Hello, everybody! Giant photo, huh?
I’m not going to hold you up from the main post, but I do want to share a bit of news with you. I’m doing an interview tonight with Richard Miller of Never Not Here. Richard is living in Thailand these days, so the hour is a bit different, but it’s an earlyish morning for him, and a latish night for me, which seems quite equitable. I don’t yet know when it’ll air, but you know this self-promoting unit is not going to let you miss it!
Richard is a totally fascinating character who’s really done a lot to bring Nonduality closer to the mainstream. I watched him regularly before I became a slave to this teaching. I can’t do much of anything but teach these days, so I’m really excited about the prospect of talking to him. We’re very different sorts of people, which can be fun, and I can already tell from our emails that this is going to be a blast!
Let me tip my hat to Arlene Zubris, our Forum Manager. She does a great job over there, and on her own initiative she went out and hooked me up with Never Not Here. By the time I heard about it, the deal was already done, which is fabulous. No muss, no fuss on my part. It’ll be one more avenue for sharing The Living Method to a growing global audience, which is always appealing. Thank you, Arlene!
Both The Book of Undoing and The Book of Unknowing having been floating in and out of Amazon’s Top Ten Bestsellers in Eastern Philosophy for the last couple of weeks, which is always fun. Mind you, Eastern Philosophy is not exactly the Romance or Suspense category, so there are not a gazillion copies going out, but it’s still a pretty big deal for the category, at least to me. There’s a lot of Eastern Philosophy out there folks. Sales of the audio book of The Book of Undoing are steady, and I’ve gotten both some good reviews and some glowing mail on it. I’ve just asked our Webmaster, Roland Jackman, to make it more visible in the sidebars.
Now to our post.
The Last Veil: The Witness in Nonduality
I had a Clarity Session this week with an interesting guy from Asheville, NC (I’ll call him K) who had a meeting with me on Skype a few weeks back. I helped him wake up that day, and he woke up very, very clearly. He’d done a lot of clearing prior to awakening; thus, he’s making quite good progress within post-awakening–all in a very short while.
What I’m saying is that when K saw it, he really saw it. He was brightly awake when I left him at the end of our Awakening Session, and he was just about as brightly awake when we started out yesterday, and glowing like a light bulb when we parted at the end of our Clarity Session. As Life would have it, I’d been planning on doing this post, and what did K want to talk about? The witness!
I love it when Life pulls things together like that, don’t you? Another example occurred last night, as I was writing this post, when I got an email from a client asking about the exact thing I had cut a video on just the evening before. I simply sent her a link to On Presence…and Absence. Score one for God.
CAUTION, SELF-PROMOTION AHEAD: This is why it’s a good idea to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I currently have 62 videos available, and one or another of them will answer almost every question I get, and I get a lot of questions, the great majority of which I simply don’t have the time to answer, certainly not in detail. I can’t begin to enumerate the number of times viewers have written to say, “I was just pondering so and so, and then your new video arrived out of the blue and cleared the whole thing up for me.”
At any rate, these synchronicities show up in our lives all the time. It’s a tease from formless Reality to Itself as form, meaning these units it’s wearing. Manifestation, however illusory we might hear that it is, can certainly be a laugh riot. Who would want ever want to transcend such a terrific opportunity for joy and love and simple surprise?
Well, yeah, I did for quite a while! Fine. I did what I did until I didn’t. Now I know better.
Awakenings tend to go through a number of identifiable stages, and investigating the witness is not something we usually do in early awakening. This is simply because the depth of seeing that sparks interest in it often does not arise in early awakening. Granted, I certainly write and talk about the oneness of all, and I both illuminate and demonstrate this in session, but the more subtle aspects of oneness often go unseen for a while, sometimes for a very long while. My friend K, however, had the ears to hear; thus, he heard, and when something about his experience wasn’t quite lining up, he wanted a closer look immediately, so he called me. You just have to admire that.
So what I’ll be sharing with you about here is essentially what K and I talked about earlier this week. He and I also did some Attention Practice, which I can’t exactly duplicate here, but this video I’m linking to is an excellent example of what Attention Practice looks like, and hints at the extraordinary clarity that can be found through it. Attention Practice is not a one-shot, do-it-forget-it practice. I do it almost every day with clients, and it moves me a little deeper ever time I do it. I also simply love it. If I could only have one practice in post-awakening, this would be it.
K and I also fell into a bit of secret-handshake stuff that I’ve sworn to The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes (Fred Flintstone’s social club in Bedrock) that I won’t go into here, but I’ll give you the general takeaway from the bulk of our hour. Let me use this to illustrate to newcomers that whatever I write on this pages is never theory–unless I announce it as such–which is either rare, or never; I can’t remember every post. Suggested practices are all field-tested with clients and have been proven to be widely effective.
First off, if you don’t know a lot about the witness state, then let me share another link, which leads to a video that is, quite frankly, the best and fastest way I know of to enter it immediately, even if I did cut the video myself about the time The Book of Undoing came out. Now, obviously I would not have cut a half-hour video on something that was without value. The witness state is a big jump up from everyday awareness. Because of this, the witness state can be incredibly useful in helping us to explore an alternative view of Reality.
I remember my stay there quite well and quite fondly. It lasted a good while. I also well remember the summer night years ago when my friend Scott Kiloby told me the truth about it. You could have knocked me over with a feather. That’s what I’m going to do for you here.
My newest friend in Asheville (among many) told me that he’d been experiencing the witness state since his awakening, but he was now beginning to sense that it was some sort of a provisional truth, not a complete truth. And of course he was right.
We begin to experience the witness state when our identification with ‘little me’ has begun to unravel and deteriorate. Suddenly we’re not taking things so seriously any more. This is where the sense of detachment initially comes from. It can be very freeing. We are at that point directly, if not solely or stably, identifying with the Vastness instead of just the body and mind. We have moved from one side of the yin-yang circle to the other.
Before my awakening I had been hoping that if and when realization came about, it would somehow help me to transcend my then sucking-out-loud relative life. It didn’t. What it did do, however, after a fine beginner’s romp as Pure Nondual Awareness, was give me some distance from it, which probably saved my life. Awakening didn’t solve my problematic life situation, and it didn’t catapult me out of it, but it did allow me to see that the lousy life content I was suffering from didn’t belong to me. It was Fred’s mess, and screw him!
This is an example of the detachment that can be experienced from the witness state. This is also the level or realization that’s been seen by a lot of folks who are in the “no one here, and nothing to do” stage. It can be a confusing time–it was for me–but with luck it’s just a stage we’ll eventually pass through. However much “nondual experiencing” is showing up for us, it always feels like the whole thing. That’s one of the hallmarks of an authentic awakening, but it’s probably one of the hallmarks of an inauthentic awakening experience as well, so I wouldn’t go to the bank on this feeling.
Until we have begun to see deeply enough to recognize that we don’t know a damn thing, fresh openings usually run sort of like this: “OH!!! YES!! NOW I see! THIS is the truth! Of COURSE! I used to think I knew the truth, but I see now that I only knew some of the truth, even though I thought I saw all of the truth. It’s a good thing I SEE IT ALL now.”
Or other innocent bullshit to that same effect.
We always know what we know, but we never know what we don’t know. If we can keep this little maxim in mind, we may be able to stay open and humble enough to receive more, and more, and more. I think the reason I am able to generally maintain some modicum of humility–in this one area–is because it plays to my sense of greed: be small, grow larger. It’s a bit of a paradox.
There’s no end to opening if we don’t end it ourselves. I ran across something by Meister Eckhart, the 13th and 14th Century Christian mystic, that spoke of “the humility of our perplexity,” and this is what he was talking about–knowing that we don’t know. But what a turn of phrase!
WHAT IS THE WITNESS?
What we call the witness or the witness state, is simply the first-hand experience that “I am not my character.” We see/feel/intuit what we are not. It’s like you’ve been pulling a cart your whole life, and suddenly it’s released. It generally feels quite “mystical”, or at least it did for me. We move from unsuccessful seeker to partially successful finder. As mentioned above, the good news about this breakthrough is as same as the bad news: it feels like that’s all there is to get. It’s not.
Seeing through everyday life, what we can call relativity, is not a life strategy. We can’t live a negative; we can’t live what we’re not. We can, however, know that something big has happened, and that we’re absolutely on the right track, and that if we behave, then more will surely follow. That right there is an example of a successful takeaway from the witness state.
The witness state is almost surely going to first show up as an intermittent experiencing. As a rule, this will then be followed by it gradually showing up more and more and/or for longer and longer. I remember when I could willfully move from the witness to Fred, back and forth, like it was a toggle switch. That was very comforting and encouraging.
And then things began to get a little dry. This is the problem with trying to live a negative–trying to live what we are not, instead of trying to live as we are. We may become subject to listlessness, depression and nihilism–WTF? Who cares? It’s no fun.
So, to help you stay out of that mire, let me share with you the secret identity of the witness. It’s a thought. I remember when I was talking to Scott that night, though I don’t remember what we were talking about. I brought up the witness and he said quietly, “Fred, the witness is a thought.” The instant I heard that it shot through my brain and body like a blazing sky rocket. I remember nearly falling down.
I was so ripe! That’s what Scott knew better than I did. Teachers can often sense when we’re on the edge of something, and then they can nudge us toward the gate. I flew through it! This was the second piece of the puzzle. This was what was missing. When I initially woke up, I moved from the white side of the yin-yang to the dark side. I didn’t actually give up my identity, I just moved it from identification with the relative to identification with the Absolute. I went from being Fred to being not-Fred.
I, however, am Oneness. I am the whole thing. I am both sides. I am the full circle. And so are you.
When K asked me to help him out with the now-suspect witness, I did not launch into a lecture. I said, “Let me show you.” We then launched into an hour of Attention Practice that went further and deeper than I imagined it would. Fine. What happens happens. Check out that Attention Practice video. It’s a good way into the witness, and it’s also a good way out of it.
July 22, 2014