If you gathered a group of people together and asked them to be a witness to a crime and report back, they would all tell different stories. How we view this world is defined in as many different ways as there are people.
The way we define our life or experiences is through our words. We may label something or someone as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. When we use our own set of rules to define something we set up an opinion and from our opinion our actions follow. We can be powerful like this, ( I am worthy, I am great) or we can be negating ( this is bad, I can’t do this). Through our senses we take in information, classify it with words and cement it with our actions.
‘Stop the words now and let the spirits fly in and out of your heart’.– Rumi
Yoga talks about another place you can go. It is referred to as the witness or observer. The witness in us is the place that is unbiased. It sees things as neither good or bad. It just watches and observes. It doesn’t do anything or react to anything. it is calm and neutral. I often feel like the witness after practicing yoga. Something may happen after class but I only note it and move on. I don’t judge it as good or bad, just something that has happened. When we act from this place we can then be more responsive to situations. We react less, and we can take everything into our vision without judgement. It’s the place I would desperately love to be, but have a long way to go.
When you are not the witness you are acting from your ego which we refer to in yoga as the small self. The ego is more like this.
Judging/ fussy/ reactive/ sullen/unkind/selfish/ the doer/ analytical
The witness is more like this;
Non-judgemental/ accepting of all/ responsive/ all encompassing/love/neutral
We can learn to be more like the witness through practices in yoga such as asana or meditation. When we practice we watch what ‘comes up’, in our thoughts and we observe them without reaction then we move on. It’s like we are watching a play of ourselves on the big screen. In this play we are acting the part but us ( the observer) is not reacting to anything.
It’s easy to get pulled into any drama though. Suddenly instead of just playing the role it becomes our life and we become embedded in our own drama, unable to shake it off. Suddenly we are the lead role, starring in our own drama unable to get ourselves out of the way.
Practice for today: If you find yourself in a position where you are liable to react, or that you are being judgement or someone or something try to send your critical analytical mind on a hiatus. Instead call up the part of you that the yogis refer to as Satchidananda, all present, all knowing, all things. Put down the mirror of your smaller self and step into your big shoes today.