Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Universal Witness
All Experience Happens Within the Universal Witness
The experience of the universal witness unfolds more than it did few days ago, revealing further implications of recognizing my identity as this unchanging background of awareness. The insights, which arise as perceptions, roll effortlessly, the more I am this witnessing: “I am not the body, not the personality, not the essence, not the mind, not god. I am nothing that is a content of experience. Yet, all experience happens within me. Everything, at all levels, from the spiritual to the physical, happens within me. I am not touched by any of it. I am untouched and untouchable. I am unchanging. I am deathless. I am unborn. I am uncaused, unoriginated. I was never born, will never die. The concepts of life and death do not apply to me. Life and death are nothing but a process of constant transformation within me. All existence, from the lowest to the highest, is always in a state of flux, but I am the background against which this flux is seen. I am static, unchanging, nonreactive and nonresponsive. I am beyond space and time; both space and time are within me. All of time is a movement within me. Personality, or more accurately, the personal consciousness or soul, is time. Time is the flux of this personal consciousness. Essence is timelessness. I see time as the movement of the timeless in me. All of time, the time of the body and of all of physical existence, is a small process within me. I am beyond time and timelessness. I am the beyond, beyond all and everything. Mind is within me, small and always trying to grasp me.”
Luminous Night's Journey, pg. 26
Recognition of the Universal Witness as Identity
By the time dinner is over, the density and substantiality suddenly evaporate, revealing a vastness beyond comprehension. I do not perceive this vastness, but I recognize it as my very identity. I experience myself as the vast silent dark emptiness. As I experience this new identity, I learn a great deal of what I truly am when I am not trapped in the particulars of personal life and history. I can be present as personal existence, or I can transcend all personal experience. I am then the unchanging background witnessing, which has been revealing itself in the midst of personal experience, in glimpses and intimations, flashes and intuitions. Now this awareness reveals itself fully, as the universal witness. I experience myself as beyond everything, literally everything, and not just everything in my personal life. I am a silent witness, vast and unchanging, beyond time and all space. I am absolutely still, totally uninvolved, but completely aware. This demonstrates directly that I do not need to be freed or enlightened. I am always free, always have been and always will be. Also, I cannot be trapped, for my very identity is totally detached awareness. I can see my personal life as a drama that I do not have to be involved in. It is like a movie that has a beginning and an end, but it is not me. I feel distant from everything, but acutely aware of everything. I am a silent space, totally empty but containing everything. The recognition, which is a direct perception, is that everything is in me. The body, the universe, essence, personality, everything that can become an object of perception, is not me, but is in me. I am pure awareness, mere witnessing, where everything arises and passes away.
Luminous Night's Journey, pg. 25
The Personal Needs to Realize the Universal Impersonal in Order to be Free
An insight reveals a further relationship between the personal development and the unchanging and undeveloping universal witness. The personal needs to realize the universal impersonal in order to be free. Otherwise life becomes enmeshment in the particulars of daily life. The realization of the impersonal is not only for its own sake, it is also for the personal to complete its development in freedom. Life is then the personal consciousness experiencing itself as the flow of the realization of Being.
Luminous Night's Journey, pg. 30
The Unchanging Silent Background
The silence is vast and eerie. There is a sense of ultimacy, of end. It seems that there is nothing beyond it. It is not that the universal witness is the highest. It is beyond high and low. From this silence, the revelation of all essential manifestations of Being arises in a hierarchy within the background of this the vast witnessing awareness. It contains all the levels of Being, so it exists at all the levels. Experiencing the universal witness is not a matter of ascending grades; it is rather an exit, getting out of the whole thing. It is truly the beyond, the unchanging silent background. Its main characteristic is that it is aware. In this way it is similar to the personal witness, where the personal witness seems now to have been a limited and personal manifestation of it. The personal witness is aware of the immediate environment of the location of consciousness, while the universal witness is aware, in addition, of the totality of the universe, as if from above or from afar. This perception does not include all of the details of manifestation, but rather a general perception, as if awareness has receded backward until all that exists is in front of it. Phenomenologically, the perception is of being an endless emptiness, so vast that the whole of existence is a small manifestation within it, seen in general outline as a river of images in constant flux. The awareness is aware of itself as a witnessing of everything without being involved in anything.