I have always heard you say, “Stop doing; watch.” Several times lately I’ve heard you say that the mind should be the servant instead of our master. It feels that there is nothing to do except watch. But the question still arises: Is there anything to do with this unruly servant but to watch?
Prem Niren, there is nothing else to do with this unruly servant but just to watch. Apparently it appears too simple a solution for too complex a problem, but these are part of the mysteries of existence. The problem may be too complex; the solution can be very simple.
Watching, witnessing, being aware seem to be small words to solve the whole complexity of mind. Millions of years of heritage, tradition, conditioning, prejudice – how will they disappear just by watching?
But they do disappear, because as Gautam Buddha used to say, “If the lights of the house are on, thieves don’t come close to that house, knowing that the master is awake.” Because the light is showing from the windows, from the doors, you can see that the light is on and it is not the time to enter into the house. When the lights are off, thieves are attracted to the house. Darkness becomes an invitation. As Gautam Buddha used to say, the same is the situation about your thoughts, imaginations, dreams, anxieties, your whole mind.
If the witness is there, the witness is almost like the light; these thieves start dispersing. And if these thieves find there is no witness, they start calling their brothers and cousins and everybody, “Come on.”
It is as simple a phenomenon as the light. The moment you bring the light in, the darkness disappears. You don’t ask, “Is just light enough for darkness to disappear?” or, “When we have brought the light, will we have to do something more for the darkness to disappear?”
No, just the presence of the light is the absence of the darkness, and the absence of the light is the presence of darkness. The presence of the witness is the absence of the mind, and the absence of the witness is the presence of the mind.
So the moment you start watching, slowly, slowly as your watcher will become stronger your mind will become weaker. The moment it realizes that the watcher has come to maturity, the mind immediately submits as a beautiful servant. It is a mechanism. If the master has arrived, then the machine can be used. If the master is not there or is fast asleep, then the machine goes on working things, does whatsoever it can on its own. There is nobody to give orders, there is nobody to say, “No, stop. That should not to be done.”
Then the mind becomes slowly convinced that it is the master itself. And for thousands of years it has remained your master, so when you try to be a witness it fights, because it has completely forgotten that it is only a servant. You have been so long absent that it does not recognize you. Hence the struggle between the witness and the thoughts.
But final victory is going to be yours, because nature and existence both want you to be the master and the mind to be the servant. Then things are in harmony. Then the mind cannot go wrong. Then everything is existentially relaxed, silent, flowing towards its destiny.
Prem Niren, you don’t have to do anything else but to watch.
Paddy bought a parrot at an auction. He asked the auctioneer, “I have spent a great deal of money on this parrot – are you sure he can talk?”
The auctioneer replied, “Of course I am sure; he was bidding against you.”
Such is the unawareness of the mind, and such are the stupidities of the mind. I have heard that the Irish atheists, seeing that the theists have started a dial-a-prayer service, also started one – although they are atheists. But the competitive mind… They have also started a dial-a-prayer service; when you phone them up, nobody answers.
Two tramps were sitting by a campfire one night. One of them was very depressed. “You know Jim,” he mused, “the life of a tramp is not as great as it is made out to be: Nights on park benches, or in a cold barn; traveling on foot and always dodging the police; being kicked from one town to another; wondering where your next meal is coming from; being sneered at by your fellow man…” His voice trailed off and he sighed heavily.
“Well,” said the other tramp, “if that is how you feel about it, why don’t you go and find yourself a job?”
“What!” said the first tramp in amazement, “and admit that I’m a failure?”
Mind has become accustomed to being a master. It will take a little time to bring it to its senses. Witnessing is enough. It is a very silent process, but the consequences are tremendously great. There is no other method which can be better than witnessing as far as dispersing the darkness of the mind is concerned.
In fact there are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation; I have gone through all those methods – and not intellectually. It took me years to go through each method and to find out its very essence, and after going through one hundred and twelve methods I was amazed that the essence is witnessing. The methods’ non-essentials are different, but the center of each method is witnessing.
Hence I can say to you, Niren, there is only one meditation in the whole world and that is the art of witnessing. It will do everything – the whole transformation of your being. It will open the doors of satyam, shivam, sundram: the truth, the godliness and the beauty of it all.
From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Discourse #22
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Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Witnessing Is Enough.