March 2016

Beloved Nukunu, when you live the everyday life and you are not the doer, are you the witness of what is unfolding? Could you write a little about how to be the witness in daily life?

Question

Beloved Nukunu, when you live the everyday life and you are not the doer, are you the witness of what is unfolding? Could you write a little about how to be the witness in daily life?

Nukunu

To come into who you truly are, is first to become aware of a presence deep in you that is not changing. Whatever is going on, like perceptions, feelings, body experiences and thoughts, there is always a sense of presence – of being that which is not changing. This is in a way the beginning. If there was not something deep in you that were always the same under all circumstances, you would become mad. This place is your sanity otherwise you would not be able to say “I am the same. Yes, I can have different moods and states, but I am the same!” So ask yourself: “Am I not the same now, when I am reading this text, as I was this morning?” Of course you are, otherwise you would not be able to function.

This sameness is called “Atman” in Advaita Vedanta. It is the pure sense of existing or pure consciousness. Don’t put a predicate after it, because then it becomes an ego-personality. Just stay in the pure “am-ness” which is always the same. One thing is to know this sameness; another is to realize it and to be it all the time. In Advaita they say that this is the difference between knowing the Atman (the sameness) and being it. It is called an awakening when we get a very clear experience of the sameness, but we are still in illusion because we, as an ego-mind, are experiencing it. There are two! We feel as if we have really touched something important and beautiful (the philosopher’s stone), but we also feel – we know – that it is not finished yet. It is not the end. This sameness is the depth of our heart and there are no words here.

The next step is to realize the Atman; the sameness. You are it! That is a shift in your whole way of seeing life and yourself. Before you were experiencing everything from the point of view of the “me” and the body. Experiences were coming and going in time and space. Suddenly this point of view changed so you could see everything from pure consciousness itself; from the realization of “I” as the Atman. Now experiences and you (the “me”) are no longer separated. It is a feeling of merging with all experiences and it is extremely comfortable. To live from here is an ongoing recognition which happens effortlessly. An experience is arising, and it is effortlessly and momentarily known as you – the Atman. This is knowing everything from the fourth dimension; in your deepest heart. You feel yourself being beyond time and space. You are in the world but not of the world!

In Advaita Vedanta this is called “Sat-Chit-Ananda” – truth, witnessing, and bliss. This is how I experience life, but only when I am present here now; when I am conscious. I can also forget myself in activities, but the moment I am here now I am the true reality in everything. There is just me and all the experiences are dreamlike, transparent and appearing only in this now. And this “me” this now is the Divine. “I and God are one” as Christ says in the Gospel of Thomas.

So this is my answer to you. When I am present I live in Sat-Chit-Ananda, and that is a feeling of absolute freedom.

Many people who meditate are stuck in the first state: “sitting in emptiness”. Zen calls this state “Conceptual Enlightenment”. You are experiencing the sameness, but there are still two: you (the ego-mind) and the experience of sameness. On the other hand, Zen also talks about “Existential Enlightenment” which means realizing and living the sameness. When you come here, you can say with Advaita Vedanta: “Tat twam asi” – I am THAT.

 

 

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