Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Being the Watcher Instead of the Thinker

What is important is to watch one's own mind. Observe the thinker rather than be the thinker. Observe your thoughts while trying to be detached from them. This is what is meant when someone tells you to be the watcher. This is easier said than done because we are taught to be the thinker rather than be an observer.

When you are happy one day and then unhappy the next, then that is suffering. Only the illusion of time makes the pleasure and the pain seem separate when they are two sides of the same coin. Can you detach yourself from both? Likewise, if you do get frustrated because you got angry or frustrated with someone, forgive yourself. The quicker you can drop the emotion or feeling that is making you miserable, the better. Ask yourself, "Who is angry?" or "Who is upset?". Is it the observer or the thinker? I AM or the "little me"?

"I am not supposed to be this way. I should be more enlightened."

Who is setting that expectation? Likely the same entity that is doing all the thinking, the "little me". Any negativity means that you've become "unconscious", become identified with the thinker. Getting lost in "drama", feeling sorry for yourself, another form of drama, all are indications that you've become aligned with thinking rather than observing those thoughts. I try to meditate or "feel my body" to try to break the identification with my egoic mind, the thinker. Sometimes I can succeed and sometimes I fail.

One doesn't become the thinker overnight. It was learned as a young child and one can't expect to break a learned response overnight. It takes time for neural nets to realign. There are instances where people have spontaneously and permanently awakened into the new consciousness, but they were on the razor's edge of suicide, under tremendous suffering. Instead the false self (and some neurons) died rather than the body in those instances, but 99.9999% of people usually succumb to self destruction rather than awakening. So, that is why for most people it takes effort and time to become the watcher, although we are already the watcher. More likely, it takes time to weaken the thinker and make it submissive to the observer or watcher. (It can be argued that it takes no time to be the watcher which is true, but what we are talking about here is sustaining or lengthening the watchful periods of consciousness.) That may be the more correct view or perspective of the process.

There is anecdotal evidence that Enlightened individuals can act as catalysts to awaken individuals and groups, but without any empirical evidence one has to adopt a wait and see approach and just work on oneself. The more Enlightened individuals on the planet, the easier it might be for others to awaken, just like it takes a certain number of people to adopt an idea before it becomes accepted throughout a culture, a critcal mass or threshold has to be reached.

Note: There is a way to hasten the process, but it's illegal. The use of the recreational drug LSD destroys the ego. We aren't interested in destroying the ego so much as minimizing it. It would be an interesting experiment, but since it's illegal, I can't advocate the use of such a drug. Perhaps a psychiatrist could administer LSD under controlled circumstances for those who wish to experiment.
I think it's not a matter of technique, or method, i. e., something you exercise or practice in order to become enlightened. That would be artificial, like making your mind still or peaceful. Of course, there are many systems that advocate this.
Rather it is a matter of getting an insight or understanding of the thinker and the thought, or the observer and the observed. It is very difficult to explain this without being misunderstood.
How do you acquire this insight? Let me try to explain it carefully.
One possible hindrance to this understanding, or state of consciousness, altho it is really not a state, is the fact that we think, as a thinker we are separate from the thought. Or as an observer we are separate from the observed. When in fact the thinker is thought, or the observer is the observed. There is no difference or separation. To think otherwise would be to think that as thinker you need to separate yourself from your thoughts in order to control thoughts or to be in control. The same could be said of the observer and the observed. But once one realizes that the thinker is the thought, the thought the thinker, then the apparent separation between the thinker and the thought would be disolved. This means there is only the thought and no thinker. There is really no thinker at all, just thoughts which creates or makes up the ego, therefore no conflict. No conflict between the thinker and the thought, or the observer and the observed. Either way is correct. One realizes in fact that there is only the thought, or thoughts, or the observed. This should bring about psychological transformation when realized. Because conflict is resolved. What happens after that is something you may have to find out for yourself.
However, before you can realized this you may have to do a little thinking, or experimentation. Nobody else can make that realization for you.
Also don't worry about tremendous suffering or explosion of the mind. This happens only when one is so deluded, you may actually think something spectacular or tremendously powerful will happen. The side effects are usually the result of wrong ideas and fears, and tension. At least this is what I think.
I also think that sometimes the event, if there is one, happens without you knowing or realizing it. You could be enlightened now without knowing it.
However, these are just my ideas. It doesn't mean I have experienced this or that. I simply just stopped trying to be enlightened, which doesn't mean that I am.
Finally if I may add something to strengthen you while waiting for the event to happen, try not to run away from suffering or to push it away. In this way, you can develop mental and physical strength and endurance. But again perhaps there will no such event, just some realization that you are free or liberated.
LSD??? really? Someone once said a mind is a terrible thing...waste it!" now i know why! interesting post!

Thank you Jbmoore :)
As Tolle mentions, these are strange times. On the one hand, there are people who are moving toward greater enlightenment. On the other hand, a whole bunch of people are moving in the opposite direction too.

Whether we mess up or not as a species won't make or break the universe. But as a member of the club (like it or not!) you do what you can while you're here.
I have learned so much from Watts and Wilber regarding the Witness (thanks to Trev Diesel) and here's your post on the topic!

We here in the west aren't taught such notions,it's as foreign to us as can possibly be- and yet, with a little patience and time... it begins to make sense...and really changes, or alters, reality.

My first experience of "no-self" coupled with an all encompassing "I Am" came as a child and then again while under the influence of LSD as a teenager.
Although I cannot advocate the use of such drugs to anyone- for me, it was an experience so incredible, I realized it cannot be repeated except by way of 'ordinary realization'. There is no other way to become as 'high' as realizing that 'ordinary consciousness' is It... right here, right now- It's here and we simply need only be the experiencer.

Great post, I'm hooked and will be back to learn from your words what is mine to learn.
As the anonymous poster said, the thinker is the thought, realizing this has a tremendous effect. there is no thinker or controller anymore, just observation, either observation of thought or other stuff externally, and in this observation the thoughts which arise die naturally. There is no conflict in this, nor any determination. I know the comment I'm putting is for a post which is somewhat old, but I felt it is vital. (I came upon this post via google)(22th Nov 2008))
I am interested in this from a standpoint that I now am starting to believe that there is an animating force in the universe and we are all a part of that force. I do feel, and have always had the inkling that I am in this world but not of it, but did not know why I felt this way. I think that now that I hear these same phrases repeated in many texts and by other people, that in my understanding and acceptance, one day I will be free.
They are just two states.Thinking state of the Mind and Non thinking state, where Mind is not involved.Mostly we are in the thinking state unconsciously.We can also be in the thinking state consciously if we move to Non Thinking or Witnessing state and continue to witness the controlled thinking like seeing a movie.
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