Witness and Ground

I have been curious about the sense of a witness or observer lately.

What are the sensation components of the sense of a witness?

What images is it made up of?

Is it content of awareness? Does it come and go? Is it different from other gestalts, such as the gestalts of me (as this human self), pain, emotions and so on?

What happens when there is identification with it, when I take it as what I am?

What happens when that identification is released? (Even if I just imagine it.)

What happens when I notice the sense of observer or witness as a gestalt, as any other gestalt?

When I explore the identification with it, I see that identification with a sense of an observer is another foothold for that sense of a separate I. It gives it ground to stand on, another ledge within content of experience, facing the (apparent) abyss of releasing identification out of any gestalts and stories.

In immediate experience, there is a sense of a separate I here as the observer or witness, located around/behind the head, with a particular view (can be all directions even), and with a sense of solidity and substance lent to it by the sensations that make up the gestalt.

These sensations are in the scalp, face to some extent, in the mouth/throat area, and the neck. The images are of a center, a location in space where a separate I is located, a view as a cone aimed in different directions and with a particular size of opening.

And the effect is identifying as that witness gestalt, observing whatever else is happening in the sense fields, and releasing identification (more or less completely) out of the other gestalts.

As I notice it as a gestalt, I recognize it as made up of sensations and images, as content of experience, as something that comes and goes, as awakeness itself, as no thing appearing as something, and really as something I cannot put any labels on – as with anything else.

Some say it is the “last” ledge, but I am sure there are others… such as an overlay/gestalt of emptiness, love, oneness and whatever other stories that innocently reflect what may may be alive in immediate awareness, and we then cling to as what we are.

And why identifying with a story? What I find behind it is fear. A fear of having nowhere to stand, and no separate I to stand anywhere. A fear of not being able to locate what I am in time and space. A fear of finding the groundless ground as what I am.

So I can notice that fear. Allow it. Welcome it. Find kindness and compassion for whatever is happening… the fear, the images of me as having that fear, resistance, and so on. Allow it all with a relaxed kindness.

And all of these are stories too… pointers at most, with no real truth in them.


Initial outline…

  • witness and ground
    • witness
      • gestalt (as other gestalts)
      • content of awareness
      • last foothold, ledge to stand on, sense of solid ground
      • all recognized as “not me”, and this one may be recognized that way as well
    • identification…
      • me (human self) > separate I (witness) > recognize gestalts, all as content > shift of identification (grace)
      • first ones, can work one
      • final shift, grace (can invite in, that’s all)

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