Monday, 19 October 2009
Developing the Witness
In Order to become aware of our different modes of attention it is really helpful to develop the witness. We develop the witness by observing ourselves as we participate in our daily activities. For example I watch myself (when I remember) as I brush my teeth, notice myself tasting the toothpaste, see and feel myself enjoying my morning coffee, and watch dispassionately (as possible) the thoughts and feelings that pass through my mind. This is helpful as it gives me a distance from my emotions or as I often say to myself from " Ann's emotions. This doesn't make me cold hearted (I hope) but does help me to be more discriminating in my responses. Witnessing also develops awareness so I have more choice over my mode of attention. I can choose to widen my focus and include all my senses more often. I can pause to smell and taste the space around, listen to the sounds and the silence feel all the sensations in my body, while noticing the thoughts and feelings passing through, as I do this my eyes automatically soften into peripheral vision. When all this happens spontaneously I have dropped into diffuse immersed attention the witness is gone and " I AM " . It is an interesting paradox that by learning to observe myself, the ability to lose myself and drop into the big " SELF " develops naturally.