Where is the witness when the observer and the observed become one?
Anand Pravesh, the observer and the observed are two aspects of the witness. When they disappear into each other, when they melt into each other, when they are one, the witness for the first time arises in its totality.
But this question arises in many people; the reason is that they think the witness is the observer. In their minds, the observer and the witness are synonymous. It is fallacious; the observer is not the witness, but only a part of it. And whenever the part thinks of itself as the whole, error arises.
The observer means the subjective and the observed means the objective. The observer means that which is outside the observed, and the observer also means that which is inside.
The inside and the outside can’t be separate; they are together, they can only be together.
When this togetherness, or rather oneness, is experienced, the witness arises. You cannot practice the witness. If you practice the witness you will be practicing only the observer, and the observer is not the witness.
Then what has to be done? Melting has to be done, merging has to be done. Seeing a rose flower, forget completely that there is an object seen and a subject as a seer. Let the beauty of the moment, the benediction of the moment, overwhelm you both, so the rose and you are no more separate, but you become one rhythm, one song, one ecstasy.
Loving, experiencing music, looking at the sunset, let it happen again and again. The more it happens the better, because it is not an art but a knack. You have to get the knack of it; once you have got it, you can trigger it anywhere, any moment.
When the witness arises, there is nobody who is witnessing and there is nothing to be witnessed. It is a pure mirror, mirroring nothing. Even to say it is a mirror is not right; it will be better to say it is a mirroring. It is more a dynamic process of melting and merging; it is not a static phenomenon, it is a flow. The rose reaching you, you reaching into the rose: it is a sharing of being.
Forget that idea that the witness is the observer; it is not. The observer can be practiced, the witness happens. The observer is a kind of concentration, and the observer keeps you separate. The observer will enhance, strengthen your ego. The more you become an observer, the more you will feel like an island, separate, aloof, distant.
Down the ages, the monks all over the world have been practicing the observer. They may have called it the witness, but it is not the witness. The witness is something totally different, qualitatively different. The observer can be practiced, cultivated; you can become a better observer through practicing it.
The scientist observes, the mystic witnesses. The whole process of science is that of observation; very keen, acute, sharp observation, so nothing is missed. But the scientist does not come to know God. Although his observation is very, very expert, yet he remains unaware of God. He never comes across God; on the contrary, he denies that God is, because the more he observes — and his whole process is that of observation — the more he becomes separate from existence. The bridges are broken and walls arise; he becomes imprisoned in his own ego.
The mystic witnesses. But remember, witnessing is a happening, a by-product—a byproduct of being total in any moment, in any situation, in any experience. Totality is the key: out of totality arises the benediction of witnessing. Forget all about observing. It will give you more accurate information about the observed object, but you will remain absolutely oblivious of your own consciousness.
Science is objective, art is subjective, religion is neither—neti neti, neither this nor that.
Then what is religion? Religion is the meeting of the object and the subject, religion is the meeting of the lover and the beloved. Religion is the disappearance of the separation, of the duality. And in that separation energy is released; energy that was confined by the dual, that was kept separate, simply dances in utter unity.
That unity is witnessing. It happens only once in a while to you, and even then you don’t take much note of it, because it comes like a flash and it is gone. And because you don’t understand it, you don’t preserve the experience. In fact you neglect it, you ignore it; it seems to be dangerous.
It happens when you are in a deep orgasmic state, when the woman and man meet and merge and disappear into each other. It happens only for a single moment at the highest peak. When their energies are no more two, when the energies have penetrated into each other so deeply that you cannot call them two at all… that orgasmic peak is the moment where witnessing arises. This is the whole secret of Tantra. Tantra discovered that in orgasmic ecstasy witnessing arises on its own accord. It is a gift from God, a natural gift to enter into samadhi.
But it happens in all creative experiences, because all creative experiences are orgasmic; in a subtle sense, there is something of the sexual and the sensuous in them. When a painter looks at the trees, then the green and the red and the gold of the trees is not the same as when you look at the trees. His experience is orgasmic; he is utterly lost in it. He is not there as an observer, he falls in deep rapport. He becomes one with the green and the red and the gold of the trees.
The painter knows that looking at the beautiful existence is an orgasmic experience.
Hence, while the painter is painting, he becomes absolutely nonsexual; he becomes celibate. He is already experiencing orgasmic joy, he need not go into sex at all. Celibacy comes naturally to him.
Thousands of poets and painters and musicians have remained celibate, and with no effort. Monks remain celibate with great effort. Why? The monk is uncreative; in his life there is no orgasmic experience, his mind hankers for the sexual experience. The poet, the musician, the artist, the dancer who is capable of being lost into whatsoever he is doing, is having orgasmic experiences on a higher plane; sex is not a necessity. If once in a while such a person moves into sex, it is not out of need, it is just playfulness, it is simple playfulness. And when sex has the quality of playfulness it is sacred. When it is out of need it is a little bit ugly, because out of need you exploit the other, and out of need it can never take you to the highest orgasmic peak. You remain always discontented somewhere or other, because out of need means there is a motive, there is goal orientation. There is manipulation, exploitation, an effort to use the other as a means. When you are simply playful, it is totally different.
D.H. Lawrence is right when he says that he experienced God in sexual orgasm. But his sexuality is totally different from the sexuality of the monks. They will not be able to understand Lawrence.
Lawrence was one of the most misunderstood men of this century, one of the most beautiful, one of the most creative, one of the most precious, but the most misunderstood.
And the reason is that his experience has a totally different quality. When he is talking about sexual orgasm, he is not talking about your sexual orgasm, he is talking about his sexual orgasm. Only very rare people will be able to understand him. He is a natural Tantrika—unaware of the science of Tantra, but he stumbled upon it. Somehow a window has opened in his life; his sensuality is spiritual.
It is not a question of what you do; it is a question of how you do it. And ultimately it is a question whether you do it or you allow it to happen. If you allow it to happen, then whenever there is a creative meeting you will suddenly become a witness. The observer and the observed become one in it—in fact it happens only when they become one.
From The Book of Wisdom, Discourse #23
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2 thoughts on “That Unity is Witnessing – Osho”
Witnessing is living in the non-dual, though basically what Osho is saying, it feels like a deepening of some understanding that is delicate.
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Thank you for this post, so interesting, wonderful !
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