Saturday, August 28, 2010

being a witness

Another theme I often use in yoga classes is the idea of being a witness...allowing ourselves to just observe our thoughts, our sensations, our reactions without any sort of judgment or attachment or resistance. This can be a difficult task, but I have found the more I open to the idea of witnessing myself, the more I am able to simply witness others. Try it during your next yoga class or if you don't practice yoga, just give it a try in your daily life for a day or two. Notice how this small, yet powerful, shift in awareness makes you feel.

Here's a bit more on the idea of letting go of judgment and simply becoming a witness from Jon Kabat-Zinn's book Wherever You Go, There You Are. (Side note: I am LOVING this book! Not sure why I haven't read it before now.)

"Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as 'good' or 'bad.' This would be a true stillness, a true liberation.

Meditation means cultivating a non-judging attitude toward what comes up in the mind, come what may. Without it, you are not practicing meditation. That doesn't mean judging won't be going on. Of course it will, because it is the very nature of the mind to compare and judge and evaluate. When it occurs we don't try to stop it or ignore it, any more than we would try to stop any other thoughts that might come through our mind.

The tack we take in meditation is simply to witness whatever comes up in the mind or the body and to recognize it without condemning it or pursuing it, knowing that our judgments are unavoidable and necessarily limiting thoughts about experience. What we are interested in in meditation is direct contact with the experience itself--whether it is of an inbreath, an outbreath, a sensation of feeling, a sound, an impulse, a thought, a perception, or a judgment. And we remain attentive to the possibility of getting caught up in judging the judging itself, or in the labeling some judgments good and others bad." --Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have found the moments I able to truly become a witness, I feel so present and alive and connected. It is divine. Give it a try.


1 comment:

Laura said...

I have this book. I read it a loooong time ago and loved it. I am going to get it off my bookshelf and read it again. Happy to have found your blog.