November 13, 2015 7:52 AM
Continuing the levels of the Map that changed my life: The Witness.
From the book-in-progress…
Life Changing Level 3: The Witness
This is the tough one. Hands down, the Witness is the hardest level to access, but once you do—once you see through the illusion of the egoic self—you stop taking life so personally.
The Witness level is what many people—myself included—call enlightenment.
With the Witness level, you come to see your thoughts. You no longer are your thoughts, you are the witness to your thoughts. You start to witness your emotions. You start to witness your actions.
With the awakening of You-as-the-Witness, you come to realize that all the roles you play in life, all your memories, even the very concept of you as a unique entity, are just mind-based ideas—ideas that you are the witness of. Everything you “knew” about yourself suddenly becomes “other” and because of this distancing from your old, thought-based self, you become free of it.
What is probably the most startling experience of the Witness level, is that the instant you see through the illusion of “you,” all boundaries collapse into Nothingness. All boundaries between Self and Other disappear. All boundaries between trees and rocks disappear. All boundaries between interior and exterior disappear. Not in a visual sense—you still see trees for trees and rocks for rocks—but in a deep recognition that all boundaries are just concepts of the mind, nothing real. Suddenly you become at once both nothing and Everything. Everything that you see or experience appears to exist both outside of you and inside of you at the same time. You become one with all you perceive.
With the stabilization of the Witness level, suffering diminished radically simply because pain—both physical and emotional pain—is no longer taken personally. Pain is something you witness. Pain is not your pain, it is just an experience that arises in your awareness. Pain still hurts, it is just no longer identified with, no longer made into more than the experience itself.
Obviously the Witness level requires enlightenment because becoming/realizing the Witness is enlightenment.
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