Thursday, August 16, 2012
Can I Have A Witness?
I have been called to bear witness.
So have you, check in and see if this rings true.
In yoga we learn about the multidimensional self. We have a body, breath and energy, a mind, and then this interesting presence called witness consciousness, finally we have a soul or a bliss body. The part most crucial, most powerful, in yoga study and practice is cultivating the witness.
What is the witness? If you consider your thinking mind as a space through which thoughts, stories, judgments and ideas pass, then the witness is like the bigger container that holds all of that. The witness is the one who notices, "oh, there is a thought about.....". The witness notices with compassion and holds no judgment. The witness, when present, helps us to love ourselves and others in any condition, it brings us to a full presence in the now.
Yeah, I know, it sounds a bit weird, a bit foreign, maybe bordering on multiple personality, but even if you have not purposefully attuned to witness it is there, even right now. Check it out.
I have witnessed so many amazing things lately, both in others and myself.
I just came off assisting a 500 hour yoga teacher training module on transformational teaching. There were many profound experiences delivered in the ten days we spent together. As a staff member my main job was to hold safe and sacred space, to bear witness. It was beautiful to see the unfoldings and awakenings of the group and to participate, on the edge of the group. The staff was both with the participants and experiencing the curriculum, but also holding them and maintaining a vigilance for their needs.
What kept coming up over and over again in this exploration of transformation was the importance of being present. Being fully present, to feel deeply and honestly, to become open to all range of emotion and experience. Fully present we become more of who we are, love and spirit embodied. We learned how to see the worlds of inner and outer experience with fresh vision and how to return to that nonjudgmental, compassionate witness consciousness again and again. We learned that our true nature is " eternal, infinite and whole", another phrase that figured heavily into the training. If we are eternal, infinite and whole beings whose nature is love than what have we to fear? Nothing.
What is required to evolve, to transform, to become more of who we are meant to be? Loving presence.
I came home from the ten day training, had only a day to catch my breath and catch up with my family, and then I was off for a day trip to Bethlehem, Connecticut to bear witness once again. This time I was going to The Abbey of Regina Laudis to see my friend and fellow Let Your Yoga Dance teacher take her first vows as a nun.
The church was stunning, rustic with a modern twist, simple and exquisite. Breathtaking. The ceremony was in Latin, English, and Spanish. It was full of beautiful chanting and ceremony. Divine energy was palpable in the room. The priest delivered an eloquent sermon that, as he spoke it, made me smile with the deep knowing that all things are indeed connected. There is no division or separation in this world, disunity is an illusion. In his sermon the priest spoke about presence. He talked at length about how we are always becoming more of who we are. He said, "We are always experiencing ourselves and journeying to becoming more of who we are called to be. From forever, to forever."
Infinite, eternal and whole.
You can believe this or not, don't take my word for it, or anyone else. Do some yoga, sit in meditation, do the things you love and notice if witness is there. Feel deeply and fully, observe yourself without judgment, become more of you, become love. You will forget this as well and that is perfect experience too. When you realize you have gone astray or aren't quite where you want to be just call out, "Can I have a witness?" The answer will always be YES.