Witnessing Meditation by Osho – A Technique of Everyday Mindfulness

Osho advocated a simple and powerful meditation technique called witnessing. It is nothing but mindfulness in daily activities. It is not only an effective practice for spiritual seekers seeking spiritual enlightenment, but is also a good practice to improve mental peace in general. But the essence of the witnessing meditation has to be understood before one starts to practice it.

The following links will help you to understand some of the basics when it comes to spiritual enlightenment. After reading these links, witnessing meditation will make much sense and will be easier to understand:

What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

Is Spiritual Enlightenment Known or Experienced?

Ramana Maharshi and the Cinema Screen Analogy

The following infographic will give you the steps involved in witnessing. Feel free to download and share the infographic if you want:

Witnessing meditation by Osho - Everyday Mindfulness for Spiritual Enlightenment
Witnessing – Everyday Mindfulness for Spiritual Enlightenment

As it is explained in the infographic, the first step is to learn to discriminate between the awareness and the contents of the awareness. Anything that is observed in the mind, body and the external world is a content of consciousness. When you start witnessing, you may often mistake an object of consciousness for the subject. This is because of the deep-rooted identification people have with the objects of consciousness. You need to rise above each thought, feeling and sensation so that you don’t get identified with the contents.

Here is an excerpt of Osho’s talk from the book ‘From the False to the Truth:

“Just be, and watch. Being is not doing, and watching is also not doing. You sit silently doing nothing, witnessing whatsoever is happening. Thoughts will be moving in your mind; your body may be feeling some tension somewhere, you may have a migraine. Just be a witness. Don’t be identified with it. Watch, be a watcher on the hills, and everything else is happening in the valley. It is a knack, not an art.

Meditation is not a science. It is not an art, it is a knack – just that way. All that you need is a little patience.

The old habits will continue; the thoughts will go on rushing. And your mind is always in a rush hour, the traffic is always jammed. Your body is not accustomed to sitting silently – you will be tossing and turning. Nothing to be worried about. Just watch that the body is tossing and turning, that the mind is whirling, is full of thoughts – consistent, inconsistent, useless – fantasies, dreams. You remain in the center, just watching.

All the religions of the world have taught people to do something: stop the process of thought, force the body into a still posture. That’s what yoga is – a long practice of forcing the body to be still. But a forced body is not still. And all the prayers, concentrations, contemplations of all the religions do the same with the mind: they force it, they don’t allow the thoughts to move. Yes, you have the capacity to do it. And if you persist you may be able to stop the thought process. But this is not the real thing, it is absolutely fake.

When stillness comes on its own, when silence descends without your effort, when you watch thoughts and a moment comes when thoughts start disappearing and silence starts happening, that is beautiful. The thoughts stop of their own accord if you don’t identify, if you remain a witness and you don’t say, “This is my thought.”

You don’t say, “This is bad, this is good,” “This should be there….” and “This should not be there….” Then you are not a watcher; you have prejudices, you have certain attitudes. A watcher has no prejudice, he has no judgment. He simply sees like a mirror.

When you bring something in front of a mirror it reflects, simply reflects. There is no judgment that the man is ugly, that the man is beautiful, that, “Aha! What a good nose you have got.” The mirror has nothing to say. Its nature is to mirror; it mirrors. This is what I call meditation: you simply mirror everything within or without.

And I guarantee you…. I can guarantee because it has happened to me and to many of my people; just watching patiently – maybe a few days will pass, maybe a few months, maybe a few years. There is no way of saying because each individual has a different collection.

You must have seen people collecting antiques, postal stamps. Everybody has a different collection; the quantity may be different, hence the time it takes will be different – but go on remaining a witness as much as you can. And this meditation needs no special time. You can wash the floor and remain silently watching yourself washing the floor.

I can move my hand unconsciously, without watching, or I can move it with full awareness. And there is a qualitative difference. When you move it unconsciously it is mechanical. When you move it with consciousness there is grace. Even in the hand, which is part of your body, you will feel silence, coolness – what to say about the mind?

With your watching and watching, slowly the rush of thoughts starts getting less and less. Moments of silence start appearing; a thought comes, and then there is silence before another thought appears. These gaps will give you the first glimpse of meditation and the first joy that you are arriving home.

Soon the gaps will be bigger, and finally, the gap is always with you. You may be doing something, the silence is there. You may not be doing anything, the silence is there. Even in sleep, the silence is there.”


Buy my book “The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment: Bridging Science, Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta” for more details regarding Witnessing meditation:

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5 Insightful Quotes of Ashtavakra on Spiritual Enlightenment and Non-Duality

These five quotes of Astavakra have powerful pointers; For more quotes of Ashtavakra, visit Gems Of Wisdom From Ashtavakra Gita

 

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God: Who/What is God?

(This post has also been posted as an answer on Quora)

The word God is being used in two different meanings.

1. The word ‘God’, as it is possibly used by a random guy in the world of over 7 billion people, means the creator, ruler and the moral authority of the universe.

A random guy usually understands God as an invisible person who has a mind, emotions, intentions and a personality that is strict, altruistic, intelligent, loving, judgemental and sometimes even cruel.

He is someone who is worshiped with or without form and who is also feared. As for as utility is concerned, such a random man uses this God to be hopeful of his wishes and even curses as well. Sometimes he also uses God even to justify his cruel actions.. That has caused a lot of violence in the name of religion over the last two or three millennia.

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The tendency to judge others usually occurs to a person because of the unconscious intention to show himself in a positive light, in terms of what is good and bad. By making a judgment about others either mentally or physically and by trying to see how bad they are, he unconsciously convinces himself on how good he is.

This tendency can be observed more in people who are brought up in religious families. Don’t think about spirituality here. I am talking about an orthodox Hindu, Muslim or Christian who believes that there is a personal superhuman God who is the moral authority of the world and who punishes the evil doers. He is conditioned more to think in terms of what is good and bad, what is evil and sin etc.

When he believes that his neighbor is selfish, arrogant, rude and probably even bad, he convinces himself on how bad that neighbor is; he also gets relieved in thinking that God will teach his neighbor a lesson one day.

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The neighbor is always a problem. It is not only the case with your next door neighbor, it could be someone who is sitting next to you in school or work, the people in neighboring town, state, country etc. Everyone wants to see himself better than other in some way. The worst problems happen when he wants to see himself better than others in how good he is, how pure his heart is, how devotional and dear to God he is etc. So, this is really not about God at all. God is just an excuse to bring some solace on his wishes and curses.

If for any reason he is not able to kill someone who he thinks as bad, rude or displeasing, he can find some temporary relief by thinking how much God would want to punish him. And as soon as he notices such a thought in his mind, he would probably pray to God saying “oh my God, what have I done!.. I have thought of killing that guy. It is such a bad thought and I have sinned now!. But you know how bad he is anyway (*this is the special part!). But I admit that I have sinned in my mind. Please forgive me.. I honestly ask for your forgiveness. Let everything happen according to thy will, Amen or Om Shanthi or Insha Allah or whatever”…. That’s it! He no longer has to worry about it anymore because God has forgiven him! But God is still not going to forgive that bad neighbor guy!

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And this typical religious person that we are talking about is not going to forgive that bad guy either. Also, God will only forgive this typical religious person because he believes that he is the dearest child of God. As far as he is concerned, God loves him but would want to punish everybody else that he doesn’t like for whatever reason he has. And his mind can easily find biased reasons for such an aversion. Any person can easily find thousands of reason to justify his hatred towards another person, there is no question. It is love which doesn’t require any reasons.

If you think for a moment, the main teachings of many religions have been love. It is even said that Love is God. Every religious tradition probably has love as the central theme. Most of the religions portray God as Love.

I think Jesus was a wise man. When someone asked him what greatest commandments were, he did not talk about Ten Commandments.

All he said was this:

”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second commandment is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

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But love is not a bargain or deal. Unfortunately, this is what we see in many people who claim to love God or human beings. Their prayers are like ‘God, please give me this, please give me that’. This is not Love. This is a business.

It is pretty much like telling your God what to do and doesn’t sound like ‘Thy will be done!”

2. But the word ‘God’ is also used in the context of spiritual enlightenment.

In this context, the word is just a synonym of Absolute reality from which people feel separated.

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The apparent union that destroys the apparent separation of absolute reality is what is called by different names: Some people call it as the mystical union and some people call it as Yoga, which literally means union. Here, the God is often personified and loved but never believed or seen as a person. In other words, union with God is the same shit as spiritual enlightenment! It is the end of duality which gives complete fulfillment and peace.

But the word ‘God’ in the context of spiritual enlightenment is totally unnecessary anyway. I would rather talk about spiritual enlightenment without using the word ‘God’. You can read this answer for a detailed description of what it is: What is Spiritual Enlightenment?