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Chapter 5: Witnessing: The New Art of Seeing

Allow the rose and its fragrance and its beauty and its dance in the wind and the sun to penetrate you. Don’t bring your mind in. There is no need to say that this is beautiful. If it is, there is no need to say it; if it is not, then it is false to say it. Either it is or it is not. Creating a thought about it in any way is creating ripples in your consciousness. It is like throwing a pebble into a silent lake. Just a moment ago it was reflecting the moon so beautifully, and the stars, and your pebble has created ripples, and the moon and the stars have all become distorted.

That’s what happens whenever a thought arises in you: your consciousness is disturbed, starts wavering. Waves start arising in you. Now you are not capable of reflecting that which is.

You will have to learn this new art of seeing things without judging, of seeing things without verbalizing, of seeing things without evaluating. See the rose, see the bird on the wing, see the night full of stars, see the river passing by, see the traffic. Listen to the songs of the birds or a train passing by. Start learning a new art of just being reflective, not bringing any thought in, not saying anything at all.

It will take a little time - old habits die hard - but one day it happens. If you persist, if you are patient enough, if you go on and on working at cleaning your inner world, one day it happens. And the benediction of that day is immense. In fact, that day you are born anew. You start seeing the same world with new eyes because your eyes are so clear, your mirror reflects so deeply, so totally, without distortion, that trees - the same trees that you have seen before thousands of times - are far more green than they have ever been. And their greenness is no ordinary greenness. It is luminous, it is radiating light.

It is the same world, the same people. A Buddha walks, a Jesus walks in the same world - the same trees, the same rocks, the same people, the same sky - but they live in paradise and you live in hell. The difference is created by the mind.

It will take a little while to drop this mind. It has dominated you for so long that it is difficult in the beginning to suddenly disassociate yourself from it. It clings. It can’t leave its power over you so easily. Hence it goes on coming in from the back door.

You are sitting silently and a beautiful stillness arises, and the mind comes in from the back door and says, “Look, how beautiful this moment is!” And it has taken you away! And it came so silently, without making any noise, and you were caught by it in such a subtle way that you could not have been aware of it. You rejoiced, you thanked the mind, but it has destroyed your stillness.

When stillness is really true there is no mind to say anything about it. When witnessing is true you are simply a witness. You don’t think, “I am witnessing.” There is no “I,” there is no thinking, there is only the witness, because all thinking, and the “I” - they have all become contents, objects of your witnessing. And witnessing itself cannot be its own object. No mirror can reflect itself. Your eyes cannot see themselves. Your witness cannot witness itself, that’s impossible.

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