10 September 2013

More on the Witness by M.


Just finished sitting (practicing with the I AM).  My question, though, is about working with the subject. I took the point you made a few emails ago. That I'm at a point where I will have to explore matters for myself. So I don't know how much help I can expect from you. Still, writing helps me get clearer about my practice and gives you some indication of where I am at. 

I asked before about the possibility of being aware of the subject as subject. Here's how it seems to me. It seems to me that in meditation I can become aware of myself as a subject—or in any case aware of a subject I identify with.  This is not awareness of self as object.  It is a distinct subjective awareness of the subject. I think this falls under what Kant calls 'apperception'.  Apperceptive awareness of the self is pretty bare. It's just the awareness of a subject as a subject

Okay, now, here's where the question comes in. You asked if what I was calling "the subject" was "the witness." I hesitated. The reason I hesitated is that I thought that there was supposed to be no awareness of the witness, subjective or objective, except perhaps for what you call "seeing the footprints of the witness" and "feeling the presence of the witness on the other side of phenomenality. So I guess I'm wondering if there's a subject distinct or distinguishable from the witness. One thing that would distinguish this subject-that-is-not-the-witness from the witness proper is the subject-that-is-not-the-witness proper is not noumenal (there's apperceptive access to it, which is to say, a kind of conscious access, a kind of awareness of it.) Look, I'm not freaking out about this. I don't feel I have to have an answer to practice. But this is a question I have.



Yes, precisely the wording I use: "Apperceive."

The witness, the subject, is not an object nor does it have the feel of an intuition. 
It certainly is not just an intellectual, logical or inferential knowing. Intellectual knowing is of an entirely different category.  Intellectual knowing has a quality of "clarity" because it is created by the rules of knowing of the mind. Apperception is far from clear.

Yet is is a knowing of sorts, just one never recognized before as a separate category. A different sort of knowing. 

Try this on to ponder: Perhaps apperception is the Witness itself knowing it exists because the mind--an aspect of consciousness--it being witnessed by the Witness, the subject, therefore it feels it must exist as part of the relationship of knowing and the knower.  In other words, apperception of the subject is a feeling of a knowing by the subject itself, and is not of the seeking mind.

Chew on that for a bit.

However, there is one more step and it is a big one and that is to become the witness, with the big AHAH! that follows.  I'll leave that to you.

Who are you then?



  1. Edji, does "who" without a mind make sense ?


  2. Yes, of course it does. For do you not exist in the morning when you first wake up and theret there is awareness.

    You are not you mind. You have one, but it is only the smallest part of you.

  3. Difficult to express. The mind is "there and doing something" and not connected to the center of awareness that I sense. This center is nowhere, I can't enter it. The mind is "outside" like the arms and legs.

    Does it make sense ?