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Chapter 18: Witnessing

Ma Yoga Pratima, Rajneeshpuram, Oregon

You have often said that no improvement is needed; no goal is there to be achieved. And you have also spoken about how, in the buddhafield, a person can be helped by those who are further along the path who can help those who are a few steps behind them. Are there different stages of spiritual growth? And if so, can you talk to us about them, and how people in these different stages can be helpful to each other?

In one sense, it is an indivisible reality. Because what it is on the first step, so it is on the last step. It is pure witnessing. But on the first step, you are witnessing only the activities of the body. On the second step, you are witnessing the activities of the mind. On the third step, you are witnessing the activities of the heart. And on the fourth, you are simply witnessing your witnessing itself.

So if you look at witnessing, it is just the same reality - indivisible. But if you look at the objects of witnessing, then you can divide it into steps. The person who is witnessing only his bodily activities can be immensely helped by the person who has passed that stage and is witnessing his mind, thoughts, dreams, imaginations - all the activities that mind is capable of The person who is on the third stage can help both - the first stage person and the second stage person, because now he is witnessing very subtle moods, feelings, emotions - very fine, very subtle, very slippery. And the person who has come to the fourth and the last stage can help all the three.

The help is a kind of encouragement. First he can explain to you that whatever hindrances you are feeling are natural. He has experienced them himself, so don’t be worried. Go on working on them, however hard they look. They may be rocks, and your witnessing may be as soft as water, but in the long run, the water wins and the rock simply disappears into sand. At the first glance it seems that there is no way for the water to win. How can it win over the rock? But finally, that’s what happens. Just somebody who has seen it happen has to help you, that “Don’t be discouraged by the rock and its strength. It is nothing before the water.”

Lao Tzu used to call his way the watercourse way - a beautiful name, so soft, so liquid, no rigidity. You can put it into any form. It is always ready, gives no resistance. If you put it in a bottle, it takes the shape of the bottle. If you put it into a jar, it takes the shape of the jar, with no resistance at all. Such a non-resistant element finally destroys the rock. But somebody has to say to you, “I have faced the same situation. Don’t be discouraged. The rock will disappear, will have to disappear. That is the way of existence.”

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