Chapter 4: No Bargain with Reality
The first question:
What is not illusion?
All is illusion except the witness. All is dream except the witness. Only the knower is true, is real. Whatsoever you see is illusory; the seer is not illusory. In the night you see one type of dream, in the day you see another type of dream. In the night the dreams of the day are forgotten, in the day the dreams of the night are forgotten. Sometimes you dream with open eyes and sometimes you dream with closed eyes, but one thing remains eternally there, never changing, and that is your consciousness. In the night you see dreams; in the day you see things, the world. Everything changes: night into day, day into night, dreams into thoughts, thoughts into dreams; only one thing remains eternally there - your witnessing.
That which is eternal is true. That which is changing is illusory.
Remember, by “illusion” I don’t mean that it is not, by “illusion” I only mean that it is not eternally true. And what is the meaning of something being temporarily true, only for the moment? Before the moment it was untrue, after the moment it again becomes untrue. That’s why in the East we have not been chasing life. Before birth it was not there, after death it will not be there again, so this momentary phenomenon is not of much value. There is no need to get obsessed by it; one can pass through it unconcerned, untouched by it.
The emphasis of the West is on that which is seen, and the emphasis of the East is on that which is the seer. Either you focus on the object or you focus on yourself. When you focus on the object your approach is scientific, objective. When you focus on the subject your approach is religious. This subject is eternally true.
The Bible says: “In the beginning there was the Word.” The East cannot say that. The East says: In the beginning there was the witness, in the middle there is the witness, in the end there will be the witness; one thing remains eternally the substratum of all. Even if the word had been there in the beginning, somebody must have heard it - the seer, the witness otherwise it could not have been. So the one who heard it precedes the word; the word cannot be in the beginning. Just go on looking more and more for the witness and go on getting more and more involved into the witness and one day the gestalt changes. Your focus goes through a transformation.