the spectator



      When we try to observe our thoughts, our thinking mind, and if we are very patient and vigilant while we watch for thoughts to arise, something quite peculiar happens. Thoughts will stop. While looking for a thought to arise, if we are attentive enough and don’t lose focus, the mind stops its functioning. Thoughts won’t be observed; they stop. Once our attention is not so actively focused and we fall again into distraction, then thoughts will start coming through again. We cannot observe any thought in its process of arising or development; when attention is directed to trying to do this, all that happens is that thoughts stop coming around.  So it becomes obvious: what we think of as mind, or the continuous stream of thoughts arising, has as its supporting factor, as its requisite condition, a state of passive attention where intense focus is not present. Whenever attention is not actively directed towards its object, then thoughts will arise on their own. There is no one inside the mind projecting the stream of thoughts when attention is in a passive state.

     Willful and deliberate thinking is another matter.   A stream of directed thinking, using images and thoughts, can be created, following out a progressive train of thought and reaching a definite conclusion. This is also done with the requisite condition of active attentive focus. When distraction occurs, the train of thought is interrupted. This happens because attentiveness has again become lax or passive.   Anyone can try this and get the proof; it is not a theory or matter of conjecture.

     While attentively trying to observe a thought while it is occurring it becomes obvious that this level of attentiveness stops mind functioning.  Then we can note that what is observing has nothing to observe.  Introverting the focus to who it is that’s observing is the next step.  It will be found that this observer is who or what we really are. All else, thoughts, ideas, or external objects (like the physical body) are phenomena that we get particularly identified with.  But these objects are not our primal essential nature, our primal Being.

       The observer, untainted, is the onlooker, the witness, the spectator, just a mirror beyond the mind. Whatever the thought-filled dichotomizing mind is conjuring up is merely a mechanism, like reflections arising in a mirror.    We have to learn to be present in this kind of contemplative practice and get deeply familiar with it.  The individual spectator is beyond the involved observer-consciousness that always is entangled in reactionary judging, accepting, rejecting, liking, disliking, and comparing and superimposing illusory meanings and values upon whatsoever is being observed. The witnessing spectator is just an impersonal witness, noumenon watching the process-functioning of the phenomenal worlds in the absence of any bias or reactionary distinctions made by the habitual mind. Opposites and dualities are viewed no more as separate entities unto themselves, but interconnected and interdependently existent as unified aspects of a totality in its holistic functionality. This spectator is pure consciousness disidentified from the processes of objective functionality, whether of the external world of phenomena and events or of the internal world of mental phenomena and events. When the disidentification and detachment from objective entanglement occurs then nonduality is known and truly understood.

   Just to be the witness, the spectator, just to watch, to be a watcher, will be enough for basic contemplative practice.  Watch for ideas to arise and try to determine where these ideas come from.   Do they come from past conditioning?  Watch and try to determine who decided to make that last decision, that last choice.   Did it come out of nowhere or did it come from a doer of past actions, maybe it came from only conditioning factors in this vast mechanistic material world we live in?  Just watch external events and see if they are or are not mechanisms of conditioned patterns.  Just watch and observe to try to see how ego-based desire can promote attachment to external things and events.  The unbiased spectator is able to know apperceptively many things that were before unrecognized through habitual modes of perception.




focus contemplative practice




Enlightenment Philosophy Books Advaita Consciousness Psychology Wisdom Contemplative Science