Friday, 17 October 2014

Developing Witness Sense

Witness sense or Sakshi bhava is an onlooker attitude in meditation. You become detached from all perceptions, sensations, imaginations and thoughts. Actually, you're already detached from the world but it's because of mind that you find yourself identified with various things and states. It's you- who gives life to thoughts. Unless you energize the mind it cannot exist on its own.

By developing witness sense you create gaps of being in your thought stream. In other words you slow down the thought process. It helps you gradually come into contact with your Self.

There are certain things which help you develop witness sense. It's indispensable to be a witness of your entire content of consciousness always in order to become really aware; but in the beginning it's just not possible for you to remain so aware. Therefore you must take certain steps towards awakening witness sense. You might keep a journal in which you record your feelings without any inhibition whatsoever. This helps in paving initial path for you. Then you should find certain moments of complete silence where you can sit all by yourself and meditate. You don't have to do anything. There is no need of any method or technique--just see the chattering of your mind. See how it brings before you so many excuses to not sit. 

The main help comes from holding onto a single thought or word. Our mind is a complete chaos running from subject to subject in a very short time. It cannot be still unless you have something constant to hold onto. If you have a thought or word which you use on a regular basis to hold your attention--it becomes very easy to witness. You let witnessing happen by itself--you just bring your attention back to a central thought.

For example--you may take a thought like "it's a thought." Now as you see a thought in your mind you say 'it's a thought' and you come back to the center and realize your mind's content. Again--the same pointer will point to itself as well--saying--'it's a thought,' and this would go on and on ad infinitum but you would perpetually remain a witness. Any other stray sensation, perception, image or idea would be caught by the thought 'it's a thought' and you would not get further distracted by it. Similarly you might choose to pay attention to your sense of being and hold on to the thought 'i am.' Now, as you continue to hold your attention to this central idea--you would find that a cloud of thoughts passes by but you ever stay in this very thought of being 'i am.' This way you can develop witness sense and thereafter you can proceed to the supreme sense of being by completely obliterating attachment with content of your mind.

image source: here