We are made up of something called prakriti or nature. Prakriti simply means well done. Each human being is a well done piece of art by prakriti. Sri Adi Sankaracharya in Atma Bodha explains that the body, its sense organs, the mind that expresses through the senses to grasp details from the world of names, forms and qualities outside and the intellect that directs the mind to take this and drop that are all creations of nature. They are distinctly different.
All the four parts of the human personality mentioned here constitute the material world of nature. They are specially distinct by themselves. However, I or the self or the atma is like a king. I witness sitting on the throne of my own self constantly with the movements and waves of thoughts. The body is a thought wave, the breath is another. The mind and intellect are other waves. The many feelings caused by the experiences I undergo are also waves.
These waves are constantly surfacing in awareness which is myself. This awareness is like a king. There are many people in a king’s assembly. There will be the soldiers at the doorway of the assembly hall, the ministers sitting on one side, the prince, princes and other members of the family, the court dancers, musicians, jesters, ambassadors, emissaries, spies who are waiting to give reports from other kingdoms, the people who keep blowing with fans made of peacock feather, the poets who are singing paeans to the king and many many more.
The king does not allow himself to get agitated with the different people present. He just looks around as a mere witness would do and probably sends an acknowledging smile around all the faces that are looking at him. Sakshi is the word used in Sanskrit to mean witness. Sakshath ikshate is sakshi —one who has a centric vision and is not taking any sides is a sakshi. In meditation, often having a sakshi bhava is referred to.
How do I practice this sakshi bhava and what is the use of looking around like a witness? If there is any pain or ailment in the body that throws up, observe it without comment. Is it painful, not so painful, will it get cured, when will this be over, why has it come to me? If someone hurts you with words, just observe without comment. Why did that person do this? Was what he did not right? Nothing. Just observe, “Yes this happened and I am experiencing this.” The result is, your life will become like a king’s. Nothing will disturb the peace of consciousness; not even the worst calamity or situation can affect an avid watcher of life!