Assuming the Role of the Witness

Becoming an inner witness to your busy thoughts, feelings and ideas is a practice that can empower you and help you to grow your awareness. It is true, what you put your attention on grows and sometimes the mind can spiral to unnecessary places. When your mind loses focus inevitably your awareness gradually weakens, this can leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated, fearful, and stressed.


Assuming the role of the inner witness helps to conquer attachment. Attachment can have detrimental effects on your life. Like the loss of focus, attachment to outcome or ideas oftentimes results in frustrations, fears, stress, and unnecessary worries. Assuming the role of the witness is the first step to detachment. Detachment supports freedom. Many of the things we notice about the world and struggle with are usually a reflection of our attachments. Here's the thing, desire is normal, it is in fact what creates your universe but staying grounded requires detachment.


Assuming the Role of The Witness


To be witness requires simply watching, observing, being present and doing so without judgment. This requires a new awareness or self and requires tapping into a deeper level of consciousness.


Becoming a witness means to have awareness of your own thoughts, emotions and feelings. Think about looking at yourself in the mirror, this is a simple example of witnessing yourself. The same way you look at yourself in the mirror is the same way you might start to witness your emotions and reactions, no judgment or criticism allowed. Assuming the role of the witness requires neutrality.


The inner witness cultivates self-awareness, and cultivates connection to the present moment. There is joy in the present moment-- you are alive. As you practice being a witness joy, compassion, and connection to your higher self is inevitable. Results of course vary but you get what you are looking for.


When you are feeling reactive to your thoughts and emotions, assuming the role of the witness allows you to assume an objective role in any situation, helping you to instead learn a compassionate lesson and improve your way of being. This helps to encourage powerful and healing self-work, self-development, and self-awareness.


How to Strengthen Your Inner Witness



You do not have to identify with your thoughts. The first step in becoming the inner witness is to practice witnessing your thoughts from a distance.


There are two requirements for successfully becoming an inner witness. Disengaging from the thoughts and observing with the mind's own eyes. When awareness begins to separate from the body, breath, mind and this new perspective starts to become a spiritual strength.


Assume the role of the witness. See your experience from a distance. This is like laying on the grass at the park and watching clouds dance across a blue sky. Your mind is the sky, your thoughts are the clouds.


Detach. Detachment from the outcome, but move compassionately. As previously mentioned your desires are important, but showing up in the present moment with full awareness requires you to let go of what the future holds. Detachment creates and cultivates, peace, joy, and connection.


Meditate. A consistent meditation practice can help you to take this powerful practice outside of your meditation practice, helping you to be more conscious of the present moment without attachment. Meditation also help to strengthen your ability to not react in the heat of the moment. It is vital remember that thoughts will come and go but it is important not to give any one thought too much energy. This is where attachments are weakened. During meditation watching distracting thoughts is what to turn to when the mind wonders but be careful because this is no effective if you have confidingly lost interest in the meditative focus required for meditation. Maintaining focus strengthens and sustains self-observation and meditation.


A Short Meditation to Awaken Your Witness


  1. Find a steady and supportive seat. Do not recline in your seat but sit upright on the floor, against a wall, perhaps with a cushion for knee and hip support, or sit tall in a chair with your feet resting on the floor.

  2. Relax your body, close your eyes and begin to experience your breath as if you whole body is breathing.

  3. Notice your breath travelling through your nostrils. Notice the smooth and unbroken pattern of your breath.

  4. Any time a thought trickles in name it thinking and carry on with your breath.

  5. Loosen your grip on the thoughts that pass by, continuously naming them thinking and, moving back to the sensation and consistency of your breath. Rest in your breath.

  6. Deepen your breath, rub your hands together, cover your eyes to open them and soften your hands away from your face.

  7. Practice this for as long as you would like but try to practice daily.


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© 2020 by Markesha Miller, Ph.D.