Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Art of Witnessing

On your path to reconnect with your HeartVoice and discover your possibilities for inspired living, you will engage many skills to support you.

One of the essential, practical tools for skillful living is witnessing.

When you "witness" an event, you observe your own or others' actions, and the context related to these actions. Some of this witnessing is within your conscious awareness, while most occurs in your subconscious mind.

You might also attend to any thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations you have. At some moment, you will probably use what you've noticed to make judgments (e.g., good/bad, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid) about yourself or others involved in the event.

As an alternative, you could intentionally continue your "mindfulness"--calm awareness--of the event without creating any judgments. In this way, you would be practicing witnessing as a life-changing skill.

When you use this skill and observe, you create "space" within yourself to pause and reflect. You enhance your listening to yourself and others. You decrease your tendency to react in situations, and improve the likelihood of your saying and doing what you intend.

In addition, you will experience more peace of mind, easy acceptance, creative expression, and health benefits when you embrace this skill.

How can you develop the art of witnessing?

Play with this simple In Your Palm exercise to deliberately cultivate witnessing:
  • Sit comfortably, feet resting on the floor.
  • Take several deep breaths--exhale and inhale smoothly.
  • Let go of any tension or concerns for this period of time, and allow your body and mind to relax . . .
  • Just be aware of your breath . . .
  • Now, place one hand in your lap, palm facing up.
  • Look at your hand, and softly place some of your attention in the middle of your palm.
  • Feel your hand . . . Take your time . . .
  • After several breaths, close your eyes and continue to be aware of your palm.
  • Now witness whatever happens . . . any thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, images . . . just allow these experiences to be as they are without making any judgments.
  • Continue witnessing . . .
  • After a while, move your attention back to your breath, exhaling and inhaling, as you witness . . .
  • Then, let go of of the attention on your breath.
  • Just let yourself rest and relax . . .
  • To end the session, rub your hands together, and place your palms over your closed eyes. Slowly remove your palms, and gradually open your eyes into your hands, then into the room, feeling calm and refreshed.
Once you have a sense of this exercise, you can experiment with such variations as extending the time, moving your attention to other parts of your body, and so on. You can even practice In Your Palm with your eyes open in the company of other people!

As you strengthen your practice of witnessing, you will be opening an important doorway into new possibilities for your life.

Enjoy the freedom of witnessing!

Love and Peace,

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