Chapter 37: Techniques to Witness the Flux-like Film of Life
Now psychoanalysts say that when a child is weeping and screaming, don’t stop him, don’t try to persuade him, don’t distract him. Don’t try to focus his mind somewhere else; don’t bribe him to stop. Don’t do anything. Just remain silent near him, and allow him to weep and cry and scream so that he can move easily to happiness. Otherwise, neither will he be able to weep nor will he be able to be happy. That is how we all have become. We cannot do anything. The smile is half-hearted, the tear is also half-hearted; everything is confusion.
But this is the natural law of mind. It moves from one pole to another. This technique is to change this natural law:
Oh beloved, put attention neither on pleasure nor on pain, but between these.
Any of the polarities can be chosen, and try to be just in between. What can you do to be in between? How will you be in between? One thing: when pain is there, what can you do? When pain is there, you want to escape from it. You don’t want it; you try to go away from it. Your effort is to go to the opposite - to be happy, to be joyful.
When there is happiness, what do you do? Your effort is to cling to it so that the other pole may not enter - to cling to it! When happiness is there you cling; when pain is there you escape. This is the natural attitude. If you want to change this natural law and transcend it, when pain is there don’t try to escape. Remain with it. You will disturb the whole natural mechanism. You have a headache: remain with it. Close your eyes, meditate on the headache; remain with it. Don’t do anything. Just be a witness; don’t try to escape.
When happiness is there and you are feeling especially blissful in any particular moment, don’t cling to it. Close your eyes and remain a witness to it all. Clinging or escaping are natural for the dust-covered mind. If you remain a witness, sooner or later you will fall in between because the natural law is to move to the polarity, to the polar opposite. If you remain a witness, you are in between.
Buddha has called his whole philosophy majjhim nikai - the middle way, because of this technique. He says remain in the middle always; no matter what the polarity, remain always in the middle. By witnessing one remains in the middle. The moment you lose your witnessing you either become attached or repulsed. If you are repulsed you will go to the other extreme; if you are attached you will try to remain at this extreme, but you will never be in between. Just be a witness. Don’t be attracted, don’t be repulsed. The headache is there; accept it. It is there as a fact. As a tree is there, as the house is there, as the night is there, the headache is there. Accept it and close your eyes. Don’t try to escape from it.