Chapter 15: Witnessing: The Base of All Techniques
One can talk about witnessing as a pure technique also. For example, J. Krishnamurti: he is talking about witnessing as a pure technique. But that talk is just like talking about the spirit without the body. You cannot feel it, you cannot see it. Everywhere the spirit is embodied; you can feel the spirit through the body. Of course, the spirit is not the body, but you can feel it through the body.
Every technique is just a body, and witnessing is the soul. You can talk about witnessing independent of any body, any matter; then it becomes abstract, totally abstract. So Krishnamurti has been talking continually for half a century, but whatsoever he is saying is so pure, unembodied, that one thinks that one is understanding, but that understanding remains just a concept.
In this world nothing exists as pure spirit. Everything exists embodied. So witnessing is the spirit of all spiritual techniques, and all the techniques are bodies, different bodies. So first we must understand what witnessing is, and then we can understand witnessing through some bodies, some techniques.
We know thinking, and one has to start from thinking to know what witnessing means because one has to start from what one knows. We know thinking, thinking means judgment. You see something and you judge. You see a flower and you say it is beautiful or not beautiful. You hear a song and you appreciate it or you don’t appreciate it. You appreciate something or you condemn something.
Thinking is judgment. The moment you think, you have begun to judge. Thinking is evaluation. You cannot think without evaluation. How can you think about a flower without evaluating it? The moment you start thinking you will say it is beautiful, not beautiful. You will have to use some category because thinking is categorizing. The moment you have categorized a thing - labeled it, named it - you have thought about it. Thinking is impossible if you are not going to judge. If you are not going to judge, then you can just remain aware - but you cannot think.
A flower is here, and I say to you, “See it, but don’t think. Look at the flower, but don’t think.” So what can you do? If thinking is not allowed, what can you do? You can only witness, you can only be aware. You can only be conscious of the flower. You can face the fact. The flower is here - now you can encounter it. If thinking is not allowed you cannot say, “It is beautiful. It is not beautiful. I know about it,” or, “It is strange - I have never seen it.” You cannot say anything. Words cannot be used because every word has a value in it. Every word is a judgment.
Language is burdened with judgment; language can never be impartial. The moment you use a word you have judged. So you cannot use language, you cannot verbalize. If I say, “This is a flower - look at it, but don’t think,” then verbalization is not allowed. So what can you do? You can only be a witness. If you are there without thinking, just facing something, it is witnessing. Then witnessing means a passive awareness. Remember - passive. Thinking is active; you are doing something. Whatsoever you are seeing, you are doing something with it. You are not just passive, you are not like a mirror, you are doing something, and the moment you do something you have changed the thing.