Questions on Witnessing and Awareness

Osho – Witnessing is a Knack

Question: Beloved Osho, you describe witnessing as a knack. Often, late at night, when I am in a very relaxed state, witnessing happens. At other times, though, it just seems to be mind watching mind watching mind. Please comment on this knack.

Osho: The moment I say that witnessing is a knack, it implies that there is no way to explain it, no way to teach someone about it, no way to train someone in it. That’s the whole meaning of the word ”knack.”

I can say things which are close enough, but they can never be exact descriptions of the knack. It is not an art, not a craft that can be explained in detail, step by step. But if it is happening to you, there is no problem. You should know what it is, you should know the taste of it.

The problem is arising because you must be trying to do it; not allowing the knack to happen, but trying to make an art of it, so that you can control it. Man wants to control everything; it is part of his basic ego. The knack cannot be controlled. Either you know it or you don’t know it.

You can play around it, and sometimes by chance you stumble upon it: suddenly you have come to know it. That is the moment when you have to be aware in what situation it is happening. In the night, when you are relaxed, you find it happening. That gives you a clue that relaxation, not an effort to attain witnessing, allows the knack to happen.

At other times when you are trying, making an effort, an endeavor to get it, then it is mind watching mind watching mind. It is always the mind. Mind cannot get the knack. Mind can learn any art, any technique, any craft: a knack is beyond it. It is not its language, it is not its world. A knack is something beyond mind.

So you have to be clearly aware: the thing is happening to you, the failure of the mind is happening to you. Whenever you are trying, you watch – then you find that it is mind watching another part of the mind. And then you find the one who has found this is also another part of the mind.

And this can go on ad infinitum. Mind is capable of dividing itself infinitely. But finally you will find only mind – you will not come to meditation, you will not come to witnessing. So your failure is helpful. It says, ”Don’t make the effort, don’t try.” Your success indicates that it happens when you are relaxed, when you are not trying. In relaxation, mind is no longer functioning.

The mind is going to be in sleep, it is ready to go into sleep; it is not going into an effort because effort will keep you awake. You cannot fall into sleep by effort. Sleep and witnessing have something in common. You cannot make the effort – one thing. Every effort is going to be a failure – another thing.

Unless you learn that every effort fails, you cannot get the knack. But once in a while when your mind is getting ready to go to sleep – in between, when you are still awake, and the mind is relaxing to go into sleep – suddenly, witnessing happens. You have got the knack! Now don’t ask me what it is.

That may destroy even your night witnessing, because you may start trying it. Just let it happen as it is happening in the night. You can, at the most, create the same atmosphere whenever you want it to happen, and wait. You cannot force it. One has to learn a great lesson – that there are things beyond you which you cannot force; you can only remain open, available, waiting, and they come.

The moment you become tense to get hold of them, they slip away. It is just like, in the open fist you have all the air possible. With the closed fist all the air disappears. You may be thinking that with a closed fist you are catching hold of the air. No, it has slipped out. It does not belong to the closed fist, it belongs only to the open hand – and it is easily available.

You just have to see when it happens, what the surroundings are. The surroundings mean you are going into sleep, you are tired of the whole day’s work – you don’t want to work anymore. In the gap, before the mind slips into sleep and you lose consciousness – the mind is preparing, is getting ready to go into sleep, but you are still awake – in that minute gap, witnessing happens.

Now, you cannot try the knack. You can simply create the outer situation. In the day, anytime, let the mind go into relaxation. Don’t try – as if you are going to create witnessing: you are simply allowing mind to rest. And at a certain point, that same gap will appear, and in the gap descends the witness. This is the mystery of a knack – its strangeness and its simplicity too.

Source: “Light on the Path” – Osho

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