You Are Not the Thinker/Doer: A Dialogue


In my teachings, the journey of self-inquiry goes through four stages of deconstruction. At the end of stage one, the thinker is deconstructed, at the end of stage two, the doer/experiencer is deconstructed, at the end of stage three, the witness is deconstructed, and at stage four complete subject-object duality is deconstructed.

This particular dialogue is happening with a student who is at stage two in his journey of self-inquiry. Therefore, my attempt with him is to help him deconstruct the last stages of the thinker and the doer. In my teachings, I use the words observer/experiencer, Witness and Awareness in very specific ways as they refer to different ontological categories. In this dialogue, I frequently shift back and forth between these words very consciously. This is because, as a teacher, my main aim is to help deconstruct false identities in the seeker. And since these identities are superimposed on one another, I invoke the particular identity, I require for the deconstruction, I am attempting. The student will be mostly unaware of the shifts that I am making, but his mind will intuitively grasp some amount of deconstruction, I am intending, which will help in loosening his knot of perception, resulting in insight. And this process is very clearly demonstrated in this dialogue, where the student ends on a note of having understood something quite profound.


Student– Dear Anurag ji. I want to share something. On and around the day, I was having a discussion on morality in the WhatsApp group, there happened a shift/flip in the perspective, in that, I could see and perceive everything as mental jargon such as

  1. Morality and immorality are nothing but thoughts. Likes and dislikes nothing but thought
    Seeking and becoming realized is also nothing but a thought
  2. God is nothing but a thought
  3. What I am writing now is also thought. Happiness and Sorrow is a thoughts of. Every scripture is nothing but a thought.

As soon as I close my eyes And sit straight, I feel the energy rising from my lower body to the head and then above the head, once it reaches there then thought movement becomes apparent and the slightest of thought is also perceived as a disturbance in the tranquility.

I just want to be in that zone all the time and do not even want to seek leave about mundane activities…

I am not sure what is this happening!
Quiet confused ….

Anurag– Your points are absolutely correct. But you have to now deepen your understanding to know that thoughts are sensations and every phenomenon is a sensation. And by the way, is not your confusion also thought?!

Student– Yes, true!

Anurag– Confusion, and clarity both are thoughts…..

Student– If I have to make a decision then thought of both pros and cons start appearing and I can see both and it’s hard to take any decision or come to a point or conclusion.
Then I realize the futility of this thought mechanism at least in my case.
When I am in the zone, these waves of thoughts will settle down gradually and I do not have a desire to do anything. But as soon as I am out of that zone, there is still no desire to do anything but the thought chatter starts again …..

Then the thought appears what the hell is going on ….And then the thought appears to text you.

Anurag– Is there really a “decision taker” or a “decision-making thought that appears”?

Student– There is no decision taker. I see a constant back and forth swirling of thoughts!
As I said when I am out of the zone the internal compulsion and external demand start asking, ok what to do? How to do it? What’s ur decision ?…

Anurag– So are decisions taken or is it that decision-making thoughts appear?

Student– Decision making thoughts appear

Anurag– The “zone” is just another object of perception. So no point clinging to it. Treat it like any other object of perception. Yes. Decision-making thoughts appear.

Student- OK.

Anurag– The journey of Advaita is to help you negate all objects and take you to the ultimate subject.
So we negate the thinker by realizing it just like any other thought.
And so the thinker too, like thought is negated as an object of perception. Bring your focus on “who is aware of all objects of perception”? Keep negating all objects as unreal.

Student– What to do or how to deal with the chatter/thoughts of decision making or indecisiveness and desirelessness to do anything? Ok.

Anurag– You are none of them. You are the changeless awareness of all these states….So you simply abide as the observer to all these states… You are already the changeless awareness that observes all these states. You don’t have to become that. But just disidentify with objects and let them do what they have to do. You don’t make your heartbeat and in the same way, you don’t do your thoughts…. they happen automatically.
As the passive observer, you are already free from all the chatter…… the problem is that you are identified with the chatter rather than the observer.

Student– Ok. How the action happens?

Anurag– How do the heartbeat and the food get digested?
And million other processes/actions take place in your body?
Do you think and do them?

Student– No.

Anurag– So, the mind is a machine just like the body. It’s all happening on its own.
Decisions are being taken on their own but you in ignorance feel that there is a decision-maker…

Student– So by that means, the concept of “free will “ is also an automatic process? And actually, there is nothing like “ free “ in terms of Will! Or actually, there is no “will”.

Anurag– There is no “will” ultimately. The concept arises only when you consider yourself a doer. As an observer is there any need for a concept of will?
Awareness is actionless…..
It’s the one that lights all-action….
And you are that….. the light that sees all actions taking place.

Student– What a paradox:
When I say that I should do this and this to gain self-knowledge or make such and such adjustments in life! But all this is happening automatically, even you teaching Advaita !!
Is that correct?

Anurag– Yes
It’s like a dream taking place automatically, and then you wake up from that whole dream. You are not trying to make the dream better. The actions shall continue to happen, but you would be identified as their Witness rather than as the thinker/doer/experiencer.

Student– Profound !!!!
Thanks for this Dialogue straight from the heart.
Very helpful

Anurag– Most welcome Neeraj.

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