Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Face of Mindfulness; The Watcher

In several earlier posts I had mentioned - either directly (The Watcher, The Dreamer, The Other, and Myself, Our Own Worst Critics) or indirectly (Tidal Pool, Mindfulness, Personal Mara) - an elusive and mysterious persona that I have experienced named The Watcher.

Having not given it much thought, its nature was recently questioned on a discussion forum, and I'm glad it was. It is something that needed to be unpackaged and better explored.

Although I could clearly recognized The Watcher when it was in ascendance, I realized I knew very little about it.

The one thing that I do know of The Watcher is that it sees clearly. It is most lucid.
Of course everything that I see and experience is through the filter or lens that is me, I don't think The Watcher suffers from delusions.

Ultimately The Watcher isn't a separate entity, or distinctly different aspect or facet. I think it is that rare state when I perfectly slip into Mindfulness.
Yes. That's a better way of viewing it. It shouldn't be personified. It's just a state of mind.

Although it manifests itself in my consciousness as a different persona, I think I personify it simply because of the alien-ness of it.

It is only a state of mind. I think, in my practice of mindfulness meditation, it is actually having 'achieved' or 'reached' that state. (I hate to use these words because it sounds as if there's a goal to reach). On hindsight now, I don't suppose it is what I expected. Maybe I was expecting or 'looking' for something else. Maybe that's why I missed it; didn't pick up on it; didn't readily identify it.

It is entering that state of Mindfulness. No, it is Mindfulness. That is The Watcher. I don't think I've recognized it as such before.

Because The Watcher doesn't judge, it doesn't see a given situation as good, or bad, or as anything at all for that matter.
Once in that state that is The Watcher, I don't believe I can suffer.

The Watcher is part of me that I often cannot connect with. It is evasive and those rare times when it is in ascendance are my only experiences with it.

It simply - and in the simplest of ways - observes. It does not analyze or interpret. It does not assess or judge. It does not see a situation as good or bad; benevolent or malevolent.

Because of that, I worry that it is incapable of compassion; and by implication, I might be incapable of compassion.

On a side note, I must make careful distinction between Pity and Compassion. Pity feels sympathy for another's plight and pain and suffering. Compassion does something about it.

Generally Pity avoids Suffering (even another's), fearing that it is somehow contagious. Compassion understands that Suffering is a choice -whereas Pain is inevitable - and holds no fear to take action.

Therefore, Pity is passive where Compassion is active.
The Watcher, by its very nature and non-judgmental state, cannot have or express compassion.

I have never experienced The Watcher taking action (although as I said earlier, I don't have a lot of experience with it).

Once I'd realized that The Watcher was a state of mindfulness rather than a distinct persona, then my concern over its lack of compassion was relieved. Other 'states' or facets of me are capable of potential growth of compassion where The Watcher is not.

Of the three features of The Dharma Entanglement, what The Watcher brings to the table is that of Dharma. (But this Dharma cannot be taken in its traditional sense. See Dharma-Ocean).

I have learned that on those rare occasions, for for ever so brief periods of time, that I have 'attained' a state of perfect Mindfulness.

Now I know it's possible to move towards that direction, however far away it may now be.

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