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Love Is NOT a Feeling
Perry: And this is where I become confused. The witness seems dependent on the witnessed, arising together. I can only infer the witness from the witnessed.
James: It is true there is a connection between the witness and the witnessed, but the dependence is only one-way. The emotions depend on you, the witness (awareness), but you do not depend on them. This means that you are free of them. This what is called moksa, or freedom. Think about it carefully and you will see that it is true. Have you read my book How to Attain Enlightenment? If not, you should. It will make this very clear with lots of supporting logic.
Perry: My understanding of these things is quite rudimentary. A while ago I saw that motion was stillness and stillness was motion, yet I couldn’t extrapolate from that to this idea of witness and witnessed, meaning the understanding must have been fairly weak.
James: The witness is motionless, i.e. free. The witnessed is always changing. These emotions you feel are constantly changing and sometimes you are experiencing positive emotions but you, the knower, are the always the same. You are a video camera recording the movements of your mind.
Perry: But you ask, “Who is the knower of those feelings?” and I would ask, “Who then becomes the knower of love and fullness?”
James: Awareness, you, the same one who witnesses the negative emotions. The problem is not the negative emotions, the problem is that you identify with them. Why do you identify with them and not the positive emotions you experience? Or the non-emotions? There are many times when the mind is emotion-free. Why not identify with that state of mind? Why choose to associate you, the witness, with the unhappy feelings? But the point is that whatever the feelings are they have nothing to do with you, the witness. Perry is just the witness identified with particular feelings.
If we take this one step further, who actually is Perry, the one owning the feelings? Is this Perry known to you? If he is known to you, you cannot be Perry for the same reason you cannot be the feelings. This is very simple and logical. Don’t make a mystery out of it.
Perry: Or I am mistaken in thinking they are “experiences,” am I mistaken in thinking they are like other emotions?
James: Love is not an emotion, Perry. It is your nature, pure awareness. The negative emotions are a result of rajas and tamas, an impure mind. You need to do yoga to get your mind purified, the negative feelings will go away and you will first become dispassionate, and then you will notice a very subtle feeling of love, a positive, confident sensation appearing in you.
What kind of a lifestyle do you lead? Please describe it: food, friends, entertainment, work, etc.
Perry: What makes this pain I’m feeling any different from the love I might come to feel?
James: When you know that love is not a feeling, the pain will be seen to be merely an object appearing in you, the witness, and you will not make a big story out of it like Perry is doing now. When Perry identifies with the pain, he suffers. He does not have to identify with it. He has a choice. Help him make the choice to turn his attention away from the suffering to the witness. This is the work, assuming that Perry wants freedom and his lifestyle is conducive to this kind of inquiry.