Learning About the Witness Maintains Inspiration

In my most recent post, I said that inspiration surrounds us. But, being inspired requires us to be alert to what’s inspiring.  Also, in that post, I mentioned being delayed by construction workers, and that something has changed in me.  My late wife was always alerting me to flowers in people’s front yards. It seemed she was unaware of dangerous or inconsiderate drivers on the roads.  We all want to be happy not reacting to unpleasant surprises.  Something has changed in my “map of reality.”  It has been said that “a map is not the territory” so my map contains possibilities for happy thoughts reinforced by what I experience of the delay is preparation for a vast improvement in the road. Moreover, my map contains the flowers and trees and opportunities to feel good after I have just been a courteous driver. Sometimes, the other driver acknowledges a non-competitive gesture.

“What has changed my map of reality from a dog-eat-dog rat-race, to a style that is just more enjoyable? It seems like I am denying the facts of a sometimes angry and violent city:” The answer is that I am actually progressing with Mindfulness Training, only mentioned the seventh post called Mindfulness and Inspiration.  Many haven’t heard much about Mindfulness, yet, people might say that it is a discipline to pay attention to your breath.  Yes, awareness of the breath is a good start with sitting meditation but Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh would say that sitting is just for starters.  He talks about walking meditation and meditating while doing work around the home and branching into awareness of  beauty around us such as flowers, and as in the last post the gliding skate-boarder or beautiful birds, the sky, and even memories of pleasurable moments.

Awareness of happy thoughts or objects in the environment is a key strategy to increase our contentment and reduce the tendency to react to events in a negative way.  It certainly increases resilience in unpleasant moments. Also it is a disciplined awareness is the platform for our Witness that just watches with curiosity.  This is explained in detail by Terry Fralich in my twelfth post called The Witness in Mindfulness Meditation.  Actually, I can only report on my progress because I have done some practice under instruction, best with a live teacher, and second best with CD programs.

Putting these together, the point is “Cultivating a Witnessing Awareness.”  Here, Terry Fralich would say we are “developing meta-cognition:  “Witnessing is the state of your awareness, or practicing outer non-reactivity: witnessing our inner landscape without autopilot reactions.”  In this case, autopilot reactions are often experiencing fear, anger and disgust. Thus, these are not going to make us happy!As earlier posts, he points out that self-compassion may be necessary and that Jack Kornfield, of  The Insight Meditation Society, offers a CD is called Six Essential Practices to Cultivate Love, Awareness and Wisdom.  I learned, long ago, that we can’t just talk or read about a skill,  because practice is required.  Moreover, Terry Fralich promises that this practice offers a calming of the inner critic”  and self-judgment; thus promoting a non-judgmental awareness leading to kindness and compassion for ourselves and others. Our world needs this kind of inspired living!

             NOTE: For those who live in Adelaide, Australia area, I have friends at  Riverdell Spiritual Centre, who offer Mindfulness Meditation.  URL= http://www.riverdell.org.au …. Next one is Wednesday 12th February 7 to 8.30pm at Hewett Centre, Hewett SA


2 thoughts on “Learning About the Witness Maintains Inspiration”

  1. Greetings Paul
    I suppose the whole thing comes down to responding to a scene or situation as opposed to reacting to a situation whether that situation is good or bad or perceived to be good or bad.
    To cultivate simple non- reactivity conjures up an image of a Mr Spock type character from the Star Trek shows whose race apparently had no heart.
    The heart is a necessary ingredient in as you say “witnessing” a situation.
    From this perspective then reacting as opposed to responding to something beautiful like flowers despite pleasurable sensations may have adverse consequences if only that a dark situation will also evoke reactivity.
    Responding vs reacting may sound like splitting hairs to some and certainly human beings are so thoroughly reactive that the thought of a responsive gesture let alone a responsive way of living may only raise a question mark in their mind.
    Anyway certainly a very important topic to consider and thank you for doing so.

    1. Thanks Brian,
      I certainly agree that the Heart is important in situations where we might experience negative feelings as these feelings warn us that we might go off-purpose. The negative feelings are learned by the ego-mind as protection in what it views as “threatening.” The Heart can offer love and compassion, etc., as these are always On-Purpose. I think that is why we need training in moment by moment awareness. Thanks again, Paul

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