Desire is not the problem. Attraction is not the problem. Aversion is not the problem. The problem is learning to live with the bare reality of the phenomenal world. The skillful means used in the yogic practice to explore this bare reality is called afflictions in the yogic view, witness consciousness is the primary skillful means for freeing us from our bondage to them. These are the six primary characteristics of the witness.
- The witness does not choose for or against any aspect of reality. The witness does not split life into good or bad, right or wrong, high and low, or spiritual and not spiritual. The witness does not take the sides but experiences a kind of choiceless awareness.
- The witness does not censor life. The witness allows all thoughts, feelings, and sensations to receive the light of awareness, without discriminating. There is absolutely nothing that the witness cannot see, feel, and experience. There is no shadow, no shame, no repression that is not capable of being penetrated by witnessing. The witness is not judgemental in any way, but practical self-observation without judgment.
- Witnessing is a whole-body experience. Witnessing is not an intellectual exercise. Quite to the contrary. We actually witness our experience with the whole body, allowing ourselves to feel the reverberations of the sensations throughout the whole physical emotional organism. Indeed, when the witness is finely honed, we can sometimes feel the reverberation of experience throughout all of the five sheaths.
- Witness consciousness is always present at least in its potential form in every human being at every moment. The witness is the essence of the divine, awake, already enlightened nature. We don’t have to create the witness. This quality of consciousness needs only to be recognized, evoked, claimes, and cultivated.
- The witness is the part of the already awake mind that is capable of standing completely still, even in the center of the whirlwind of sensations, thoughts, feelings, fantasies- even in serious mental and physical illness. From the witness, we can stand back and objectively observe our experience even as we’re having that experience. Even as the witness stands as the still point at the center of the storm, though, this part of our consciousness can fully dance with life, directly experiencing all sensation, even as it remains completely still, anchored and grounded.
- The witness goes everywhere. The witness is connected to the whole quantum field of mind and matter. Witness consciousness stands outside time and space, living in the eternal now of the unmanifest realms, while also penetrating time and space. Witness consciousness is the quality of the self-aware universe. It is the intelligence, the “sight without a seer”, that saturates the whole quantum field of mind and matter.