“The Varaha Upanishad (Part IV) refers to the Bhumika (‘stage of development of wisdom’) which is of the form of pranava (Aum or Om) as formed of or divided into – akāra, ukāra, makāra and ardhmātra, which is on account of the difference of sthula (‘gross’), sukshama (‘subtle’), bija (‘seed’ or ‘causal’) and sakshi (‘witness’) whose avasthas (‘states’) are – ‘waking’, ‘dreaming’, ‘dream-less sleep’ and ‘turiya’. Sakshi which is ‘turiya’ is the essence.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakshi_(Witness)
The Thinker seduces the Witness
Thus, here is why the desire for sensual objects latches you to this world. As the causal witness (bija) does not yet know itself, identification with the story of the subtle thinker (sukshama), and gross phenomena (sthula) creates psychic bonds that serve to hold the witness firmly attached to the subtle thinker and gross phenomena (via the subtle thinker). The subtle thinker fabricates stories based loosely on gross phenomena. These stories are enough to be convincing and keep cohesion with apparently unavoidable events. The witness, identified with this story as told by the thinker, becomes engrossed in this narrative of what apparently is, because it’s so beautiful. It is beautiful due to the thinker repressing ‘negative’ and focusing on ‘positive’.
How does the subtle thinker know what the causal witness likes? There is a feedback mechanism, of the most fine and un-seeable. The causal witness transmits pure knowing out, which is accepted as ‘direction’ from the subtle thinker. And so, the causal witness creates the very nature of it’s own prison, firmly encapsulating it within the confines of the subtle thinker’s perspective. Losing the broader, more inclusive perspective of an untethered witnessing mind. This feedback mechanism, can in fact, be used to free the causal witness from identification with the subtle thinker.
The Witness must first ‘see itself’
The causal witness can eventually ‘see itself’ during the stage of meditation where all effort is dropped. It does this by observing the process of the subtle thinker go on, without this idea of ‘control’. In a moment of confusion, and perhaps realization/insight, the causal witness ‘sees itself’. It is the absence of effort that is key here. Without the attachment of effort the witness sees the continuation of what was once seen as the result of effort. Previously the witness saw the cycle of focus and loss of focus as the result of effort. In this moment, the subtle thinker becomes an object, and the witness detaches itself, becoming the subject. At least for a few moments.
One should note that as soon as this happens, the subtle thinker becomes aware of this realization. It becomes aware via that feedback mechanism previously mentioned. Then it begins to re-tell this story on the subtle level via discursive thoughts. “I am now the witness of thoughts” comes out as a thought, how confusing! The thinker is telling the story of observing itself. In a way, this too is a trap. This is another attempt of the thinker to wrest back the identity of “subject”. In a way, the subtle thinker doesn’t want to be ‘seen through’, it wants to be the ‘see-er’.
The Thinker attempts to remain Subject
Here is how identification with gross phenomena gets in the way. The subtle thinker begins to test various methods of keeping the witness identified with the thinker as subject, not object. This results in various ‘attachments’ coming up as a test. This is the thinkers way to see if control can be wrestled back from the witness. If the witness at this point either rejects or accepts any of these attachments the thinker again becomes subject. The identification of thinker as object weakens. For example, the thinker may decide to see if coffee is something the witness may like, or dislike. If coffee has been a pattern, or avoidance of coffee has been a pattern, then it is likely that the witness may get ‘re-latched’ onto the thinker as the subject, at least temporarily.
So far my exploration in this area has yielded the advice of neither rejecting or accepting the offerings of the thinker. Let it go about its business and just watch. Now, we need to be careful here, as a practitioner who lives in the world does still need to go about ‘business’. So there is some need to maintain a basic level of engagement in worldly affairs, while experimenting with letting go.
Seeing the narrow perspective of the Thinker
It is a very interesting to allow the offerings of the thinker to go on without becoming identified with them. It is also very interesting to become re-identified with them, and observe the fallout of that happening. If an attentive eye is paid to the objective result, one can start to see how certain offerings lead to growth, while others lead to harmful situations. From a higher perspective, the witness can see how the thinker has a very narrow definition of what is ‘good’ or what is ‘bad’. As this dance between the two goes on and on, the witness starts to see the fallacy and ignorance of the mechanical form of thinking that is done by the subtle thinker. THIS, helps create the motivation, and the mechanism of ‘wearing thin’ of the attachments to the gross / subtle realm…and the removal of the seat of the subtle thinker as the subject, permanently.
It’s only a matter of time, now.
Also, that’s not the final destination! I am told that even the causal witness, as subject, must eventually be ‘seen through’ and become an object itself. To be continued…
Meet the Author
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals…” - Henry David Thoreau
Cian is a teacher of Yoga and Zen, and a sought after business coach for start-ups and boardroom executives alike. Known for his unique perspective on productivity, this serial entrepreneur and investor is a wealth of fresh ideas, constantly seeking new ways to 'do business better'.
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