QUESTION: WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEDITATION AND WITNESSING?
ANSWER: Human life can be divided into four circles. The first circle is of action, the world of doing. It is the outermost. Moving within a little we come to the world of thought. Move a little further in we come to the world of feeling, devotion, love. Moving still further within we reach the center – the world of the witness.
The witness is our nature, because there is no way to go beyond it. No one ever has, and no one ever can. To become the witness of the witness is impossible. The witness is simply the witness. You cannot go deeper than it. It is our foundation. Our house is built on the foundation of witnessing – built of feeling, of thought, of action.
This is why there are three Yogas: Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga, Bhakti Yoga – the Yogas of action, knowledge and devotion. These are the three methods of meditation. Through these three one can make efforts to reach the witness.
The Yoga of action means action plus meditation. Karma Yoga is the effort to go directly from doing to witnessing.
Meditation is the process and witnessing is the goal.
You have asked, ”What is the relationship between meditation and witnessing?” Meditation is the path, witnessing is the destination.
Witnessing is the culmination of meditation. And meditation is the beginning of witnessing.
A Karma Yogi is one who adds meditation to doing, who links meditation to the world of action – action plus meditation
Then Gyan Yogi is one who adds meditation to thought. He links meditation to the world of thought. He begins to think meditatively. A new practice is added: whatever one does is done with awareness. When the state of thought plus meditation is established the journey towards witnessing begins.
Meditation is a change of direction.
Whatever meditation is joined to becomes a vehicle for moving towards witnessing.
And the third path is Bhakti Yoga – adding meditation to emotion, a deep joining of meditation and emotion, the whirlpool of meditation and feeling! While feeling become meditative.
Through these three paths one can approach the witness. But the method that brings you is meditation, the fundamental thing is meditation. It is just like a doctor giving you medicine, saying to take it with honey, and you say you don’t eat honey, you are a Jaina. Then he says to take it with milk, and you say you cannot drink milk because milk is a form of blood, you are a strict Quaker – you don’t drink milk, it is like eating meat. So the doctor says take it with water. But the medicine is the same – honey, milk or water, it doesn’t make any difference. They are only to help swallow the medicine, to get it down the throat. Medicine won’t go down by itself.
Meditation is medicine.
There are three types of people in the world. Some people cannot live without doing. Their whole life flow is in working. If they try to sit quietly, they cannot; they have to do something or other. There is energy, flowing energy. There is no harm in this. But ? The master says try swallowing the medicine of meditation with activity. You can’t stop doing but you can add meditation to doing. You say, ”I can’t sit a single moment without doing something. I just can’t. Sitting is not within my power, it’s not my nature.”
Psychologists call them extroverts: they are always occupied, they need to do something or other. Until they fall down exhausted and sleep it is not natural for them to stop working. Activity is their nature.
The master says, ”Good. Do it riding on action. Make this your horse. Mix your medicine with this and swallow it. The real question is the medicine. Start working meditatively. Whatever you do, don’t do it unconsciously, do it with awareness. Stay awake while doing.”
Then there are some who say doing has no attraction for them, but thoughts come rushing in waves. They are thinkers-they have no juice for doing. They have no interest in the outer, but great waves arise within, a great tempest. And they cannot be inside for a single moment without thoughts. They say, ”If we sit silently more thoughts come. When we sit silently more thoughts than usual come. Just mention worship, prayer, meditation, and a great deluge of thoughts – -armies – come in wave after wave and drown us. What should we do?”
The master says, ”Drink meditation mixed in with your thoughts. Don’t stop your thoughts, but when thoughts come observe them. Don’t get lost in them, stand a little apart, at a distance. Calmly watching your thoughts, you will gradually attain witnessing. Add meditation to your thoughts.”
Then there are some who say, ”We have no trouble with thoughts, no trouble with doing. We have an excess of feeling. Tears flow, the heart is overwhelmed, drowning – in love, in affection, in trust, in devotion.”
The master says, ”Make this your medicine, add meditation to this. Let tears flow – flow filled with meditation. Let the thrill be there, but filled with meditation. The essence is meditation.”
These differences between bhakti, karma and gyan are not differences in medicine. The medicine is one
Ashtavakra’s sutra is extremely revolutionary.
Neither gyan, nor bhakti, nor karma – none of these have reached to his height. It is pure witnessing.
Ashtavakra says that you are what you are seeking. And you are it right here, right now.
[Osho - 'The Mahageeta' ]