This occurs every day. When people come here to meditate, in the beginning they are fresh and new. They have no experience, so it happens. This is very surprising. You must comprehend this – it will help you understand Ashtavakra better. This is my daily experience. When people come new and fresh and they have no experience of meditation, it happens. It happens and they are filled with joy – but the very experience creates difficulty. Then expectations begin: what happened today should happen tomorrow; not just happen, but happen stronger. But it doesn’t happen again and they approach me, crying. They say, “What happened? Have we made some mistake? It happened once, but now it’s not.”
“This is your mistake,” I tell them. “When it first happened you were not expecting anything; now you are. Now the mind is no longer innocent. Your expectation has contaminated it. Now you are not genuine, you are not open – asking has closed the doors. Expectation has arisen, and this expectation spoils everything. Now desire is aroused, greed enters.”
This happens every day. People who have meditated a long time go on trying many methods but drop into meditation only with great difficulty. Their experience becomes a barrier. Sometimes someone just comes, flowing with the vibe…he had never even thought about meditation. A friend was coming, so he thought, “Let’s go see what it is.” He came out of curiosity – no desire, no spiritual searching, no efforts toward meditation – he just came. Something was triggered inside when he saw others meditating and he joined them. Then it happened! He was surprised: “I didn’t come for meditation, but meditation happened.” Now the problems start. Now, when he comes again there is expectation. The mind is interested; it must happen again. There is greed, a desire for repetition. The mind has come in and the whole process is disturbed.
It happens only when there is no mind.
Remember, mind is the desire for repetition.
Let the pleasant happen again, let the unpleasant never repeat – this is the mind. The mind chooses: let this happen and that not happen. Let it happen again and again like this, but never like that – this is the mind.
When you begin to flow with life: whatever happens, okay; what doesn’t, okay…. Suffering comes, it is accepted. Suffering comes, there is no resistance. Happiness comes, it is accepted. Happiness comes, there is no excitement. When there is calmness, in both happiness and suffering, an equanimity starts arising. Then happiness and suffering begin to appear very similar – because no choice is left. Now it is out of our hands. What happens, happens.
We go on watching – this is what Ashtavakra calls sakshi-bhav, witnessing. And he says if witnessing is attained, everything is attained. Inside, sakshi-bhav awakens the witness, outside it brings equanimity.
Equanimity is the shadow of witnessing.
Or, if you achieve equanimity, witnessing comes. These two go together. They are the two feet or the two wings of the same phenomenon.