As long as we're dipping our toes in other traditions, I'd like to point out that this is covered by Greg Goode (a "neo-Advaitist") as well as Kenneth Folk (originally Theravada, now trans-sectarian). Both say that being "the witness" is a very useful practice, but eventually the witness itself is eventually and naturally subsumed into consciousness or awareness (because, of course, there is nobody there). For my money, I'd bet that Tolle is providing this as a useful stepping stone to readers, and isn't how he operates "internally." I've had to do the same thing when sharing this idea with others.Konchog1 wrote:I still don't quite get it, but thanks.Astus wrote:If you take the position of watching your thoughts, that is still grasping at a mental state, a thought. So even if the instruction is to watch the thoughts, it means not grasping any of them, not forcing anything, not elaborating. If you try to be the watcher, that is a contrived and tiring practice. And it is also a mistake to believe that there is somebody looking at thoughts.Konchog1 wrote:What's the difference? Isn't it the same thing at first? Letting thoughts arise and waving at them as they pass?
As for "how" to watch without a watcher, therein lies the fun of Mahamudra, right? Awareness knows it knows, without anyone having to confirm it. That's why they say rigpa is self-confirming. There's no watching, but there is knowing. On that point:
I'd like to thank Astus again because he recently helped clear this up for me in another thread. I wondered why they make us go through the vipashyana of noticing that mind is an empty cognizance before starting Mahamudra practice. This quote clears up both counts. If we don't know that it's intrinsically cognizant, we feel the need to post a watchman. If we don't know it's empty, we expect there to be something there.We like to think we are the one watching the thoughts. But that is based on the assumption that otherwise we would miss them. Also, it is the idea that is the problem, the reification of the mind.
Another useful tidbit is from Tsoknyi Rinpoche, who points out that the transition from unsupported shamatha to Dzogchen is like posting a doorman as a sentry vs. there being a laser sensor there. And hell, while I'm rambling on, this quote is useful too:
It's effortless because "it" (awareness) does all the work. Leaves you jobless.“Broadly speaking, there are six types of mindfulness, but they can be condensed into two: deliberate and effortless mindfulness. The latter is Dzogchen’s extraordinary king of mindfulness -- being inseparable from rigpa -- which can be applied wherever you are, in all situations.” -- Tsoknyi RInpoche