TETHOS – ORIGIN: from Middle French methode, from Latin methodus, “way of teaching or going,” from Greek methodus, “scientific inquiry, method of inquiry,” originally “pursuit, following after,” from meta- “after,” “a traveling, way.”
Meditation requires a method to go into a spaceless whole. Love doesn’t require any method because it involves total surrender to the whole and in a sense is a methodless approach. The method of meditation isn’t the meditation. However, a meditation method can be tremendously helpful in achieving a meditative state.
In order to grow through meditation, understanding must come to you as a feeling from the heart, not as a mental process from the mind. When understanding is derived from the mind, it’s superficial and only scratches the surface. Real understanding, which is love, lies hidden in the interval between thoughts. It’s beyond the thinking process, a higher knowing in the heart.
The differences between the different methods of meditation lie in non-essential components. The methods given by masters from different ages, different philosophies, might be different, but essentially all methods are about awareness. Only awareness leads to What Is.
Meditation methods are good only if they are in tune with you as an individual—if they are enjoyable, so that there is harmony between you and the method. Enjoy the method with your full heart, and go into it as deeply as you can. Drop the method when the joy disappears. If you practice a certain method and don’t find joy in it anymore, then the method isn’t giving you anything. It becomes your attachment and addiction. Be aware of this habit and drop the method.
If you decide to follow the path of meditation, choose a method that brings excitement and joy. Certain meditation methods can help you reach a certain state. When you reach that state, move on to another method. Be in tune with One-Self. You have to be aware that a method can’t lead you to the end; it’s only a passage on your journey toward eternity.
Meditation methods consist of “doing,” whereas meditation is about “non-doing.” Effort carries tension and determination, and these are obstacles to change. At the beginning, a meditation method will require a certain amount of effort. However, over time, this “doing” sensation needs to disappear. Meditation then becomes an effortless and spontaneous state of “non-doing.” Inner transformation can only occur through unconditional acceptance. This transformation will happen on its own.
Love isn’t a technique. Love is a methodless approach to life. It isn’t about traveling through the mind in order to attain the state of no-mind. It’s an intimate love relation with eternity in this moment, now.
Meditative love is one feeling of two hearts: your heart and the divine heart beating with the same rhythm.
The point of the middle point is to be in meditative love—methodless, nontechnical, non-doing. Through effort, you attain effortless being. Lao Tzu says, “Open now,” meaning give up the search, give up the method. Use the method with awareness and drop it immediately. If for some reason you aren’t able to do that, you can try again, and again. In trying, be aware that you can become imprisoned in the method. It can become your addiction. In trying to love, you are trying to fulfill your ego. Love and meditation just happen. There’s no destination. You are the end point of your beginning.
Don’t journey, don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, and don’t demand. Just be where you are at this moment, relaxed and doing nothing. Wherever you are, you are in the moment, so just relax. If you relax in the moment, you are as you are. If you relax, you start vibrating with What Is. This is a methodless method, the middle point.
Ultimate Participation is the Middle Point
Ultimate participation is a marriage between meditation and love. It is getting deeply, intimately involved in the ultimate existence of wholeness, which is a compassionate act of commitment, involvement, and participation with watchfulness.
Ultimate participation is the conscious ability to dissolve into the unknowable. The unknowable is the pure energy of compassion. In compassion, you dissolve into the mystery of divine love. Divine love can only flow from the whole to the whole. Only when you melt into the whole can the whole melt into you—like a drop of the ocean dropping into the ocean, and the ocean dropping into the drop.
Ordinary participation gives life to the mind and its thoughts, beliefs, emotions, behaviors, and desires. When you don’t participate with the mind, you are immediately engaged in ultimate participation. When you don’t participate with the mind, the mind simply dissolves in emptiness, and you dissolve in utter aloneness. You become the whole.
First and Second Perception
In most English dictionaries, perception means the basic component in the formation of a concept, the representation of what is perceived. Perceptual experience is a way of conceiving something or becoming aware of something via the senses.
For example, consider a physical symptom. The first and correct perception of a symptom is awareness of the experience. In the case of common head pain, you experience imbalance in your head, or what people generally refer as a “headache.” You become conscious of this “headache,” which is something that isn’t real but is just an experience of certain neuro connections in your brain talking to your consciousness via the experience, nothing else. You don’t define it or judge the experience as positive or negative. You don’t attach yourself to the experience, but just witness it. This is the correct way of seeing.
The second perception arises incredibly quickly, almost instant, “I have a headache,” “I am in pain,” or “I don’t like this headache.” This perception has absolutely no relation to the experience itself. It’s a discrimination, such as “like or dislike” and “beautiful or ugly.” This discrimination arises from within your own mind.
As long as you remain aware of the first perception and stay in it with awareness, you will go through the experience without attachment to it. If you lose awareness and yield to the second perception, so that you identify with the experience, you are discriminating with your mind.
Consider a woman or a man passing by you. With the first perception, you are simply aware of another being passing by. This is what I call the right way of seeing, using the mind to notice the passing phenomenon. But when thoughts arise such as “beautifully/ugly, like/dislike, want/don’t want,” you have become trapped in the second perception and are being used by your mind.
Awareness involves simply the passing of another being. But when the mind interferes, the relation of yourself to a passing being is replaced with a relationship. Thoughts have nothing to do with the passing phenomenon in itself. Thoughts about the passing phenomenon involve your own mind and its need to possess and compensate. In this ego-self interaction, you become unconscious. Coming from the mind, you’ll be unable to recognize oneness in another being but will be lost in your own conditioning.
Human beings have five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. Plus we have a sixth function—thinking. Thinking isn’t an actual physical sense, but is the master of the five bodily senses. The five senses, together with this sixth function, are mysterious. No matter how complicated or easy a thing may be, it’s impossible to control these senses, or even to mistakenly activate them. For instance, we say, “I accidentally saw you.” There’s no center in human beings that gives the order to “hide this,” “see this,” or “think this.” So to allow these six functions to be as they are is a great spiritual attribute.
The whole point of the middle point is to entrust One-Self to in-formation coming from the senses, along with thoughts as they arise, without being moved by what you see or think. The whole point is not to be attached to the second perception and be bothered in any way by these things.
The Methodless Method of Watchfulness
Watchfulness is the fullness of witnessing. To be in watchfulness is to be free of judgment, evaluation, conclusions, choices, attachments, identifications, definitions, and likes or dislikes. Everything is changing, moving, expanding, and transforming. Your images, thoughts, impressions, motives, desires, and dreams are all moving around, vibrating in every possible direction. If you can observe this vibrating motion without attachment, you are in the state of witnessing.
Watchfulness is the greatest spiritual key to enlightenment. The deeper your watchfulness becomes, the deeper your connection with your awareness becomes.
Watchfulness involves the present moment right now and right here. Whether you are at work, at home, shopping, or on vacation, you carry this moment with you. Whatever you are “doing,” it’s your mind that’s “doing” it, not you. Your mind is your “doing,” and every “doing” is always external and bombarded by thousands and thousands of sensual distractions. The present moment, the now, contains your “being.” This is always internal and filled with undisturbed stillness and calmness. Non-temporal, it’s also non-local, non-spatial, and flowing. It is witnessing watchfulness.
Watch with awareness the entirety of a situation. Whatever is happening, or whatever you are doing, just be alert, desireless, and in undistracted spaceless silence. Don’t become preoccupied with explanations and expectations. Nobody can predict outcomes, since ultimately outcomes are static and can’t exist. Don’t participate in your observations. Through watchfulness, you will automatically go beyond polarities and be in the state of witnessing. If you spread watchfulness throughout your day, a new consciousness will arise, and the whole of existence will rejoice.
Watch every act you do, every breath you take, every thought that passes through your mind, every emotion that surfaces out of your darkness, every reaction to things, every desire that takes possession of you, every gesture your body unconsciously creates—walking, talking, eating. Move in your life continuously watchful. Watch external passing phenomena, anything that comes and goes. Create the opportunity for everything to be watched. The whole point is not to get attached to what you are watching.
If you forget to be watchful, don’t become miserable or feel guilty. Remember, it’s natural. The moment you remember, once again watch. When you watch, clarity arises; and out of your clarity, gracefulness arises. With watchfulness, energy isn’t going to the mind and its thoughts. The mind is becoming less stable, less concrete, and more transparent. As thoughts start disappearing, clarity arises. The mind becomes no-mind, a mirror of what Is.
Witnessing involves balancing the extremes, or dualities, of life. In this balance you will find true awareness because your awareness exists in the now. Continue watching even when your body is dying. Watch the death of your body. When your body dissolves in the earth, the witness will become part of the universal whole.
It’s All About Witnessing
To be in a state of wholeness, you need to witness everything you are thinking, feeling, and doing—without identifying with anything. When you understand that “what I’m observing isn’t me,” thoughts disappear and only witnessing remains.
Let’s say that sadness or anger are passing through your experience. There’s no need to identify with the sadness or anger—no need to say, “I am sad” or “I am angry.” You can experience the energy of anger, but there is no way for you to be sad or angry. You are always in your center, an ultimate witness.
When you witness thoughts, the thoughts disperse. The mirror just reflects. When there is nothing to watch, nothing to witness anymore, then the real transformation will happen. The witnessing energy turns upon itself, witnessing the witness.
Only after all objects and subjects are removed—only when there is nothing to prevent it, when there is no object to object and subject to subject to your witnessing—then the witness comes around to the source, which is itself. Just remain watchful, witnessing everything that’s passing by. With witnessing, you are finding the inside mirror. Things come, are reflected, and move on. The mirror remains empty, uncontaminated by the reflection. The inner fact is that whatever is passing over you isn’t you. You are the ultimate witness reflecting What Is.
What’s the Difference Between Awareness and Witnessing?
Awareness is beyond two dualistic realities, requiring detachment from the mind’s objective and subjective activities. It’s the unity of subjectivity and objectivity in a single unit: the oneness. Awareness is the total act of now in oneness.
In awareness, there’s no movement—no doing and no polar opposites. Awareness is wakefulness, the transcendence of duality. Wakefulness is the way to life witnessing nothing, because there’s nothing to witness and no one who is witnessing. Neither is there anyone who is being witnessed. So, awareness involves the transcendence of witnessing. It’s the unity of subjective and objective consciousness.
In watchfulness, there’s a doer. You have to use the mind to go beyond the mind, and you need to be in the conscious act of now. In unconsciousness, the act of now becomes the mind’s unconscious activities, with thoughts shifting and conflicting in polar opposites—that is, between subjective and objective realities, positive and negative thinking, in the illusory time-space of the past and future.
In watchfulness, reality splits between watching objectively and watching subjectively. Through witnessing, you build a bridge between the subject and the object of your watching, and consequently you are in relation with subjective and objective watchfulness. Through the unity of two watchfulnesses, you come into witnessing; and through witnessing the witness, you come into your awareness. The bonding of two into the one can only be done through the choiceless awareness of witnessing. This is the meeting between love and meditation at the middle point.
Polar opposites don’t oppose or conflict with each other. Only opposite thoughts are in conflict with each other. Whatever thought is in your mind, the opposite thought follows like a shadow.
Thoughts divide because they contain the opposites within them. Excitement contains misery, love contains hatred, success contains failure, sanity contains insanity, liking contains disliking. Thoughts are a thick layer of discontent to keep you disconnected from existence. This separation is your unconsciousness.
In existence, the apparent opposites are joined together, which means they are complimentary. Existence exists through the harmony of duality. The secret key to enlightenment is the balance, which is found in choiceless, desireless awareness.
Choiceless awareness is creative discontent, which values the insecurity of the unknown. Creative discontent is sensitive intelligence—which isn’t the same as the mind’s discontent, since the mind can’t be creative. The mind’s discontent is based on desire, which involves the hope of contentment in the projection of a better future. It’s discontented with what is—discontented with the present moment, now.
The path of mental discontent is simple, convenient, and comfortable. You just have to say “yes” to the social consensus imprinted in your mind full of desires. You needn’t do anything. Thoughts will do everything for you. You have only to say “yes” to others, to the authorities of the state, the church, and so on.
If you become conscious in unconsciousness, you experience creative discontent from non-existence. Now you become the witness, with choiceless awareness, uniting the opposites in transcendence.
Witnessing Is Self-Remembering
Self-remembering is a methodless method that leads toward unity with the whole. When all your unconscious activities become the conscious act of now, and all your doing has been replaced with non-doing, you remember One-Self and have attained awareness. In awareness, you aren’t aware of your awareness. To be aware of your awareness, distance is needed. The Buddha calls self-remembering “right mindfulness.” Krishnamurti calls it “choiceless consciousness.” The Upanishads call it “watchfulness.” The names are different, but they all mean the same thing.
By remembering the self, a paradox arises. The self disappears, while remembering stays. The self and remembering can’t exist together. In the same way, self-consciousness (which is of the mind), self, self-existence, and consciousness can’t be together. In the mind, there is no real existence—only the self, the ego.
Consciousness is always conscious of something, and there is always someone who is conscious. The mind is the source of all duality, all separation, and all division between subject and object, activity or inactivity, consciousness or unconsciousness.
In order to attain ultimate awareness, you have to remain in the state of witnessing every moment of the now. You have to act in the now with awareness. The now moment is nothingness, so you have to act as nothingness, doing nothing, with no movements, just witnessing in stillness.
So consciousness is a quality of the mind. Witnessing is the tool of consciousness, used to disconnect itself from the mind and reconnect with ultimate awareness. This ultimate awareness is the transcendence of consciousness—spaceless space beyond the mind.
We can’t talk about consciousness and unconsciousness as two separate states, but more like in degrees: you can be more or less conscious. There’s no such a thing as darkness, only different degrees of light. Through witnessing, you increase your light within.
When your consciousness becomes all that is, and there are no more unconscious traces in your being, no more conscious witnessing of objects and subjects, so that two realities becomes one reality, you become pure light. Your old mind is no more, but is clear of all thoughts. All vibrations in the mind become only one conscious vibration, so that there’s nothing to witness anymore. Consciousness turns its total attention to itself, witnessing one vibration—that of the witness.
The more you become conscious, the more you come to be a witness. So consciousness is a method to achieve witnessing, and witnessing is a method to achieve awareness.
The mind itself becomes spaceless no-mind, a hollow bamboo. You aren’t attached to the mind anymore, but are in detachment. You become free and attain nothingness. Only through transcendence of the mind do you come to nothingness. Nothingness can never become an object of thoughts. When one is nothingness, there is nothing other than nothingness. One isn’t even aware of nothingness. There’s no witness to witness nothing.
Being nothingness, one is simply alert. Alertness goes beyond witnessing. In witnessing, there is slight tension, a slight effort, because you are witnessing movement.
The way of the mind is the way from one extreme to another. The mind is either rightist or leftist, either capitalist or socialist, either conservative or democratic; it never stops in the middle. Democrats hate liberals; and while hating liberals, they build momentum to become the liberals at some point.
Just contemplate this: the USA started out as a capitalist society and is turning into a socialist society. Russia started out as a socialist society and has ended up as a capitalist society. The movement from one extreme to the other extreme is fascism. For example, the idea of patriotism is the foundation of fascism.
There’s no difference between patriotism, fundamentalism, socialism, communism, capitalism, nationalism, skepticism, and atheism, because all are based on ideology. In ideology, individuals don’t exist, only groups, nations, corporations, and collectives. Ideology is part of the conditioned, conceptual mind, conditioning other minds.
“Isms” are accepted ideologies all over the world, with different formulations, but with the same rule: create conflict and divide consciousness. One part becomes superior, while the other part becomes inferior; one part is holy, and the other a sinner. You are right and others are wrong.
Extremes create tension. The tension is in the movement between pleasure and pain, as the mind chooses one or the other. The moment you stop choosing between heaven and hell, you are with your consciousness—and you are immediately at the middle point.
Jesus says, “Truth liberates.” But how does one attain truth and be liberated? Witnessing involves emptying your mind of all ideologies, “isms,” beliefs, concepts, and thoughts. Only in emptiness is truth reflected.
When you meditate, love grows, becoming compassion. When you love, meditation deepens and you share compassion. If you follow the path of meditation, let love be the criterion. If you follow the path of love, let meditation be the criterion. If you follow the middle point, let compassion be the criterion. When love becomes the center of your meditation, and your meditation becomes a touchstone of your love, you have come home. You are in the middle point of existence.
Witnessing Is Participation in Life with Alertness
To be in a state of watchfulness is to be in action through inaction. It’s to be totally present in life with compassion. Witnessing is all about allowing life to just be in the “being.” It’s to be in the world, but not of it. As you embrace existence with your awareness, your awareness is in turn embraced.
Allowing your life to breathe gently with ease, so that you live in a relaxed way, enables your consciousness to become harmonious. Clearing the mind of clutter allows your consciousness to become clear. Opening your heart to All-That-Is allows your being to become accepted and loved by existence.
By accepting the world, your consciousness embraces the whole. Where there’s no consciousness, there’s bound to be psychological and pathological suppression, inhibition, and defeat. If there’s no consciousness in your being, there’s repression within the mind, which makes being impossible.
Every expression of life is a perfect opportunity to be a witness. However, only an alert witness can move the energy of repression to expression. With the energy of expression, you open the portal of the now so that consciousness can awaken. Don’t run away from opportunities, even if they present themselves as problems, illness, or difficulties. They are just pointers to the real.
Express everything you are experiencing with your awareness. Expression means allowing everything to go through the mind, but bringing awareness to it, being attentive.
Remain in your suffering, but do not be your suffering. Watch! Every situation presents you with a challenge. Life is possible only through challenges. Life is possible only when you embrace both polarities. Life is possible only when you have both extremes together. When you bring both sadness and happiness together with your awareness, life will happen to you. When you bring pleasure and pain, good and bad together as if they were nothing, then you can realize your potential for being.
You can plunge into sleep and become a doer, a victim of illusions; or you can become a witness, living life fully and blissfully. There are infinite possibilities in each moment, but only one opportunity. This moment now is the greatest adventure that you can take, but only those who are courageous become the witness.
Transcripts – A collection of Spontaneous Discourses on The Middle Point, Tantra, Yoga, Yantra, Mantra, Zen…, to disciples and friends in Port Coquitlam, Toronto, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.