Chapter 16: Beyond All - the Witness
I am neither the doer nor the experiencer.
I am but a witness to all manifestation.
It is because of my closeness to them that the body, etcetera, appears to be conscious, and begins to function accordingly.
I am the unchanging, the eternal.
I am ever the home of bliss, of purity and knowing.
I am almighty.
I am the clear soul
which is present in all sentient beings as a witness.
About this there is no doubt.
In order to enter into the depth and profundity of existence, it is essential to understand a few more negations. Yesterday we discussed that you are neither the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, nor the intellect; you are consciousness. But still more subtle layers exist, and those subtle layers are created only because of their proximity to consciousness.
Consciousness illuminates whatsoever is in its proximity. It is like a light which shines on everything that is nearby. We light a lamp, and instantly everything within its field is illuminated. Similarly, everything within us near to consciousness is illuminated. And it is with this illumination that the troubles begin.
Try to understand it like this: when there is no light, it is dark and nothing is visible. Then a lamp is lit. If the light of the lamp had any consciousness it would be under the illusion that all that became illuminated, visible, is part of the lamp itself. The light would be under the illusion that all that became illuminated is not separate from it, because “When I am not, it is not there; neither the walls nor the furniture of the room are visible. When I am not there, there is nothing. Things only exist when I am there. Naturally, it is simply logical that the existence of everything is contained within my existence.”
It is the same with consciousness. If there were no consciousness there would be neither the five bodies, nor the mind, nor the intellect, nor the senses - nothing! Everything comes into existence with the emergence of consciousness. If consciousness becomes unconscious, if it disappears in a deep sleep, then even the body is not felt, the mind is not perceived. That is why when you have to have an operation a layer of deep unconsciousness is created around your consciousness so that you will not feel pain even if your hand is amputated. You would not even know if your whole body was cut into pieces, because the light of the lamp which illuminated all this is covered with unconsciousness.
So consciousness, illuminating anything that is close to it, becomes identified with it. Because of the proximity it feels that “I myself am this.” This is the whole mistake of identification. And then we start behaving according to whatsoever it is that we have identified ourselves with.
For example, we breathe; if our consciousness leaves the body the breathing will leave too. The process of breathing runs only when the light of consciousness falls on it. Naturally, consciousness identifies: “When I am, breathing is, and when I am not, breathing is not. So I must be the breathing itself, I myself am the breathing.”