Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 372 – Witnessing versus Focused
Attention to Dissolve Obstructions
Date: November 19, 2009
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Often spiritual teachers will suggest that bringing awareness to places
of energy imbalance or obstruction can result in
healing and decrease pain. But then some people from AYP say not to put
attention on the areas of imbalance. Can you comment on these seemingly
A: There is a difference between focusing attention on energy imbalances
and obstructions, versus allowing awareness to naturally be with
(witness) an emotional or physical sensation. The first will tend to amplify
the sensation by bringing energy into it, while the second will tend to
dissolve the sensation by dissipating the energy of the sensation in
unconditioned awareness. It is the difference between strengthening an
object in awareness versus dissolving the object in awareness.
This is analogous to clinging to the mantra on the surface in deep
meditation versus allowing it to fade, or clinging to a sutra on the surface
in samyama versus releasing it in stillness.
It is important to make the distinction between focusing (clinging) versus
witnessing (allowing) in these matters. The greatest
doing is in non-doing –
simply noticing without doing.
Witnessing may be somewhat problematic before we have some inner silence
present, because before then all attention tends to cling (identify with the
objects of perception). But as inner silence comes to abide, the process of
witnessing gradually takes over and imbalances and obstructions dissolve
much more easily simply by allowing our awareness to be with them. Along the
way to experiencing greater abiding inner silence, we can intellectually
understand the difference between focusing and witnessing (allowing) in
dealing with imbalances, and continue meditating twice-daily.
We have a procedure for dissolving strong sensations that may occur during
deep meditation, if such sensations prevent us from easily picking up the
mantra. See Lesson 15. This is an application of
easily allowing the attention to be drawn to an area of discomfort in the
body, without focusing. It may begin with a strong emotion that is
overwhelming us during meditation. If it happens, we can let our attention
easily be with that. This will lead us to a physical sensation in the body,
which we can also allow to be in our relaxed attention. In doing so, we will
find both the emotional feeling and physical sensation to be releasing. Once
it has released enough for us to easily return to the mantra, then we do
that. This procedure is a direct application of inner silence (witness) we
have been cultivating in deep meditation.
As we find more abiding inner silence in daily activity, the same procedure
can be used with good effect in times of emotional stress and physical
discomfort. In time, our inner foundation of pure bliss consciousness will
become so prevalent that the inevitable ups and
downs in life will be swallowed up in infinite
awareness as soon as we notice them. The mere act of noticing will dissolve
disharmony. This does not mean all physical maladies will disappear
miraculously (though sometimes it happens). It means the binding
identification of our native awareness with the dislocations occurring in
life will become much less, and we will be in a much better position to deal
with whatever comes our way. That which can be dissolved on the spot will
be. The rest we will continue to navigate in stillness. We call this
"stillness in action."
The other approach of deliberately focusing (concentrating) attention on
energy imbalances and obstructions, attempting to manipulate them in some
way, is not an AYP recommended practice. Such
efforts are as likely to amplify discordant energies as dissolve them. So
when we advise not to focus too much on energy imbalances and obstructions,
it is for the purpose of not strengthening them. The use of attention in
that way can also lead to unnecessary distractions in spiritual practices,
and in life. Better we give our focused attention to the things that will
enhance our quality of life, and simply witness (allow) the things that do
not when they demand our attention. No dark shadow can survive the innocent
gaze of infinite pure bliss consciousness, which
is what we are in our unconditioned state of abiding inner silence.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the
Deep Meditation book.
For detailed discussion on the practical
utilization of self-inquiry, and on how to avoid ineffective uses of
self-inquiry, see the