The Challenge of the Witness

The Challenge of the Witness

In most Eastern styles of meditation, we speak of “the witness”: the inner eye that sees the internal and external world. During meditation, the witness watches our thoughts and emotions pass by. It notices states and changes in the body and mind. In daily life, the witness also picks up on the states, thoughts, and feelings of those around us.

In deeper meditation, when a level of alive stillness is achieved, we are directed to turn the attention of the witness away from what is being observed and toward that which is creating the stream of awareness, that which we might call Self, Atman, God, Source, Universe or other.

I have been disturbed, many years now, by what I witness in the world–and I suppose that you, my reader, have been disturbed, as well. The various nations, philosophies and religions seem set on destructive paths.

And so, I wondered today if I could find a way to communicate some of the similarities that bind us together as one humanity, and so I looked for a metaphoric description of “the witness” in a religious text. Immediately, the Bhagavad Gita came to mind. In this sacred Hindu text, two Kingdoms, related by blood, are set to engage in war: one army on one side of a great plain, and the second army, posed to go, on the other.

It is just before dawn. The God Krishna and a revered warrior-prince, Arjuna, stand together in Arjuna’s chariot. Now Arjuna cries out to Krishna in despair: Why must there be war? Why conflict between families? 

The answer, as I recall its meaning from my reading, long ago, is this: it is none of Arjuna’s business to know the why’s and wherefores of the world, for conflict and war are inherent to the human drama, and each of us has many lives and repeat many karmas.

But Krishna also tells Arjuna: you can detach yourself from the drama. You are with me, after all, in this moment, this time, and place. Here is where your focus should rest. Witness me.

As Arjuna turns his attention away from the war and toward his friend, Krishna reveals himself in his glory and, if you are sensitive to the beauty of language, the description of the glory of Krishna is utterly transporting.

In essence, the story is this: The witness part of us is called to become still, to detach from the conflicts of the mind and emotions and from the conflicts of society and the troubles of the world.

At each moment, the witness can turn to its godly companion and be utterly transported into a universe of peace, beauty, and revelation.

I just wanted to share this thought here. It is not meant to be taken as advice or guidance. 

Religion can open a door to Spiritual Meditation

Religion can open a door to Spiritual Meditation

Religion can open a door to Spiritual Meditation

Once your nervous system has accustomed itself to the meditative experience, you will find that sitting for a few minutes, just sitting, allowing the mind to settle into the here and now, to be aware of what is–allows that adjustment of the nervous system to transpire. It feels like a deep alignment, your energy field harmonizes and adjusts, and begins to integrate into itself whatever is jarring and disruptive from your life. Just sitting, doing nothing, allows this to happen. You feel better: adjusted, aligned, and just better.

Spiritual meditation, as I have come to understand it, has another dimension to it. To come into contact with this dimension, religion is helpful. Religion imparts a sense of meaning or purpose to your life; it gives you a sense that you have something to do, for society, in service, in love and light, for others, and for God. It imparts a sense of place, your small place in a larger scheme of things. It imparts a way to understand your little self as part of a larger self, to have respect for yourself, and to be authentically humble. 

My two teachers, Joe and Appa, allowed me to feel this difference in their presence. Joe would begin the RoseWay meditation with an invocation, and then asking us to say, “In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit… and your name.” So we added our own name at the end. In the name of me. In the name of my true self and my incarnation as part of God’s Light and Plan. This set the tone for the higher meditation: but only because we had grown up in this religious thematic, and it encompassed an entire set of metaphors, symbols, and understandings that we were taught–if we were lucky–as children in an embodied way.

So it can be a start to a deeper meditation and offer a spiritual connection in a way that “just sitting” rarely does.

Perhaps more on this in later posts. 


Green is the Color of Heart Energy

Green is the Color of Heart Energy

Imagine if you have the scintillating feeling of green heart energy flowing throughout your body and mind, and can feel a calm, cleansing rush of pure life force in every cell. This is an example of the kind of experience that my clients have in spiritual hypnosis. It is a deep sense of coming back to oneself, of remembering who we really are. We get in touch with core-self, the being we are through eternity.

Once we experience our own deep aliveness, we can learn to return to this state and, with gratitude and humility, refer to it as a starting point for meditation, for connection and communication, for being in the present moment–whatever that moment holds.

Our heart energy becomes a “given” that is here for us, and that we can cultivate–though we must never take it for granted. As soon as we take it for granted, we are in an ego-state and have lost the true connection.

Cultivate grounded, embodied self-knowing with heart energy

My teacher Appa used talk about the Culture of the Heart: being in touch with who we really are at the level of the heart does not make us weak or passive but rather gives us strength to be courageous, and to integrate this state of heart energy into all aspects of our life.

Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds–at least, initially. With practice, however it is the only kind of life that makes sense and so, with time, connecting into core-self and heart-self becomes second nature.  Spiritual hypnosis is a fantastic tool on this path as it really brings this state into focus as an embodied experience. Refer to this state as a starting point for meditation, connection to self and others.