you are out of your body, then you will never be identified with it. One out-of-body experience will make you free of the identification that you are the body. Then you will know you are the driver.
And this witnessing is the process of going out of the body.
First, one has to destroy the identification; only then you can move out. You have to destroy the inner clinging with the body, and then you can move out. If you go on clinging with the body you cannot go out of it - and it is not difficult to go out of it. The out-of-body experience is easy, and it is beautiful to have it. It is worth experiencing, because once you can feel yourself a little bit out, the body becomes different. Then you can never feel yourself AS the body. Then you will feel IN the body, but never as the body.
Witnessing is the method.
Whatsoever you are doing, remember you are not the doer. Here, you are listening. Just now, I am talking. While I am talking, I know I am not talking; I am a witness to my talking. The talking is done by the body, by the mind; it is a mechanical thing. I go on witnessing myself - not as the talker, but as the witness of the talk. If you can also do this while listening - if you are not identified with the listener, with your mechanism; if you can witness, if you remember yourself as the observer of listening - if you can observe your own listening, if you can look at your own listening as a witness, suddenly a new point of consciousness arises in you. And this point has to be created continuously; only then will this point become crystallized.
So whatsoever you are doing - laughing, laugh, but be a witness also. When someone else is laughing, you are a witness; when you are laughing, be a witness to it also. Look at it as if someone else is laughing. Run, and be a witness. Do anything, go on witnessing it. Witnessing can continue with your usual day-to-day life; there is no need to ask for time. Whatsoever you are doing - taking a bath, eating, whatsoever, any trivial thing - remember only one thing, that "I am not the doer, I am just a witness." This will create in you a new consciousness.
That's what is meant by being an actor in life. One man is acting as Rama, another is acting as Ravana. They fight on the stage, but they remember: Rama knows he is not Rama; he is only acting, doing a part, and he remains a witness. He is not identified with what he is doing. If you can take this whole world as a big stage, a big drama, and if you can perceive yourself as acting, then you can become a witness. And if you can witness, you have gone beyond, you have transcended.
Look at life as a drama - it is. And once you can look at it as a drama, you will feel a different energy arising in you, and a different mind being born. That different energy, that different consciousness, will help you to go out of the body very easily. And if you can go out of your body, you can go out of the world, because world is nothing but a big body.
Your body is just part of a big body - the world. If you can go out of this capsule body, you can go out of the cosmic body. Then there is no problem, the process is the same. Once you can jerk yourself out of the body, you have gone out of the world. Then you can come back, but then you will not have to remember that this world is a drama - you will know. That will be the difference: you will KNOW it is a drama. Then you will not have to remember that you are acting and you have to witness - you WILL act and you WILL be the witness.
While meditating, continue witnessing. Your body is dancing; don't get identified - and there are two ways of getting identified. When you are dancing you feel that you are dancing - this is one way. When you are dancing, you feel "What will others say if I dance?" so you stop - that too is identification. In both the cases you miss the point. Dance, dance as madly as possible, but still remain witnessing; still remain constantly aware of an inner center which is not dancing, only the body is dancing.
There is a method, a Sufi method know as dervish dancing. Sufis dance. Their sect, a particular sect of Sufis is know as the whirling dervishes. You might have observed small children whirling, dancing round and round and then getting in a whirl. They get dizzy and their parents will stop them, check them, prevent them: "Stop! You will get dizzy! You may even get nausea!" But small children often like it very much, and the reason is that small children are still not too much in the body. They are entering by and by. Remember this: when a child enters into the womb, he has to adjust; the soul has to adjust with the body. It takes nine months, but still it is not completely adjusted. When the child is born, then by and by the soul adjusts. And small children like whirling. Why? - because when they whirl, they get a deep kick, and in that kick they again feel themselves beyond the body.
And that's a beautiful experience - that's why they like it.
Studying this whirling of children, Sufis have developed a method, a meditation method - they turn, whirl. If you go to them, they will tell you to dance, and go on in a mad whirl, and remain a witness - as if a wheel is moving, and the axis is there and on the axis, the wheel is moving. The axis is just non-moving, and the wheel moves on - just like a wheel of a cart, the wheel goes on moving.
It moves on the axis which is unmoving, non-moving. The axis remains constantly in one position, centered, and the wheel moves on it. Whirl like a wheel, and remember your witness inside as a center. Suddenly you will feel you are the center and the body is just a wheel.
If you can feel this, you are separated - you have become different from the body. You have know that the center and the periphery are different. Once you know this you will be a different man - and this is not knowledge, this is not information; this is a lived experience.
So while doing meditation here - just now, after this, we will be doing meditation - you will be jumping and crying and screaming and staring at me, remain constantly a witness. Feel yourself jumping, screaming, crying, "hoo! hoo!" staring at me.
But remain a witness to the whole thing.
Know that "the body is jumping, the mind is crying, I am silently standing inside." When the body is jumping and crying and in so much movement, and you are standing still, inside, you will be thrown out of the body. Sometimes the balance will be lost, and you will be out of the body. Even if a little bit you miss the body, and your body and you go on in different directions, you will become aware of the deepest experience VEDANTA can teach you - or any religion can teach you. The deepest experience is to know that "I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am the self." And ultimately even not the self - "I am the no-self, or I am the universal self."
Now we will be doing our last meditation of the day. First, let me explain it to you. The process is very simple: I will be standing or sitting here; you have to stare at me constantly. Don't waver your eyes; just stare at me. Go on jumping and crying, "hoo!" Both your hands will be raised towards the sky. Go on staring at me so that an inner communion is established. And remember yourself as a witness of the whole process. Don't inhibit, and don't withhold yourself. Move totally, so the wheel moves completely. And with the complete movement of the wheel, you can stand still inside.