I was getting a bit stuck on the "watching without a watcher" thing, I was still feeling there can't really be watching without a watcher. In a way, I felt that while I wasn't doing the thinking or acting or feeling, I was the one who perceived it and I was able to direct consciousness/attention to different thoughts and feelings and thus have an effect on life. I tried to convince myself that there doesn't have to be a watcher and it made logical sense to a point, but I don't think I had really gotten it.You mentioned there's still some doubt there. Tell me more about it, and we can examine it until it disappears.
This morning I realized that the process of watching something means that this something is perceived in the mind triggering visual images, thoughts, emotions, and all that is highlighted by consciousness.
Yesterday I was thinking - how can something be watched without somewhere to register, I mean perception means that something registers somewhere else?
Well it does - it registers in the mind and is highlighted by consciousness. So it could be said in a way that consciousness and the mind are the watcher, but that would imply that they are separate from the thing being watched, which is impossible as it has a direct and tangible effect on them. And the physical processes necessary for watching to occur have a direct and tangible effect on the thing being watched. But I digress.
The whole concept of watching as typically understood is a very abstract one and I think has no basis in reality at all - an experience can't be watched as the watching is part of the experience or rather it IS the experience. It can't be had as that's the same thing. It can't be experienced. It can just be.
And the most important part - consciousness doesn't need me. None of it does. It seems that consciousness is, in a way, the aspect of life, of experience, that goes the deepest. I read something (I think on your blog) along the lines of "The witness is the last stand of the ego." I think it's true and this is why. Once you see that consciousness is just consciousness and not at all the thing that the story of "You" points to, you realize you've looked everywhere and you didn't find this person. The story of you was pointing to an assumption.
And it's all still here. The desires, the fears, the thoughts, even the person or self. The only thing that seems to be missing is the assumption that it's more than a mental construct.
And the single experience that exists now, constantly flowing and changing, life, is the interplay of everything there is - body, consciousness, mind, thoughts, memories, mental constructs like self, emotions, etc. and it makes sense in a way to say "I am all of that" but at the same time there's no single part of this that the idea of I points to, no single part of this that's at the center of the I-story, so it is also true to say "I am none of that." and since "that" is all there is - "I am not."
When you said "child" I felt restricted in the words I could use and figured maybe it doesn't take much for someone who is not yet as burdened by the concepts we've been masturbating with in our heads for years. It's a good question, though, how would you explain this to a child?Nice start, but very brief. Can you elaborate? Imagine I'm either a child, or just someone who has never heard about any of this stuff before. Can you give me a simple, yet detailed explanation?
Anyway, here's how I would explain this to someone who's never heard of it before. When you look at your direct experience at this moment, all the stuff that comes in through your senses and add to that all the internal, mental stuff like thoughts and emotions - that covers all that you can perceive.
That's obviously not you, that's what you perceive. And a lot of that internal stuff is very strongly connected to the person you think you are. There's values, character traits, expressions you use, memories, desires, dreams, fears, etc. And when you say "This is who I am" what you mean is "This is what defines me", because you do realize that you're not any of those memories or dreams or all of that and that what they basically do is they paint the image of you, of your person.
But have you ever checked if the person in that image actually exists? The obvious answer is "Of course it exists, that's me." That's an assumption. It seems pretty fucking obvious, of course, but that doesn't make it any less of an assumption. There was a time when it was pretty fucking obvious that the earth was at the center of the universe, until someone dared question that and turned out to be right. The guy was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. You would take no such risk in questioning your assumption. If it's true it will stand the test of anything you might throw at it. But if it's wrong that would have pretty far-reaching consequences. The only thing you have to lose if it's wrong is a belief, an assumption.
To even consider this seriously without brushing it aside as new-age-spiritual-crap (like which, I admit, it can easily sound), you need an open mind, courage and a strong desire for truth, which, I would assume, you think of yourself as having.
What lies behind the answer is mental freedom, plain and simple. You can even look at this economically - there's nothing of value to lose (unless you honestly value the unquestioned assumptions you hold) and there may be a lot to gain.
Do you care?