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Q: What is ‘being the witness’ and how do you integrate it into your everyday life?

By Swami Satyadharma



Q: What is ‘being the witness’ and how do you integrate it into your everyday life?

A: Being the witness means to develop that quality of awareness. Awareness is the pure quality of your conscious field, it’s your consciousness, and you are born with that quality.

However, we cannot express the quality of the consciousness in the absence of the mind. We are in the body so we need to express that awareness which is the quality of consciousness through the mind.

Now we didn’t discuss in the previous question that there are also different components of the mind. It’s a very detailed question but to be brief, it does relate to our spiritual journey too because the mind has these different components.

There’s the lower mind and the higher mind. The lower mind is the mind that is enacting my life in the world but there’s one quality absent. What is that? When I am enacting my life, going through the different activities of my day, that’s my lower mind receiving input from the senses and reacting in appropriate or inappropriate ways.

But there’s one quality often missing. What’s that quality?

Awareness. Awareness is the quality of a different mind; not the lower mind but the higher mind. In yoga we call that higher mind Buddhi. The word Buddhi means the knower. Buddhi the higher mind is the knower of the mind.

The lower mind doesn’t actually know but it’s doing it anyway, kind of on automatic like a robot. Like when you are driving a car sometimes and often you don’t even know when you miss your turn. Why?

No awareness. Where was the awareness? We go through our daily habits and routines and rituals, very often with no Buddhi, no awareness, no witness.

Witness, awareness is the whole purpose of yoga in a nutshell.  It is not about fitness, it is not about flexibility and it is not about looking good, although these things may come.

Yoga and Buddhi are synonymous. Sometimes we join them together and we say Buddhi Yoga but the purpose of yoga is to develop Buddhi .

The purpose of yoga is to develop this knowing nature of my mind, to develop this ability to be aware and to function in life with that quality. To become more and more awake. To become more and more aware and  more and more capable of witnessing. Buddhi witnesses and it knows, whereas the lower mind enacts and it doesn’t know necessarily unless it’s connected with Buddhi.

So the purpose of yoga is to awaken this awareness, to awaken this witness process because a witness is somebody who knows, somebody who actually sees what’s happening. Without that, without seeing what’s happening, we just go through life like an automaton.


About Swami Satyadharma