The first question:
Does witnessing always bring joy? The moments that I call witnessing sometimes feel distant – almost cold in their neutrality. Other times it is like sprouting wings and soaring in joy over the open sea.
The state of witnessing is neither cold nor hot. It is neither happiness nor unhappiness. It is neither dark nor light. It is neither life nor death. The Upanishads say neti neti – neither this nor that.
If you feel joy you have already become identified, witnessing is gone. If you feel sad you are no longer a witness, you have forgotten witnessing, you have become involved. You are colored by your psychology of the moment. Joy, sadness – all these dualities are part of your psychology. And witnessing is a transcendence, it is not psychological.
The whole art of meditation consists of witnessing. Then what does it bring? At the most we can say it brings total peace, it simply brings eternal silence. You cannot define it as joy. The moment you define it as joy you have fallen into the world of duality again. Then you have become part of what is passing, you have started clinging to it.
The state of witnessing remains indefinable. That’s why Buddha has not used the word bliss at all, because it can give you a wrong idea – because in your mind bliss will mean happiness. That’s how you are going to translate it, to interpret it. Buddha has not used the word bliss, he has not used the word God.
The word that he has used is absolute void – shunyam. There will be nothing left, just absolute silence, absolute emptiness – but not emptiness in the English meaning of the word. Shunyam has a totally different connotation; it has been translated and can only be translated as emptiness. But emptiness is negative, emptiness means something is missing, emptiness means loneliness. Emptiness is not a life quality but a death quality.
Shunyam is not negative; it is not even positive, how can it be negative? It simply means you are alone – not lonely, but alone. You are not missing anything. You are spacious, there is great space in you, but it is not empty of something. On the contrary, it is utter plenitude. It is full of emptiness – if you allow me the expression, it is full of emptiness, but one is fulfilled.