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There is No Separation Between the Observer and the Observed

It was a scorching hot afternoon here in New Delhi today, and I had to fetch my children from school as their transportation bus was not operational today. I haven’t been driving around New Delhi for quite some time and the idea of taking my car into the crowded streets of Delhi felt intimidating.

Nonetheless, there was no other way around it. So I drove and reached the school and had to wait approximately half an hour to find my children and bring them home. It felt like a harrowing experience because finding a parking spot in the crowded lane outside of the school was a challenge, and the weather was punishing.

The roads were crowded and there were traffic jams practically everywhere. The children were tired, hungry, and wanted to reach home fast, so that was an additional stress.

When I reached home, I felt fine, but after a while, there was this feeling of irritation that lingered on for quite some time which reminded me of the past when I had to commute to work every single day where I used to be stuck in traffic jams for hours. I used to feel trapped in my car and would often wonder if I was going to spend the rest of my life stuck like this in traffic jams.

This feeling was familiar and there was complete witnessing of anger arising within along with constant irritability. My children could sense there was something wrong, but they didn’t say anything.

I think that was wise of them for I was not in a position to give an explanation at that time. I probably wouldn’t have responded calmly. It’s wonderful to see how naturally present and intuitive children are. Whereas, we growups are mostly caught up with the monsters of the past or future fantasies.

This feeling was an old thread lurking somewhere in the shadows and was now finding expression in awareness as anger. All that needed to be done was to allow this feeling to well up the way it wanted to and play its part.

And it precisely did so. After a while, it became inconsequential and intensity was significantly reduced. There was a complete separation from the feeling as it was witnessed as an arising and its subsequent disappearance into the void from where it came.

Am I free from this feeling forever? Possibly not. Will it come up again? Possibly yes. But every time that happens, it doesn’t bother me the way it used to earlier. It does not spin a story around “me.” “Why am I angry?” “I shouldn’t be angry or irritated.” “I talk about peace, I shouldn’t ever feel anger or sadness.” Do you see how the ego-mind play tricks? It wants permanence for itself, where it itself is an impermanent arising.

In other words, there was complete acceptance of “what is” – things the way they are. There was no need to alter this feeling or convert it to something else. There was love and compassion towards it. There was a complete understanding that every feeling is an arising in consciousness that plays its part and vanishes back into the same consciousness.

Suffering happens when the ego claims ownership of the feeling as “this is my feeling” and clings to it trying to find a solution to suppress or eliminate it. The ego thinks it is separate from whatever is arising. It thinks that something needs to be done; that if it doesn’t do something urgently, it’ll die.

We are taught by society to alter our patterns and conform to what is acceptable (and reject what is unacceptable) and how a human being should or should not be. However, this creates more unrest within oneself as we begin fighting our own nature.

Our Being is inherently peaceful and nothing needs to be done to achieve peace other than let things happen the way they are happening. However, our need to be accepted and validated by others compels us to act in unnatural ways rejecting the natural flow of life.

One example is the belief that one should be a “good person.” We unconsciously follow conventional ideas of “goodness” to craft a perfect image of ourselves, however, this creates suffering because any image created by thought is incomplete and divisive. Whereas, nothing is needed to BE because “being” by itself is complete. Being is the unaffected witness of phenomenality.

It restores natural harmony and peace that is innate to all biological organisms. Rather than using cheap tricks, tips, and prescriptions to calm down irritability and anger, simply be present with the feelings (or whatever is arising) and give them your total attention.

This attention does not set preconditions and filters. It does not distort perception – It is direct! It sees things precisely the way they are. It does not attempt to change anything. When there is no resistance there is complete acceptance of whatever is arising in a given moment.

Staying with what is requires courage because our default conditioning is to fight it and turn it into “what if” or “what should or should not be.” It requires complete stillness of the mind. A highly conditioned mind cannot find peace.

In witnessing, there is no mind as there is no individual to witness anything, but regardless, things are witnessed impersonally by the awareness of Being whose nature is pure knowing. Nothing can stay permanently present in this aware space of unaffected witness for nothing is separate from it.

If there was indeed a separation between the observer and the observed, there would be duality and permanence. However, nothing ever is permanent. The anger, irritability, restlessness, envy, hate, malice, thrill, excitement, euphoria, depression, anxiety, and every other possible arising is one with the witnessing awareness.

There is no separation from the other just as there is no separation between the wave and the ocean. It arises from the ocean and merges back into the same ocean. No matter how big or intimidating the wave appears, its destiny is to merge back into the ocean whose nature is calm and peace.

Peace is the natural outcome when things are allowed to simply be the way they are!