I Heard it Like This…
Reflections of an inspired talk by Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax.
TEN STEPS ON THE PATH OF SELF AWARENESS
There are ten steps we all can take to enlarge our self awareness. These steps are like strings on an instrument or notes on a piano. We can practice them separately but when played together, we can make beautiful music.
(if you prefer to listen & meditate – there is approx. 30 seconds of silence after the bell, before Alan speaks again; but you can fast-forward if you don’t wish to meditate)
The fifth step on the path of self awareness is WITNESSING. What are we witnessing? We are witnessing, in the role of disciplined observer, our interior thoughts and reactions. We are observing how our mind functions in response to others and our particular circumstances. When we seek harmony, do we find ourselves more irritated? When we wish to assert ourselves, do we notice feelings arise of aggression or competition? When we are praised, do we become shy or inflated? A disciplined observer does not judge but rather, over time, sees patterns of behavior.
These patterns become part of a meta cognitive perspective, an ability to see beyond isolated behaviors to a web of relationships. This witnessing capacity functions as a kind of lubrication for consciousness, loosening our attachment to particular thought patterns or reflexive ways of defending a particular view of ourselves. We become more at ease with a “self that watches over” the mind’s activities.