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The Witness

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      David Filippone

        Image:  ‘Witness’ by Foundry Co – Pixabay


        During a recent TSK Study Group meeting, we discussed,  ‘Dynamics of Time and Space,’ Chapter 12, about ‘the witness’.  “The witness makes it possible for us to take a stand in time, and this positioning is fundamental for mak­ing sense of the flow of events.”  [DTS p.103]  This is the self, AS witness. We also discussed the difference between the self, ‘I’, that assumes the position of the witness… and a more ‘fundamental witnessing’ that is without a self-referential focus.  So, I came across these quotes on the subject.  Though it’s NOT from the TSK books per se, but instead from the book, ‘Searcher Reaches Land’s Limits’.  I found it an interesting TSK echo, and worth sharing… Here are the quotes:

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        “PAGE 259, PARAGRAPH 1 [Revelations of Mind]: Mind’s regime can play along with understanding, commenting and agreeing: “Witness this. Yes. That could be a problem. Yes. Look more closely. Yes. Getting pleasure. Yes. Making progress. Yes” In seeming to accommodate understanding, mind is actually stalking it.

        Having realized that we need to generate internal space to accommodate our reactivity, we may end up with our mind obediently stalking experience as if it’s a witness. We may think to ourselves, “I’m doing this now. I’m looking at my own experience and understanding it!” Unfortunately we are not. The regime [of mind] has reinserted itself as a witness into our experience. All we’ve done is suppressed reactivity and reconstituted it as a witness. 

        PAGE 259, PARAGRAPH 1, CONT’D 1 [Revelations of Mind]: Subtly inserting itself in the process, it is shifting the central focus to ME. ME: having a problem. Yes. ME: working on it. Yes. ME: depending on my mind for progress and improvement. Yes. With this, we have come full circle: the mechanisms of mind are once again in charge.

        Rather than being a ‘me’ watching ourselves, we should embrace our experience. Embracing is strange and potentially dangerous because by embracing we lose that sense of ourselves. We lose ‘me’. We lose the self-referential focus around which we’ve organized our life. After all, without the perspective of ‘me’, who’s going to get the job done? Without ‘me’, how can ‘I’ do this? How can ‘I’ remember all this stuff? We think to ourselves, “‘I’ have got to be there to pull all the levers. It doesn’t work if ‘I’ am not! If I’m not in the middle how can ‘I’ possibly integrate all that is happening?” But this way of thinking is mistaken. The ‘me’ is the source of all the self-reference.

        [ ‘Searcher…” Volume II, p. 125-6, paperback. emphasis added]

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        The importance here, it seems to me, is not to vilify the self as bad, but rather, to recognize the difference between, on the one hand, a self claiming a superior position as THE WITNESS, and on the other, Open Witnessing… the former is exclusionary with narrow focusing by its nature, the latter is not.



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