Sushi: Do let me know if Balsekar’s views are in line with his guru’s Thou art That or Tat Tvam Asi. What is meant by complete attention to What Is?
Jagjot: Yes, I believe Ramesh’s views were the same. I often heard him saying Thou Art That in his talks. Ramesh’s style of teaching was more subtle as compared to Nisargadatta Maharaj who was direct and explosive.
Someone like me would not absorb teachings that way because I’m a bit reactive myself. My fire element is dominant. And anything loud or aggressive would invoke my ego and then there would be no receptivity.
Therefore, I needed the information from someone who was abundant in the water (fluid) element. Someone who could convey what was going on without stroking my anxiety. And teachings of Ramesh and Jiddu did that. That’s exactly how I felt in the presence of that master in Kashmir.
The phrase “complete attention to What-Is” was often used by Jiddu Krishnamurti. He put it in a powerful way. So the first thing is to understand what is “What Is.” Any apparent happening in duality is presented as an experience in the form of the subject-object split.
There is a subject experiencing an object. The object can be either physical or subtle (thoughts, feeling, and emotions). Complete attention is the witnessing of the happening without mind analyzing “What Should Be” or “What Should Not Be.”
Therefore, complete attention is an impersonal awareness of being or “I AM,” which is devoid of that personal agency that contemplates “what should or should not be.” So the happening, in itself, is simply “What Is.”
With total attention, there is no “you” seeing anything, but all of the content arising is witnessed by the consciousness. Therefore, nothing leads to involvement and creates suffering. In other words, watchfulness is happening, but there is no individual judging, reacting, or analyzing anything. Does this make sense?
So in the impersonal witnessing, what is “seen” is “What-Is” and not “What Should or Should not be.” This is the simplest way I can put it intellectually.
For a realized being the Self alone is the Reality, and actionsRamana Maharshi.
are only phenomenal, not affecting the Self. Even when he acts he
has no sense of being an agent. His actions are only involuntary
and he remains a witness to them without any attachment.
You can refer to chapters “Watching Oneself Ceaselessly” and “Cultivating Witness Consciousness” in my book “End of Me & My Story.”
Sushi: I don’t catch the “I AM” very well. Or the Self. I understand surrender and non-doership.
Jagjot: “I AM” or the ultimate reality cannot be caught by “you.” The Self cannot be experienced as an object of your awareness. You’re trying to find a state (object), but the reason why you can’t find it is that it’s already you or the presence. “I AM” is the substratum over which the mind is a superimposition. The mind can never experience it as an object.
Therefore, witnessing is the absence of “me.” There’s no easy way for me to explain this. When the sense of personal identification dissolves completely, witnessing begins to happen, without you trying to do anything.
To give you an example, when I was working, I would often go out for walks after lunch all by myself. In those days, I didn’t have a smartphone (Nokia N97 or something like that, only calls), so I would sit on a corner of a busy street and observe people passing by.
At some point, the observation would end, and witnessing would begin, where my body was also “seen” as an object among all others. In that everything collapsed. There was no time or space. It was pure bliss!!
The phenomenon or happening is witnessed by the awareness, and the awareness behind every apparent happening is “seen” as one with it.
Sorry, it’s extremely challenging to explain this! But the first time I heard about witnessing, I knew exactly what Ramesh meant by it!
When the witnessing begins or ends, is not in our control. This happens with feelings as well. Sometimes a painful feeling arises, and then it gets cut off immediately. The thought that remains is witnessed without a subject. Witnessing ends suffering at that moment!