I see a flower and I say, “It is beautiful!” I have changed it. Now I have imposed something on the flower. Now, whatsoever the flower is, to me it is a flower plus my feeling of its being beautiful. Now the flower is far away; in between the flower and me is my sense of judgment, my evaluation of its being beautiful. Now the flower is not the same to me, the quality has changed. I have come into it. Now my judgment has penetrated into the fact. Now it is more like a fiction and less like a fact.
This feeling that the flower is beautiful doesn’t belong to the flower, it belongs to me. I have entered the fact. Now the fact is not virgin, I have corrupted it. Now my mind has become part of it. Really, to say that my mind has become part of it means my past has become part, because when I say, “This flower is beautiful,” it means I have judged it through my past knowledge. How can you say that this flower is beautiful? Your experiences of the past, your conceptions of the past – that something like this is beautiful – you have judged it according to your past.
Mind means your past, your memories. The past has come upon the present. You have destroyed a virgin fact; now it is distorted. Now there is no flower, the flower as a reality in itself is no longer there. It is corrupted by you, destroyed by you, your past has come in between, you have interpreted. This is thinking. Thinking means bringing the past to a present fact. That’s why thinking can never lead you to the truth – because truth is virgin and has to be faced in its total virginity. The moment you bring your past in you are destroying it. Then it is an interpretation, not a realization of the fact. You have disrupted it. The purity is lost.
Thinking means bringing your past to the present. Witnessing means no past, just the present; no bringing in of the past. Witnessing is passive. You are not doing anything – you are! You are simply there. You are only present. The flower is present, you are present – then there is a relationship of witnessing. When the flower is present and your whole past is present, not you, then it is a relationship of thinking.
So start from thinking. What is thinking? It is the bringing of the mind into the present. You have missed the present, then you have missed it totally. The moment past penetrates into the present you have missed it. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” really, it has become the past. When you say, “This flower is beautiful,” it is a past experience. You have known, you have judged. When the flower is there and you are there, even to say that this flower is beautiful is not possible. You cannot assert any judgment in the present. Any judgment, any assertion, belongs to the past. If I say, “I love you,” it has become a thing that is past. If I say, “This flower is beautiful,” I have felt, I have judged – it has become past.
Witnessing is always present, never the past. Thinking is always the past. Thinking is dead; witnessing is alive. So the next distinction: first, thinking is active – doing something; witnessing is passive – nondoing, just being. Thinking is always the past, the dead which has gone away, which is no more; witnessing is always the present – that which is. So if you go on thinking you can never know what witnessing is.