Should I repeat in my mind, “I am a witness, I am a witness …”?
Witnessing is not a matter of repeating, it is a matter of being. Because I am explaining it to you, I have to say it in words: “Feel in yourself, ‘I am just a witness.’” There are two things in it … This is a very significant question. If you go on repeating in your mind “I am a witness, I am a witness,” it will work as a mantra. Then slowly, slowly, it will become something like chanting, “Rama, Rama. Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama.”
Don’t repeat in words, “I am a witness.” You have to experience, “I am a witness.” There is a difference between these two. You have to experience, “Who am I?” in relation to whatever is taking place. “What is my relationship to it?” Then you will discover the relationship of the witness. Witnessing does not mean you go on repeating the words, “I am a witness.” Otherwise it will have no more significance than a mantra. “I am a witness. My experience of this must go on deepening.”
For instance, with the sounds going on all around, what am I toward this sound? I am a witness. Even these words I am creating just in order to convey it to you. You don’t need to create any words within yourself. Just this much knowing is needed: “This is my situation.” To be a witness is “… my situation.”
When you are eating, for a moment bow down your head and look within: “What am I doing?” Then you will know: “The body is eating, I am just a witness.” This witnessing must be an experiencing. It is not a repeating of words. Repetition in words is pointless.
Because I am explaining it to you, the difficulty arises; I have to explain it through words. If I am talking to you, I have to use words. And then I am aware of the danger that somebody may sit down and start repeating every day, “I am a witness, I am a witness.” If he continues doing it, after just a couple of times it will become a dead routine. He won’t even be aware of what he is saying. He will go on repeating, “I am a witness, I am a witness.” He will look at the clock, get up after half an hour and nothing will be gained. He will remain exactly the same. On top of that, he wasted half an hour. And the stupid work he did during that half an hour – “I am a witness, I am a witness” – also disturbed his mind.
It is not a question of repeating in words – it is an experiencing. Everything which is happening around me, toward that, my attitude is of a witness.
From Falling in Love with Darkness, Discourse #9
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