Back in 2011, the essay Awakening Before Enlightenment came gushing out onto the computer screen. I was very reluctant to edit it much at all because it didn’t feel like my writing. It just poured out.
Now almost seven years later, it seems like perhaps it is time for a checkup.
In the last paragraph it was written:
So here we come to the point that has been the fuel for this inquiry all these years. Without exposure to the presence of an Enlightened Master, and unfortunately for some even with, it is very easy to believe that the “awakening of the witness” is the end of the journey, is itself enlightenment. Some fellow travelers might very well believe that there is no ending of the mind because that is the limitation of their own experience.
What is the landscape now at this time? What has changed?
Through these last years, I have spent even more time exploring coming out of mind. I have experimented with many of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques explained by Osho in The Book of Secrets. And with each I have discovered that same core that Osho points us to again and again, witnessing.
And it is from here that the mind is witnessed, that one sees all the ways to get entangled, and these are not just seen once or twice but again and again. But each time that seeing happens, the strength of the proclivity lessens. It becomes easier to come out, easier to let go of grasping, easier to remain with that which may be uncomfortable.
And yes, more moments do come, and longer in duration, where one is without thought.
When thought subsides, one is capable of exploring the region of feeling. Not feeling with a tour guide who is naming all the sights but feeling, just feeling. Feeling the very sensation of moods, and sometimes the feeling of burbling, gushing, raw emotion of some long forgotten happening.
And yes, moments also come when all thoughts and feelings subside, and one is left with only a sense of being.
And this sense of being, this wavering in the belly, is witnessed, is seen, and in that very seeingness when the seeing is total, even that sense of being, that ripple comes to rest. In these moments there is “an ending of mind.”
Surely this momentary “ending of mind” is “samadhi with seed.” It is with seed because the seed remains and because the seed remains it invariably re-sprouts. Nevertheless, in this moment I am refreshed.
So now I can revisit the post and still say yes, for me, it is true that “awakening of the witness” is not “the end of the journey.” In fact, it is the real beginning. The beginning of the end of “me.” And in this witnessing, there is a “knowingness” that exists without any support. It is self-evident.
It is also important to emphasize that “the ending of me” does not come about by any doing on my part. I am not dissolving or evaporating my mind. Any such activity would only strengthen the doer, the “me.” The mind does dissolve, it does evaporate not because of any doing on my part, on the contrary it does so because in those moments I am no longer contributing to its survival. My energy is with that “knowingness.” And because I am residing at home (in those moments) there is no energy feeding the “me.” And I am perfectly happy to let all of the un-entangling, all of the exposing, all of the evaporation proceed without any interference and bask in the moments of “now-here” that appear on their own.
And still the refrain, “Charaiveti, charaiveti.”
Here you can find Awakening Before Enlightenment.
This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.