Learning to witness your thoughts, feelings, images, sensations, and even consciousness itself is a core developmental process, no matter were you are in your growth. As infants we are unconsciously fused with oneness as a physical organism. We then become fused with our feelings and we objectify or witness our bodies. We state this as, “I am my feelings and I have a body.” This is a state of slavery to the roller coaster of your preferences: you are happy when you get what you want and avoid what your don’t want; you are unhappy when you get what you don’t want and don’t get what you want. This is an excellent definition of life as drama, and most people never outgrow it. However, in normal development there comes a time when you become fused with your thoughts and you objectify or witness your feelings as well as your body. You then think, “I am my thoughts and I have feelings and a body.” Most people never develop past this point. For instance, they believe their thoughts that they really are a self, that spirit is real, that God is real, that they have a soul, that there is reincarnation and karma. These are all thoughts about beliefs, and as long as you think you are your thoughts they will not only control who you are but limit your ability to develop. However, if a person is so fortunate as to be able to continue the developmental process (most have absolutely no incentive to do so), they think, “I am not my thoughts, including the thought that I am not my thoughts! Who I am thinks and has thoughts, just as it has feelings and a body.” You know that you have reached this space when you can routinely observe yourself thinking. Can you? Do you? The next developmental stage is to learn to observe the “I” or self that witnesses you thinking! At this point you still have a self that thinks, feels, and senses, but all of these are mere tools rather than descriptions of reality.  

The reason you might want to move to such a place is that it creates objectivity, which means freedom from suffering, even when there is genuine pain and loss. It also means less reactivity and so you will make better decisions. Finally, it means greater adaptability, in that you can “become” your body, feelings, thoughts, and self whenever you want to, and yet have the ability to stop doing so whenever you so desire. Can you do that? Learning this higher-order transpersonal skill set is a chief function of both meditation and Integral Deep Listening. Both are methodologies for objectifying every and all aspects of your experience. People who are identified with their feelings will hear this as cold and life-denying rejection. This is a projection based on their own identification with their emotions. People who are identified with their thoughts will hear this as a threat to their self-definition and their reasons to live, without which life would have no meaning. They are unable to see that life has more meaning and they will have more reasons to live when they learn to get out of their own way. Integral Deep Listening is a process of setting aside all such assumptions about what is real to the best of our ability. When we do so, we move into a space of radical freedom.

Most approaches to meditation attempt to achieve this by using some form of rarefied thoughts (affirmations and mantras), feelings (adoration, thankfulness), images (mandalas, tankas), sensations (breathing), consciousness (moving from past/future into now, lucid dreaming) to leverage detachment from our addiction to everyday, habitual thoughts, feelings, images, sensations, and consciousness.  Integral Deep Listening takes a different approach.  It has you become authentic and innate emerging potentials that already witness these realms of your experience, providing you with repeated direct exposures to perspectives that are free, balanced, and easily accessible in the course of your everyday life. You don’t have to close your eyes, retreat into a quiet space, or practice some sacred ritual. It is something you can do right here, right now, today, without going anywhere in your consciousness. .

Here is an example of an interview that builds identification with an aspect of your experience that is always constantly witnessing and meditating: the sky.

Imagine that you are sitting in meditation witnessing your thoughts, your feelings, your images, your bodily and energic sensations, your beingness.  How do you feel?

Free; at peace.

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

Clear space or clear light taking form as the sky.  It looks blue, but only in the distance and only during the day.  Actually, the sky has no color. Here is what the sky had to say:

“I encompass all things.  I have no future or past, or “now.”  There is no time or space for me. I like that I am beyond all likes and dislikes, all preferences, because I encompass all things, including all preferences.  This is a strength, because it means I am beyond the drama that preferences create.  It is not that I prefer not having preferences, because that too is a preference.  It is that I don’t do preferences.”

“I am so subtle it is very easy for me to be ignored and taken for granted when I am in fact the context which makes life possible.  This is not a weakness for me and it’s nothing I dislike, it’s simply a fact that most beings are asleep to me. People see me as an object of their awareness; from my point of view, people are objects of my awareness. I create you. I dream you.”

“From your point of view I represent or personify those parts of you that do not die, that are formless, spaceless, and are completely awake and aware. I already take any and every form.  When animals and plants breathe me I am intimately associated with every cell of their being.  Rocks contain me.  There is nowhere that I am not.  There is nothing that I am not.”

“If I were to score myself zero to ten in six core qualities associated with enlightenment, I would be a ten in all. In confidence because I can’t die.  I know no fear.  There is nothing that I am in conflict with.  I always completely accomplish being me. In compassion I am a ten because I give myself completely and selflessly to every form that wants to breath me in or make me a part of it.  I accept completely and selflessly that which any plant, animal, factory, or volcano wants to give off into me. I am a ten in wisdom because I am ageless and I experience everything from every perspective.  There is nothing I do not know that has ever been done, thought, or felt. I am a ten in acceptance because I accept myself and others completely.  Wind, tornadoes, dark, light, meteors, death, drama, nuclear explosions – I accept it all. What’s there not to be peaceful about?  I embrace all things, and so I am a ten in inner peace. I am also a ten in objectivity because I witness everything, even space, and every form.”

“When humans become me and experience their everyday lives from my perspective they enter what they would call a constant state of meditation, regardless of what they are doing, thinking, or feeling.  This is because when they experience their lives from my point of view their minds are clear and centered. A sense of clear spaciousness which is normally the background, ground, or context for their experience, just as sky plays that role for life on planet earth, becomes the foreground, figure or content of their awareness.  The contents of awareness, such as thoughts about what’s for dinner or the agenda of an upcoming meeting, are still there. However, they normally are experienced as foreground or figure in awareness, the content of thought and feeling. When you fill your awareness with me, when you become me, such thoughts and feelings still occur, but they are now in the background, or ground of awareness.  When you make being me your priority you are choosing to witness both your inner and outer worlds with equanimity and wakefulness, whether awake, dreaming, or deeply asleep.”

“If you were to trust me to live your life for you I would be fully present as myself at all times. To cultivating the witness in meditation, become me when you meditate.  This is not seeing me but becoming me.  You experience yourself and your life as me. Become me as ten in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing. Anchor yourself to a constant awareness of the sky as breath and prana as you go about your everyday life. Awareness is everything.  You can only change what you allow yourself to become aware of. To that end, you need to do things that remind you to become me, such as post pictures of me on your screensaver or bathroom mirror, or to read over this interview to remember what my perspective on your life is, or to conduct your own interview with me and to use it to remind you to become me.”
“If you want to wake up, or, as you say, become enlightened, I recommend that you practice becoming me, allowing me to run your life and make your decisions, and regularly ask me for my opinion about both important and trivial matters. I am of particular use when you are meditating, lost in drama, confused, or unsure of what to do.”

“I exist to help you wake up, to help to brake you of your addiction to the drama of your thoughts, feelings, images, sensations, and states of being.”

What has sky said? Who you really are isn’t an identity or a being or a self.  It’s not a “part” of you.  It transcends and includes all forms and all ways that you define yourself.  It doesn’t “have” the six core qualities, it transcends and includes them.  There is no birth or death, time or space or drama from sky’s perspective.  It is in a constant state of meditation and becoming it will automatically put you in a meditative state, depending upon how completely you are willing to identify with it.  This perspective is not internal to you; it witnesses you.  It does not judge you or pass judgment on what you do or do not do. Awaken to a perspective that transcends and includes all other perspectives.  It does not mean it is better or best, only that it becomes available as an option once it is learned, where before it was not an option.

While this interview implies no distinction between sky and outer space, note that an even more objective and witnessing perspective can be accessed by interviewing outer space. This distinction is not made in this interview because it is problematic enough to get people to experience their lives from the perspective of sky; outer space is formless and “causal,” without any qualities whatsoever, and therefore is a more advanced application of the same principles.

This interview is only an example.   It cannot replace and is not meant to replace your own direct contact with your own unique and personal experience.  For this process to heal, balance, and transform your own life, enhance your own ability to meditate, and build within you an ongoing meditative consciousness, you must first interview your own sky (you will find the protocol here), then practice becoming it, particularly when you meditate and as you fall asleep at night.

Please leave us your comments regarding this interview. By all means, share your own experiences with the method.  We all grow faster when we share what works and does not work for us. Here is a transcript of the original interview:

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1 Cultivating the Witness in meditation

2 Generalizing meditative consciousness to my everyday mind

3 Following the recommendations of interviewed self-aspects

Imagine that you are sitting in meditation witnessing your thoughts, your feelings, your images, your bodily and energic sensations, your beingness.  How do you feel?

Free; at peace.

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

Clear space or clear light

Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?

The sky.  The sky looks blue, but only in the distance and only during the day.  Actually, the sky has no color.

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Sky, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I encompass all things.  I have no future or past, or “now.”  There is no time or space for me.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I like that I am beyond all likes and dislikes, all preferences, because I encompass all things, including all preferences.  This is a strength, because it means I am beyond the drama that preferences create.  It is not that I prefer not having preferences, because that too is a preference.  It is that I don’t do preferences.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

I am so subtle it is very easy for me to be ignored and taken for granted when I am in fact the context which makes life possible.  This is not a weakness for me and it’s nothing I dislike, it’s simply a fact that most beings are asleep to me.

Sky, you are in this person’s life experience, correct?  They created you, right?

In a manner of speaking.  From my point of view, I created him, I dreamt him…

Sky, what aspect of this person do you represent or most closely personify?

That “part” (although I am not a thing or a “part”) that does not die, that is formless, spaceless, and is completely awake and aware.

Sky, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I already take any and every form.  When animals and plants breathe me I am intimately associated with every cell of their being.  Rocks contain me.  There is nowhere that I am not.  There is nothing that I am not.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Sky, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 10 I can’t die.  I know no fear.  There is nothing that I am in conflict with.  I always completely accomplish being me.

Compassion: 10 I give myself completely and selflessly to every form that wants to breath me in or make me a part of it.  I accept completely and selflessly that which any plant, animal, factory, or volcano wants to give off into me.

Wisdom: 10 I am ageless and I experience everything from every perspective.  There is nothing I do not know that has ever been done, thought, or felt.

Acceptance: 10 I accept myself and others completely.  Wind, tornadoes, dark, light, meteors, death, drama, nuclear explosions – I accept it all.

Inner Peace: 10 What’s there not to be peaceful about?  I embrace all things.

Witnessing: 10 I witness everything, even space, and every form.

How would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored high in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would be in a constant state of meditation, regardless of what he was doing, thinking, or feeling.  His mind would be clear and centered and that would be the foreground or figure.  The contents of his mind, which are normally the foreground or figure, would still occur, but they would be in the background, or ground.  He would witness both his inner world and his outer world with equanimity and wakefulness, whether awake, dreaming, or deeply asleep.

If you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

I would be fully present as myself at all times.

If you could live this person’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently?  If so, how?

Regarding cultivating the witness in meditation, I would have him become me when he meditates.  Not see me but become me.  Become me as a ten in each of the six core qualities.

Regarding generalizing meditative consciousness to everyday mind, I would do the same.  Anchor to a constant awareness of the sky as breath and prana.

Regarding following the recommendations of interviewed self-aspects, I would remember that awareness is everything.  That means reading them over regularly, keeping reminders of those recommendations close at hand.

What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his life?

1. Becoming me.

2. Allowing me to run his life and make his decisions.

3. Regularly asking me my opinion.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would?

When meditating, when in drama, when confused or unsure.

Why do you think that you are in this person’s life?

To help him wake up.

How is this person most likely to ignore what you are saying to them?

Addiction to the drama of his thoughts, feelings, images, sensations, and states of being.

What would you recommend that they do about that?

Follow my recommendations, above.

Joseph, what have you heard yourself say?

Who I really am isn’t an identity or a being or a self.  It’s not a “part” of me.  It transcends and includes all forms.  It doesn’t “have” the six core qualities, it transcends and includes them.  There is no birth or death, time or space or drama from this perspective.  It is in a constant state of meditation.  Becoming it will automatically put me in more or less of a meditative state, depending upon how completely I am willing to identify with it.  This perspective is not internal to me.  It witnesses me.  It does not judge me or pass judgment on what I do or do not do.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your soul, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Awaken to a perspective that transcends and includes all other perspectives.  It does not mean it is better or best, only that it becomes available as an option once it is learned, where before it was not an option.

This interview is only an example.   It cannot replace and is not meant to replace your own direct contact with your own unique and personal experience.  For this process to heal, balance, and transform your own life, enhance your own ability to meditate, and build within you an ongoing meditative consciousness, you must first interview your own sky (you will find the protocol here), then practice becoming it, particularly when you meditate and as you fall asleep at night.

Please leave us your comments regarding this interview. By all means, share your own experiences with the method.  We all grow faster when we share what works and does not work for us.