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Can I Get A Witness?

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free of danger. May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. May you be peaceful, kind, wise, and skillful. May you be at ease.

The Internal Observer

I believe that each of us carries a bit of inner brightness, something entirely unique and individual, a flame that's worth protecting. When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it. When we learn to foster what's unique in the people around us, we become better able to build compassionate communities and make meaningful change." — Michelle Obama, The Light We Carry

Eastern cultures have a major emphasis on the Witness Consciousness. Sakshin , or the witness consciousness, is considered the pinnacle of Indian spirituality. Above the various states of consciousness is the transcendental Self, which is known as the witness (sakshin) of any and all mental and psychological events.

The Witness Consciousness is defined as the Witnessing Attitude, which exists within us but is distinct from the mind. By cultivating this Witness, we can strive to disconnect from our personal stories and become unbound from our biases, desires, wishes and habits. The Witness Consciousness is not about removing ourselves from life or becoming emotionally disconnected. Quite the opposite, it is the manifestation of the spiritual aspiration that can be sensed at the core of any motion, activity, asana, etc. In essence, the Spiritual Heart, or Divine Consciousness, is the fundamental element of any action.

An Alternate Term for the Individual

The atman (Supreme Self) is otherwise known as the Witness Consciousness. This idea has been associated with yoga since Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which refers to it as the Seer.

The practice of yoga is all about stilling the agitations of the mind (chitta). Then, the Witness Consciousness (Seer) resides in its purest form. At all other times, the Witness Consciousness is associated with the fluctuations of the mind.

Patanjali affirms that we are apt to overlook the Pure Awareness and Tranquility that lies beneath the surface due to our preoccupation with thoughts, feelings, and other "fluctuations". If we acquire the capability to become still, then the Witness Consciousness will be brightened to its original state. This is what is known as yoga.

According to Patanjali, the root of all anguish and misery (karma) is our association of the Witness Consciousness with our feelings, notions, and sentiments. Thus, it logically follows that the path to freedom from suffering lies in our dis-identification with them.

2:16 It is possible to surpass [ agami karma ] and the resulting suffering.
2:17 The misalignment between the Observer [Witness Consciousness] and what is observed [Nature] is the source of the sorrow that needs to be overcome.

Acting with Awareness

The Witness Consciousness penetrates numerous layers of varying depths. We commonly use the term "conscious action" to refer to actions that are taken with knowledge and awareness. Conscious actions are only that when they are no longer associated with a single individual; when we recognize that the source of the action is the infinite consciousness of the Spiritual Heart. Truly, the Heart is the origin of any action that is taken free from attachments and out of love, not to bolster one's own ego.

Developing the Awareness of Observation

The practice of cultivating the witness consciousness is a valuable tool for leading a mindful life. This involves becoming aware of your own thoughts and feelings in order to observe them from a distance, without judging or reacting. This allows you to gain insight into your own behavior and thought processes, enabling you to make better decisions in the future. To cultivate this awareness, try to practice mindfulness and self-reflection each day. Make sure to pause throughout the day to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement. Additionally, try to become aware of your physical sensations, such as your breathing and posture. This can help to ground you in the present moment and enhance your capacity for observation.

Join Us

Join us as we begin the Spring 2023 season with two workshops—Nine Doors to the Soul and Beyond the Doors—that will help to increase your awareness and productivity as you continue your service to the betterment of our global village.


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