What advice would I give to someone who wished to deepen their practice of SoulCollage® and/or meditation? I would encourage you to explore the State of Being called Witness. Though I did not know its name at the time, the second SoulCollage® card I made in 2005 was the Transpersonal Card, Witness.
The disciplined spiritual practice of Witness has made all the difference in my life and creative journey. Activating the Witness has provided the objectivity and insight required for wisdom to flourish. It has gradually liberated me from a soul-killing dependence upon others for answers or approval and healed me from a lifelong toxic self-criticism.
Most meditation teachers suggest you cultivate the Observer practice. (Over time, the Observer practice leads to the state of being called Witness.) When you wake in the morning and before sleep, imagine activating a cobalt blue light a few feet above your head. It is like a video camera silently recording everything, without judging or interpreting.
You are training the mind to observe as a neutral witness. "Isn't that interesting?" is the only commentary. After a while, you will observe some fascinating patterns of thought, speech and behavior! And then you will have the power to change what no longer brings you happiness.
Seena Frost recommends that you make an Observer card for your Committee Suit to represent your personal expression of the Transpersonal Witness. This Neter(energy of the card) helps reinforce your learning to observe without judging. Seena discusses the value of the Observer in depth in Chapter 9 of SoulCollage® Evolving. This chapter is about The Shadow Side of the Neters and how to work with them.
Thanks to the ongoing Observer/Witness meditation practice, I can regard my creations/situations without the previously overwhelming interference of the Neters of Critic, Judge, and my conflicted Virgonian mind. Standing firmly grounded in the neutral place of Witness/Observer has allowed genuine healing and integrating of body, mind and spirit. Because Witness helps remove my personality's blinders, I can see more clearly when I am trapped into people-pleasing patterns. Witness often reveals my own truth, and allows me to speak from it. Witness has illuminated the profound truth that I am the greatest authority in my own life about my own life!
In my SoulCollage® Circles, we do our best to practice the state of being called Witness. This means that, as women together, we agree to live from a different, sometimes uncomfortable, social norm. We agree to not comment on each other’s cards. We acknowledge that praise and criticism are two sides of the coin of Evaluation. Each woman agrees to trust her own intuitive wisdom about the message and meaning of her cards. Instead of commenting, we witness the mystery of our creations. In reverent silence, we give each other the rare, empowering gift of our rapt, wordless attention. I believe the Witness practice is a major factor in the longevity of my monthly peer circle that began in 2005 and is still going strong in 2017.
My primary teachers about The State of Being called Witness have been...
- Pat Allen, author of Art is a Way of Knowing and Art is a Spiritual Path, who first introduced me to the practice of Witness when I attended her Open Studio Project classes in the late 1990’s.
- Sue Monk Kidd had a major impact on deepening my practice of Witness and my understanding of what it means to be the primary spiritual authority in my own life. Reading Sue's spiritual memoir The Dance of the Dissident Daughter was a major turning point in my journey..
- Swami Pranananda honors the lineage of Kriya Yoga teachers. This tradition teaches practical techniques for activating the Witness plus many other ways to find Peace, Equanimity and Wisdom in difficult times. Because of her example and my own continual practice of Witness, over time my life is unfolding in ever greater contentment, joy and wisdom, regardless of external circumstances. Okagesamade.