The Sun of Witnessing
Osho on Silence and Witnessing
FOR ME IT’S EITHER HIGH-ENERGY EXCITEMENT WHERE LIFE IS WONDERFUL AND A JOY TO BE ALONE; OR VERY OFTEN THESE DAYS THERE’S A QUIETNESS THAT’S DULL AND BORING. IN THE ONE THERE’S JUICE BUT NO AWARENESS, AND IN THE OTHER THERE’S AWARENESS BUT NO JUICE.
IS THERE A KNACK IN BRINGING THESE TWO TOGETHER?
It is a very simple thing. You say you have moments of great ecstasy, full of juice, but you become drowned in that juice; the ecstasy is so overwhelming you forget to be watchful. You become immersed in that ecstasy, the witness is not there. And then you say there are moments when you are sad, bored, but the witness is there. You just have to put things in their right place. Start from your boredom and sadness, because the witness is there and the witness is going to be the bridge. So when you are sad and bored, just watch it, as if it is something outside of you — it is. You are always a witness — now you are witnessing sadness and boredom.
It is easy to witness sadness and boredom, because who wants to get immersed in boredom? But this is of tremendous importance because you can learn the whole art while you are bored. Just watch it, and as your witnessing grows you will see there is a distance between you and the boredom, the sadness, the misery, the pain, the anguish. You are not part of all that experience; you are standing high above on the hills, a watcher on the hills, and everything else is moving down deep in the dark valley. You already have the secret, just practice it more and more. Just sit by the side of a donkey, sit by the side of a buffalo; go on looking at the buffalo and you will be bored! All around you can find objects which will be immensely helpful for you. You need not wait for moments to come, because who knows when the buffalo will come to you? Why not go to the buffalo?
You can just go to our cattle, sit amongst them, and you will be bored. Those cattle will go on munching the grass — do you think you will start munching the grass? You will not get involved in that. Sitting amongst the cattle, amongst the buffaloes, you will find yourself just a witness. Don’t become sad, don’t become bored. Let the boredom be there, let the sadness be there; you remain just a witness. And it is easier in such situations. Once you have strengthened your witness, then let those moments of ecstasy, heights… try your witnessing then. It will be a little difficult there; one wants to jump into that groovy space. Who wants to sit on the bank and watch? — because one is afraid one may be simply watching and the moment will go. Don’t be worried. If you witness, the moment will remain there and will grow deeper, bigger, more colorful. But not at any point have you to become identified with it. Remain detached, just a spectator. The art is the same; whether it is boredom or ecstasy does not matter. What matters is that you are not involved, you remain aloof, you remain standing there…
When you witness, you will be surprised that the boredom, the sadness, the blissfulness, the ecstasy — whatever it is — starts moving away from you. As your witnessing goes deeper, stronger, becomes more crystallized, any experience — good or bad, beautiful or ugly — disappears. There is pure nothingness all around you. Witnessing is the only thing that can make you aware of an immense nothingness surrounding you. And in that immense nothingness…. It is not empty, remember. In English there is no word to translate the Buddhist word shunyata. In that nothingness… it is not empty, it is full of your witness, full of your witnessing, full of the light of your witness. You become almost a sun, and rays from the sun are moving into the nothingness to infinity.
One of the Indian mystics, Kabir, has said, “My first experience was that of a sun, and as my experience went on growing… the outer sun is nothing; the inner sun is infinite. Its light fills the whole infinity of existence. And in that moment I am only a witness; I am there.”
So start witnessing your boredom, sadness, because the question is not the object, the question is the art of witnessing. So use any object — anger, hate, love, jealousy — anything will do. If you cannot find anything just put up a mirror and look at your face and witness it. And you will be surprised, immensely surprised; when you are in a complete state of witnessing the mirror becomes empty, you are not there. In total witnessing the object disappears. You will be able for the first time to see the mirror just as nothingness. Start from things which are easier, and then go on moving to things which are groovier. The bridge is simple.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: From Death to Deathlessness
Chapter title: Blessed are those who doubt
29 August 1985 am in Rajneeshmandir
Osho has spoken on ‘witnessing, watching, silence, awareness, Watcher on the Hill’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1, 3, 6
- Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment
- From Misery to Enlightenment
- From Unconciousness to Consciousness
- From the False to the Truth
- The Hidden Harmony
- Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing
- The Invitation
- Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
- The Rebel
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2
- Be Still and Know