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17154Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon on "Witness of Thoughts"

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  • medit8ionsociety
    May 7, 2010
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      At any moment in the stream, only a single
      thought appears. For in that moment, there's
      no time to think two thoughts or more. Nor is
      there time to think of different things, in
      that single moment. To think of more than just
      one thing, there must be more thoughts than one,
      taking place at different times.

      So when the mind thinks of itself, it's there
      alone, thought momentarily, in a passing moment.
      Most of the time attention turns to other things,
      and then the mind has gone away. In its own
      stream of thought, mind only shows up now and
      then -- as a passing thought of ego, where the
      mind conceives itself. On the occasions when this
      fitful ego-thought appears, mind identifies it
      as a self that knows experience. This passing
      ego-thought thus claims that it somehow carries
      on, even when it gets replaced by many other
      thoughts which keep succeeding it in time.

      This thought of ego is self-contradictory, confused
      and absurdly inflated in its claims. Most people
      realize there's something wrong with ego, in the
      way that it centres what they see and feel and
      think upon their partial bodies and their shifting
      minds. But then, what exactly is the problem? And
      how might it be corrected?

      The problem is that when mind thinks, it does not
      really know. The thoughts of mind are only changing
      acts, each of which distracts attention from the
      others. Each drowns out the others with its noisy
      clamouring. As these thoughts replace each other,
      knowing is what carries on. It is a silent
      witnessing that is completely detached and
      impartial, not at all involved with any changing action.

      The self that knows is thus a silent witness to
      all thoughts which come and go. As mind and body
      do their acts, the witness only witnesses. Its
      witnessing is not a changing act. In its pure and
      quiet knowing, it does not do anything. It just
      stays the same, utterly unchanged and unaffected,
      completely free and independent of what is witnessed.

      By the mere presence of that silent witness,
      what appears gets illuminated and recorded. On
      that witness, everyone depends, for all memory and
      communication. To remember or communicate, there
      has to be a standing back into its quiet knowing
      presence, which is shared in common by all changing
      times and different personalities. From there,
      all things are known, impartially and truly.

      Thus, to correct the partialities and the confusions
      of ego, all that's needed is a change of perspective,
      achieved by realizing that all knowing stands in
      the silent witness. That is the only true
      perspective -- standing as the silent knower, quite
      detached from thinking mind, perceiving senses,
      doing body, happy or unhappy personality.

      In the end the detachment does not come from any
      physical or mental change, nor from any forced
      renunciation. It comes just by taking note of
      where in fact one stands, as that which witnesses
      all happenings that appear. That witness is by
      nature unattached: quite unchanged and unaffected
      by the changing doings of body, sense and mind,
      in personality and world.