Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Self-observer and the Universal Witness by Katie Davis, Author, Awake Joy

In these teachings, I differentiate between the person (body), the self-observer (eyewitness) and the true witnessing consciousness that is the reference point "I am the witness only."

The self-observer is still identified with the body. Attention has shifted from projecting outward toward the world and has turned inward. The study is one of watching thoughts, emotions, body, physical energies and mental images. While it may seem that one is "inside," being inside the body is not yet inside. I guess we could say there is an inside to the inside! :-)

You see, the appearance of the body is also another worldly object. It is still a part of the dream of form. Self-observation is essential to the awakening process, yet this watching is not the witness.

At some point, a profound and radical detachment from both body and world will occur and this opens to the true witnessing consciousness. Some mistaken this with enlightenment since pure being-consciousness-bliss is so dynamically at the forefront.

The subject witness ... the true witness ... is totally free of the person. It is formless and has no identification with person and form. Its study is formlessness. It still has its object, but the object is the "dimension" of the Heart. While it is perfect for crossing over from the world of form into formlessness, it prevents Self-realization.

Once again, the profound surrender will happen by itself when the persistent duality is noticed. In the disappearance of the subject-witness, we have Self-realization.

Continued Self-inquiry will assist ... even when one is totally free of the ego and the body.

While the universal subject-witness is free of form, it is not yet free of the universal mind. In fact, it IS the universal mind. Nisargadatta calls the universal witness "God." In these teachings, I save that label for only the Supreme Absolute.

Since this is a "seasoned" group, I must quickly add of course that the Absolute (Self) is all there is ... everything "else" is only Self ... appearing as.

So why differentiate? Advaita is more than a philosophy, it is in fact a perfect road map. If there is not clarity at point A, point B will remain a mystery, etc. The outer layer of the onion is peeled to reveal the next layer. There cannot be clarity of what an onion truly is ... other than conceptually with mind ... unless each layer is realized.

Likewise, we shift from reference point to reference point until none remain.

Katie Davis Website:

For Katie's book, "Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment," click:


At Katie Davis Website at Awake Books


Travis said...

Beautiful post. My only stumbling block is, "Self-observation is essential to the awakening process, yet this watching is not the witness."

I can see that such looking is an initial stage on the path outlined (I have issue with paths in general, but that's a separate point), but is not any activity where awareness is occurring not proof and presence of the absolute witness? How can anything be observed, at all, without the witness being inherently already present?

Katie Davis, Author, Awake Joy said...

Hello Travis ~

Thank you for your comment here as well! As we have previously discussed, you are exactly right in that the Pure Awareness that you are is All whether one is observing as the self-observer or witnessing as the "I am the witness only."

As you say, initially one begins observation as the body idea; watching thoughts, emotions and form. This is the self-observer or what I call the "Eyewitness."

This post was meant to point beyond the self-observer and to suggest a deeper inquiry that after complete detachment from form, will open to "I am the witness only" or the true witnessing consciousness.

Just a note, there is no absolute witness. The pure witness will be eliminated as well. The witness is still a reference point that will be eliminated.

The pure witness is so beautiful because being-consciousness-bliss is at the forefront. For this reason, many mistaken it for the ultimate and it is not.

The witness continues to have an object. The Absolute Pure Awareness is free of all reference point and therefore free of all objects.

It is purely Itself which is nothing and everything. :-)

As far as a "path," just as you say, there can be np pathway to what you already are. How then to make this conscious?

Self-inquiry is the way and I have found it consistently to be completely direct and successful. With persistence, the altered state of consciousness that is the false "I" and its subject witness with totally dissolve as the pure Heart that it genuinely is.

It is not a practice. It removes the idea of the practitioner that thinks it needs more time and experience to realize that which is beyond all experience! :-)

Self-inquiry is passive (be still) and yet profoundly alert. Asking the question, who am I? with a genuine willingness to not know and discover where this mere thought is arising from.

The question itself removes the knot between body consciousness and the Pure Consciousness that you already are. With persistence, the mirror of the mind will remain "inward" and eventually disappear at the Heart of all being.

All Love ~ Katie