Awakening The Witness

Through all my practices and teachings in this life (and very probably others) there is one practice that I count as one that has built my resilience and ability to overcome adversity;

Being a witness to my life through the path of meditation.

The only way the witness can be developed within is by the path of meditation.  In meditation you are taught to be a witness to your life rather than being dragged along by it.


For example: If you shut your eyes for just five minutes…where does you mind go? And what story do you find repeats itself?  It’s usually a worry, and unresolved issue, other people’s drama’s you want to save, a hunger maybe for a lover that you just cant let go of, a fear of dealing with something you don’t want to deal with, an action that you have been procrastinating over and still haven’t done it, a movie that you watched that wont leave your mind, an argument you had and it just keeps repeating itself because you know you were right and you know you should win this time…..and it goes on.

Meditation is like coming home after you have been on the road for a long while. When you get home you need to unpack all that you collected on your journey (your thoughts, opinions etc) then you need to wash everything including yourself (emptying your mind of all that stuff) and then you can relax and just appreciate that your home and see your journey from a broader perspective.

To do this however one needs to be in the place of the witness. The witness has no ego, no right and wrong and does not sit in judgement….all it does is observe.

The link between Shamanism and Buddhism (devoid of religion) is that when there is a storm or struggle from within, the view of the storm and the struggle is perceived from the eagle’s perspective.

The awareness can be akin to pulling back into the air like a great bird that flies high and has a look at the whole picture and from that place they can then zoom in and see the detail (mouse medicine) if need be or just continue to view from a space that can take all the area in its sight.

When you just simply watch your breath going in and out your nose you will find that your mind will wander off on journeys of its own design. All of a sudden you are caught up in a story of someone else that you have absorbed on an energetic level. This can show you how much you take on of other people’s issues and how you’re still holding their stories within your own psyche. Why are you carrying other people’s issues? What is your attachment to the story? Why can’t you or why don’t you want to let it go? It becomes an addiction.

Just by being in the state of witnesses these stories can dissipate naturally on their own accord and for some who are psychically sensitive you can use the technique of recapitulation (see earlier blog postings) to release energy you have taken on that does not belong to you.

During times of acute sensitivity and heartbreak I have often felt like I was drowning in overwhelm on all levels and sometimes I have looked at meditation as something I have to make an effort to do.

But that’s just resistance to caring about myself and making other things a priority rather than my own well-being.  The majority of people waste so much time each day worrying, complaining, daydreaming, watching TV, procrastinating, faffing around in chat rooms, on Facebook etc. Now don’t get me wrong I have no judgement on doing those things as I do them myself but when they take precedence over some time to just come home to yourself and reboot, fill up and nourish….then I question why you talk about being a conscious being who wants to grow spiritually when you choose not to nourish yourself with an action that takes no money and no cost to your life. Are you not worth that time?

Indeed there is proof that mediation enhances your life and as a parent, partner, lover and friend, I would think  that by feeding yourself, nourishing your spirit and quieting your mind you would have more to offer those that are dear to you and less hungry for your ego desires to be met.

You may discover that in time you will have less irritation, more patience and insight into others real needs because you have been a witness and a carer to your own. This is not a hunger for perfection this comes from a need for balance.

Like a car you need to fill yourself up with something that gives you energy to keep going. Like a human you need to drink water every day to keep you hydrated. Like an animal you need to feed yourself to survive. As a spiritual being living in a human body you need to nourish your inner being to be able to handle the adversity that life inevitably throws you.

Be aware that meditations of bliss and high vibrational contact is not what I am referring to here. I have personally found the practice of Vipassana mediation to be my lifesaver over many years. I feel the reason that it resonates with me so well is because it keeps me in awareness of my body here on earth rather than a practice that takes me out of my body into other realms. I do that enough in my life as I am sensitive and often leave my body to either do work in the astral with others or in dream work where I often come back feeling I have travelled the earth all night long. Vipassana and similar grounded meditations are nourishing for the body, mind and spirit.

The following is an excerpt from Bhante Gunaratana from the Vipassana Fellowship.


Vipassana is the oldest of Buddhist meditation practices. The method comes directly from the Sitipatthana Sutta, a discourse attributed to Buddha himself. Vipassana is a direct and gradual cultivation of mindfulness or awareness. It proceeds piece by piece over a period of years. The student’s attention is carefully directed to an intense examination of certain aspects of his own existence. The meditator is trained to notice more and more of his own flowing life experience. Vipassana is a gentle technique. But it also is very, very thorough. It is an ancient and codified system of sensitivity training, a set of exercises dedicated to becoming more and more receptive to your own life experience. It is attentive listening, total seeing and careful testing. We learn to smell acutely, to touch fully and really pay attention to what we feel. We learn to listen to our own thoughts without being caught up in them. –

I like how Bhante refers to it as a system of sensitivity training as that was what I was having the greatest difficulty with, my sensitivity. I am still and will always be a  very sensitive person but what I have gained over the years has assisted me greatly. Meditation has been the greatest gift in understanding how my mind works, what it craves and hungers for, what it runs from and what I can do to become more than just my mind and not be a slave to its demands.

If you are moving through a time of ‘acute sensitivity’ and you are under the mental health act you can ask for those that teach “Mindfulness Programs” which the mental health now approves of. This is a way you can learn the tools in bite size pieces rather than going to a retreat where it may be far too intense.

The retreats are for people who have enough insight and wellbeing to handle not having individual attention. I have been very lucky in that I came to this life with a huge sensitivity but I was also blessed to have enough insight to hold onto my own sanity enough to get me through situations others have ended up in the clinic for. Both my training in Contemporary Shamanism, working with Chinese Medicine and Buddhist meditation retreats and techniques have been my lifelines.

All spiritual teachers speak the value of meditation because they are trying to get the message across that the freedom that we are all seeking and hungry for is the freedom from the caged mind. Meditation is the tool that can open the cage door.

When you recognize that what you think is not who you are then you will identify more with the witness. The witness has no me, no I, no authority at all. It just observes your mind in process. I can tell you, those moments you get when there is no craving, no aversion…. its like drinking from a fresh water well and one feels totally hydrated. And naturally those moment often come when you’re not craving for them.

There are many meditations and many teachers. I offer you to experiment a little and find what fits you best. Osho shared a huge variety of meditations and some are great at releasing energy before you move into the more still state: Gibberish, Kundalini, Nataraj…just to name a few (again be mindful if you have any mania that these meditations may not be wise unless under guidance from someone who has knowledge of dealing with mania).

I personally find the meditation with the least dogma attached is the best and that is probably why I prefer the practice that comes straight from Siddhartha the Buddha, which is Vipassana (in mindfulness techniques you are following the same path).

Within the world of the Contemporary Shaman it is imperative that mediation is an intricate part of the pathway of learning. Without the ability to witness from a more observational perspective then it is just touring the astral without insight. Being a witness in all that you do is the path to having insight and helps you get out of your own way to see the whole journey, not just outside your front door.

If you have never practiced meditation in your life it’s a good idea to go and join a group just to get you started in the practice itself. Find a group with the minimum amount of dogma, get the practice grounded and build your witness within. If you have issues with joining groups and you are too absorbent at this time, there is a plethora of Utube post on mindfulness meditation that you can begin with and CD’s from your local library or if you are under mental health ask your case worker to acquire some for you.

After some time however you will find, like I do that when you are in what is called ‘The Buddha field’ of mediators it can be very supportive to you enriching your meditation. This will happen when your core self is stronger, take your time, this is your journey and there is no rush or pressure, just fill your self up a bit each day with the practice of being the watcher on the hill, watching your thoughts, desires, fears go by and then coming back to your breath, to the body you chose in this life and get nourished from within.








2 thoughts on “Awakening The Witness

  1. A wonderful view of the benefits, giving many reasons for the practice…….great insight ………..tenacity is key in this and i feel strongly that the more who take up meditation the faster we will bring the world back into a more harmonic state

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