The "Witness Position" is A Sacred Cow: "Me"

The "Witness" position, though expected to be a higher development of spiritual practice, can be a pitfall to practice -- an entrenched and uninspected version of the egoic stance -- a "sacred cow".

This entry illuminates that pitfall, so you don't fall into it. 

It's an oddity, and a remarkable one, at that, that I keep discovering more of the ways I do things.

I'm going to start out by laying some groundwork; I'm going to discuss the "behind the scenes of our identity" -- whatever our individual identity may be. The point of "behind the scenes" is, just because we can't see it doesn't mean that it's absent; it's just faded from our attention, second nature. Witnessing as an ostensibly spiritual practice that we may do is an act of intention, is not The Witness Position or Witnessing; it's the egoic identity in "drag".

If you've had the experience of catching yourself at something, you know what I mean.

If you haven't, let's say that I move from being incomprehending about the "wherefores" ("whys") of my existence, to catching myself in a certain mood or repeatedly saying and feeling certain things and recognizing a pattern, to seeing how that pattern explains certain chronic features of my existence, i.e., things about which I feel stuck, moods, chronic quandaries --  to initiating and feeling the dissolution of those underlying, controlling patterns.

Here's the oddity: I keep on discovering and dealing with "new ones", which means I was oblivious to them, before.

That I was oblivious of them is obvious; I was experiencing the consequences, before, without knowing the "whence" of those consequences -- not making connections between certain things I chronically said, thought, or felt about my life experience and their consequences . . . . .

a disconnect, whereby I chronically shot myself in the foot without knowing how or why, while I felt and believed that I was doing something entirely else

Well, I was, also, doing something else.  Two value patterns were interacting, colliding with each other, producing a standing wave with surprising results.

As I said, I would discover them, two patterns of thought, behavior, or feeling, and juxtapose them against each other.  Whatever holding patterns would disclose themselves, they would be recognized as shaping forces of my actions, but behind the scenes.

Fancy, hundred-dollar word, "juxtapose"; it means, "to put them next to each other, to compare them, to see their inter-relationship".  The fancy word is easier.  Juxtapose.

So, two patterns recently came to my attention:

One controlling pattern that I discovered was

Single-Minded, Unbending Intent 

It's not necessary to know why I developed this pattern.  I can say why, but it would divert us, too much.  Let's just say that there were relationships in my life that called for and abetted its development.

Through another relationship, I was presented the opportunity to explore 

Radical Joy  

I discovered that I was grossly out of balance, on the "Single-Minded, Unbending Intent" side.

I juxtaposed, "single-minded, unbending intent" with "radical joy" and discovered that "single-minded, unbending intent" had overpowered "joy" with a kind of dominant force.  As a result, I had developed a personality almost as light and scintillating as that of Henry Kissinger.  Moreover, they were an "either-or" proposition:

 "Feeling joy?  You're not taking proper account of the situation."
Either radical joy -- or -- single-minded, unbending intent

Another possibility exists:

INTEGRATION
Single-Minded, Unbending Intent | Radical Joy

I had a tendency to irritability that was almost Irish and a morose disposition that was very Russian.

That's what I mean by, "finding myself out".

I was operating from that condition, experiencing its consequences, and not connecting the consequences to certain second-nature ways of operating (i.e., the balance between radical joy and single-minded, unbending intent, vs. the synergy of radical joy and single-minded, unbending intent).  

There just seemed to be a limit to the reach of my imagination.  I seemed stuck with certain trends of experience that I could describe (seen it, before), unable to reach far beyond them without being pulled back.  No accessible Strange Attractors, out in that direction to go and visit as an alternative; instead my imagination encountered an incomprehensible void and flickerings of possibility that fleetingly caught attention without settling into a defined form.

So, here are two "control-patterns" or "organizing principles".  They presented an opportunity:  contrasts inform perception.  Contrasting these two might reveal hitherto-hidden holding patterns.

So, I applied the Middle-Way Memory Matrix Ritual to those two attributes:

Single-Minded, Unbending Intent
Radical Joy

and ran the process until I could hardly remember what I was working on; the purpose of the procedure is to balance, to synthesize, and to dissolve the selected pairs of attributes, so I allow dissolution of the process toward the end, and have to be more deliberate to continue.  Jury's still out on the longer-term effects.

ACTION, SENSATION, AND MEMORY
  • In the worldspace of memory, memory patterns precede and shape action.
  • In the worldspace of action, action is the movement of memory patterns. Action precedes sensation.
  • In the world of sensation, sensation informs memory.

That's how our actions, sensations, and memory fit together -- circularly -- and how our actions always precede our awareness of them.

That's true, now.

We do not know our own actions until after they have started happening.  We are inevitably witnessing ourself --
but with a confused notion that we are in control of what we're witnessing --
and our idea of control
amounts to chasing after the effects of causes beyond our reach.

like a dog chasing after a flock of birds

Our patterns of control exist before the outward doing,
as low-level readiness for action,
idling,
and so exist before our witnessing of our doing.

The movements of the will (intentionality with attention) 
operate sight-unseen, arising from mysterious depths
of latent tendency in the living being,
alive.

When we adjust our willingness and willpower, we do so from a place of felt action called, "directing intent",
that cannot be put into words or described.

only felt

There is the peculiar notion that we add to the rest of experience
that, "I am in control of this," "I am actively participating in this."

Me - me - me - me - me - me - me . . . . . 

It's that "dummy" (or "avatar") assertion that cloaks a direct awareness of things as they happen -- in mystery -- even as we witness and perform them.  It's the explanatory myth of "who dunnit."  The control center.  The Sacred Cow.  Me. The myth.

But a moment's consideration of the fact that the awareness of things
emerges in us strongly suggests that everything about us already exists and emerges into attention and that we apprehend it after it is already in motion, not at its start.  What does that do to the notion of control?

And what does that do to the experience of control?

It shifts control into paradox mode,
even as actions start from mysterious origin
with reasons sounding the horn. 

MEMORY AND THE WITNESS POSITION

Having laid the groundwork, now I can discuss the Witness Position. 

People start off cultivating the intention to pay attention in order to create "witnessing".  That's not pure witnessing; it's effort.

The Witness Position is NO POSITION.  It's not something someone does.  It's our inherent nature.  It can't be cultivated.  What can be cultivated is attention, which is directed and focussed awareness.  The acts, directing and focussing, can be cultivated.  People call that act of cultivation, "Mindfulness", another misnomer, since "mind" is an activity that colors attention, and is not awareness, the universal, Kosmic Presence.

Anything added to that is an activity, not witnessing.  It's "me," in action.

The Witness Position gets revealed when the effort of paying attention gets recognized as another effort and is released.  Then, the field of awareness stands out to intuition, without location, form, center, or content.  The contrast between that intuition and world-experience (inevitable, as we are alive), is the Witness Position.

For more on the topic, click below.

If you believe you're in the Witness Position,
you are -- but not in the way you think.

Somatic Education is Emergence

Somatic education exercises are best understood as "adaptive", where the word, "education", means something and isn't there just for window dressing.

People are caught in dysfunctional patterns.  These dysfunctional patterns don't somehow exist "in the mind" without a physiological counterpart; they consist of both psychological and physiological perspectives of the same thing:  adaptive memory -- memory formed as a response to experience, as pain or pleasure, physiological and psychological.

We feel that those dysfunctional patterns are "bigger than we."  We're in their grip.

How do we get equal to them?

by matching them, duplicating them, replicating them, causing them, recognizing them

In practice, somatic education exercises produce feel-able effects by the end of the first practice session.  "Feel-able effects" means that you feel yourself move differently, your balance is different, places that were tight are now looser.  Your limbs may feel longer, or your whole side longer.  Pain may have decreased.  That's what "feel-able effects" means.  That's for one practice session.

However, "practice" means practice.

The feel-able effects of any given somatic education exercise are likely to vary from session to session, as well as having similarities from session to session.

That's to be expected.  It's supposed to happen.  It's the nature of change.

What is also to be expected is that the effects accumulate.

What's accumulating is your memory of these movements and what they feel like.

You're getting familiar with them.

And the more familiar you are with the movement pattern, the more accessible it is to you, the less you need the old, dysfunctional pattern, and you switch over.

That's the process called, in behavioral psychology, "extinction" of an old habit -- the movement memory habits of dysfunction naturally get superceded by mastering yourself in those areas -- where "mastering yourself" means "doing as you intend to do and not doing as you don't intend to do" (to oversimplify, a bit).

In these terms, it means getting free of the pain of unwittingly self-inflicted muscular tension habits, recovering your mobility, feeling and moving more like yourself as you prefer, able to dissipate pain and stress at will, overcoming the effects of time and experience to freshen yourself, so that you continue to grow and develop abilities that make you more than you were, before, not less, as you age.

if you're effective in your own somatic education

You are likely to experience the accumulating effects of these exercises as an ebb and flow, going in and out like the tides, having some better days and some worse days.  As you progress, the better days come more often and you feel better, and when you feel worse, you don't feel as bad as before.  Symptoms are likely to shift, you may feel places where you didn't know you have places, you may get "muscle sore" for a day or so, from time to time.  Old issues you thought were gone may resurface to be dealt with more thoroughly, now.

It's a process dealing with your actual condition, not only with the most prominent symptoms of your condition, but with all of it.  It's for people who, when they do something, they mean it.  It's for people who intend results, not excuses.  It's for people who are intrigued by the possibility of awakening more of themselves, of being more competent in more areas, particularly with having command of "number 1" -- themselves.

The meaning of the word, "education"
is "to draw out or draw forth"
"e ducare".

It means taking the seeds of possibility present in a person and, one by one, bringing them to life.  In this case, what is being brought to life is the person's capacity to put attention on something and keep it there - and - the person's capacity to exercise their intention until they get the intended result.  It's backbone.

Backbone isn't machismo.  It isn't "no pain, no gain".  It isn't "suck it up".  It isn't boisterousness and it isn't readiness for confrontation.  Backbone is support and balance, suppleness and strength.

And that comes from competence, some basic forms of which emerge in somatic education.

Emerging from our dysfunctional patterns is like the emerging of the sun from behind clouds.

Take the changes in stride.  Notice the larger trend.  You emerge.





© 2014 Lawrence Gold
some rights reserved

Life is a Dynamic Movement between Entropy and Neg-entropy.

The tendency of latent potentials to activate,
and thereby expend themselves,
physicists call the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:
The Law of Entropy.

"latent potentials" means "what's possible"
"activate" means "becomes actual"
"expend" means "give ones gifts"
"Entropy" is the relative amount of order or disorder
characterizing a living (or active) system.

The movement from disorder to disorder
characterizes the down-hill slope
that makes things run.

Things run down.

Meaning.

They move from no-function
to function
to non-function.

UNLESS.

A peculiar phenomenon known as neg-entropy
comes into play.

Neg-entropy is emergent
like the light of the Sun is emergent from the Sun.

It is the formation of living (active) functions
in existence
by means of the gathering and organizing
of the forces of existence
into behaviors of some duration (durability).

It exists in both living and non-living realms.

It's just that the non-living realms
are running a downhill slope,
while the living realms
are bringing to life
newly emergent functions.

One of those newly emergent functions
is to make non-living realms
run uphill,
going from less active (less functional)
to more active (more functional).

In the non-living or inanimate realms
we call that
Technology.

Another of those newly emergent functions
is to make the living realms
run uphill longer and further
going from active (functional) in some ways
into active in more ways.

Neg-entropy
is that function.

In the living or animate realms,
we call the first stage of increasing entropy
Maturation
and we call the second stage of increasing entropy
Evolution.

In both cases, personal abilities emerge
we put energy into them
and we expend ourselves in our developing potentials.

Immaturity is a lower-entropy level.
As immaturity matures,
latent personal abilities emerge
dispensing the energies of the being
among those abilities.

Maturity is a higher-entropy level.
There are more ways to function
and more functions active
more ways to dispense our energies
and more dispersion of them.

Here's where the trick of the Neg-entropists comes in:
how to recover what we have lost to entropy,
how to recover from the scattering of our energies.

THE QUANDARY:
As functions awaken, energies or potentials disperse.
There's a limit to how much attention a person can give
to conditions at any moment.
Our functional capacity is limited.
"Ya can only get so much done in a day."

THE UPGRADE
Reversing the increase of entropy.
Clean-up.

First step:
Identify points of friction in life,
grounded in memories.

Abilities that worked for us in the past
may not apply or fit well to present conditions.
That poor fit creates friction.
That poor fit is based in our memory of how things
used to work, but no longer do, exactly.
Friction.

Dissolve the grip of those memories,
make room for something new and better-fitting:
dissolve the friction.
Less friction, less wasted effort.
That applies to "internal contractions" (broken integrity).

Reclaim and recycle our capacity for
attending, intending, remembering and imagining
taken up by old, not such good ways of doing and being,
anymore.

Second step:
Apply that reclaimed and recycled capacity
to current projects.

"Current projects" means "creative activities".

Attention has the peculiar property that
the more you look,
the more you see
(or hear, or feel).

That's emergence.

And the more coherent the looking
("coherent" means "having it together",
more signal, less noise)
the more likely it is that something coherent will emerge
from the inchoate mass of latent potentials.

Something new emerges.

That's neg-entropy in action, recovering energy and attention,
then inducing new things emerging in the new-again movement toward higher entropy -- life occurring.

Another word for coherence is, integrity.
Another name for neg-entropy is, newness.

Entropy is the activating of potentials and expending of resources;
neg-entropy is the integration of potentials,
into simplified, larger wholes in patterns of organization
and the reclaiming and conserving of resources.

Living and evolving species need and embody
both entropy and neg-entropy.

Too much entropy puts a drag on everything.
Too much neg-entropy may create a sonic boom
of emergence.  Might be a bit much.


It's a question of balance.


© 2014 Lawrence Gold
some rights reserved