In order to investigate the movement of the vrttis, the patterning of consciousness, it was necessary to access witnessing consciousness. For me Krishnamurti’s books and recordings were very helpful in this. With practice I became proficient in following his stream of thought and went with him as he took the mind through the exercise of becoming completely aware of the mechanics of its own movement.
The limitations of the nature of thought became clear as Krishnamurti took me to the brink of thought’s world and gave me an exhilarating glimpse of the world beyond or before thought. I call these ‘jumping-off’ points. “The observer is the observed”, or the variation: “The thinker and the thought are one” are some examples. These meditations enabled me to go beyond the realm of the intellect in my investigation.
In this process I began to become aware that the witnessing quality of consciousness is always active. I realized that the seer, seeing and the seen are indeed three aspects of the One Existence or the Self, as Ramana calls it. Ramana words it like this: “From It (the Source) a single vasana (seed tendency) starts and expands as the experiencer (the “I”) the experience and the experienced (the world)”. I was now able to better fathom the experiences I had at 18 with psychotropic substances that I had not been able to digest at the time they occurred.
I realized that the seeing or witnessing principle is a basic fact of the way consciousness works and that it is impersonal per default. It is only through the magic of focusing as an “individual” that it takes on a personal perspective. I than began to be able to switch from the personal to the supra-personal at will. The personal perspective was still available as one ‘viewing mode’ but I was able to be simultaneously in the witnessing perspective and see myself with more detachment. This had the ‘side-effect’ of giving me relief from the constant exclusive identification with the thoughts, behavior and actions of the limited individual form of Tomas.
In this quality of awareness, I was able to see myself in my experiences while they were occuring and thus investigate the movements of the vrttis in myself in real-time. I was the scientist observing my mind as the object of my research.