We relax and release back into our seat of consciousness, and witness the part of us who is complaining about life not being the way we want it to be. We practice letting go of smaller daily irritations to build the resilience and strength we need to handle tougher situations in life. How do we do that? This is where the objective witness comes in.

Witnessing is something we’re familiar with in meditation. We train ourselves to focus on stillness and not follow the movement of thought. When we close our eyes or soften our gaze, we find we still have an astounding amount of thought activity. We witness for awhile, then see we’ve followed a train of thought, and we come back, hopefully with patience and kindness. This is a common habit in most people’s minds.

Michael has a radical practical suggestion for working with daily life. Don’t interact with the mind, or do anything. The mind is creating thoughts and you are aware of them. Witness consciousness is just seeing what’s in front of you and noticing your responses and thoughts about it.

We respond to what the eyes see with thoughts, feelings, sensations, and emotions, and much of this is from our unconscious mind. If thoughts bother us, we leave the seat of objective observation and try to change them. When we get the urge to willfully do something about thoughts, we could relax instead. He is confident that we are capable of not engaging. We’ve all enjoyed that freedom, and we’ve all been hooked.

To stay as a witness, we need to remain aware that we are here in this present moment witnessing what is arising. Our hypervigilant nervous system gets in our way. Traumatic memory tends to flash us back into the past. We ruminate about an interaction with someone that feels unfinished. When we feel anxious, we may be drawn into a trance of catastrophic thinking to try to predict the best way to keep ourselves safe. The tools here are helpful in this process. Emergency Practices.

Witnessing is letting thoughts be as they are, and simply be aware that we are aware of them. We know that trying to get rid of inner disturbances makes it worse, yet we persist in trying to protect ourselves from an inner disturbance by getting rid of it. We worked with this last week – wanting others to change their driving habits (or most other things) leaves us frustrated and powerless.

Instead of trying to get the inner disturbance itself to relax or change, we can relax. The one who notices the disturbance is not the disturbance. We are witnessing the disturbance. 

We know this intuitively. When someone we care about is struggling, the most helpful way to support them is to come into our own body and regulate our own nervous system. We can be a calming presence for them and they can co-regulate with us, like children do with a regulated parent. Advice like calm down or it will work out for the best or you’re being too sensitive often leaves the person feeling shamed, powerless and isolated. Witnessing with an engaged, open heart helps them connect with their strength and value. Most of us find it more challenging to practice attuned empathy with ourselves.

You are in the seat of awareness, watching the dance of mind and heart. Don’t try to figure things out. Relax your body. Breathe. Relax the area around your heart.

As we stop struggling with the emotions and thoughts, we provide space for the samskaras (memories and imprints from life) causing the disturbance to release those energies. Use your will to relax through the initial resistance, then the disturbed energy that comes up will release.

When you are totally comfortable with everything that comes from your mind and heart, they will stop creating inner disturbance. Once you’re okay in there, there’s less noise. We don’t become okay by controlling people and events, or by getting things the way we want them. The mind and emotions make noise. Trying to stop or control them causes suffering.

Relax back into witness consciousness and surrender to reality. Lean away from the noise and create distance between

You (consciousness) 

and the objects of consciousness, what you are observing, thoughts, emotions.

You are not an object of consciousness. You are the one witnessing the objects of consciousness. Become aware of your Being.

Join us in our community class Sunday 10AM Eastern or Insight Timer Live at 11:30AM. In our community class at 10AM, we inquire then break into smaller groups to explore together. Links here.

Would you prefer to listen? You can do that here on Medium.

Week 1: Low Hanging Fruit
Witness, Relax and Release
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