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Learning to Be

Written by on July 14, 2020 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Meditation with 0 Comments

Self Witnessing

In yoga, and Yoga Nidra we practice self-witnessing as we breathe, move through poses, and meditate. Without this self-witness you can’t see you.

No amount of others seeing or perceiving you will supplement for a lack of knowing yourself. It’s the paradox of rock stars feeling so lonely. Like a friend told me recently, it’s as if in our quest to experience and really discover/remember who we are, we feel like being seen by others is synonymous to being. There must be something there to see, right? But being witnessed isn’t witnessing. Yoga philosophy suggests that who we are fundamentally is the ability to truly witness ourselves. 


 

“Thanks, Mr. Oblique Yoga Philosophy Guy. That’s some awesome yoga thought but give me some real-life ways to relate that to getting up in the morning and facing another day of work and family and the every-day.” 

 

How to Witness

Well, the easiest way to apply this is to just pay attention to your life. What does it feel like to sit in a warm shower and let the water flow over your skin? What do the blossoms smell like when you walk down the sidewalk? What does your breakfast taste like? What does it feel like when your boss walks by? Yoga practice is simply a condensed and refined way of paying close attention.

 

Besides yoga makes us feel great, helps us have a healthy body, calm mind, and open heart. Here’s the deal: once we start practicing this self-witnessing business in yoga, we won’t stop at Namaste. We’ll be feeling our hamstrings in practice one night, and wake up extremely aware of the way the shower feels or maybe start to see the deep feelings in your heart. These are the most real ways of just being. The deeper we pay attention, the more we notice what’s behind the surface, what’s animating the outer form, what’s sensing, what’s seeing. Eventually, with practice, we become more and more familiar with this Inner Self. What’s amazing is how this knowledge of our inner-self gives us amazing confidence to just be. We stop trying to produce the image of ourselves, and we just be ourselves. 

 

Being Mark Twain

It reminds me of tales of Mark Twain. Often when he delivered lectures, like one would expect he would walk out on stage the crowd would applaud and then quiet down listening intently for what he would say. But what people didn’t expect is that often, Mark Twain wouldn’t start talking right away. He’d stand there in front of a packed auditorium and stare down the audience. Each second that passed wound the tension tighter and tighter. One man looking at thousands. He didn’t have to perform. He didn’t have to say anything. He was Mark-Freekin’-Twain! Finally, when the tension became almost unbearable, he would say but one word and have the entire audience in his hands. Now that’s presence!

 

Writers and poets, yogis and meditators all have one crucial thing in common: they’ve developed a keen attention to themselves and the world around them. 

 

May you practice some of this self-witnessing in whatever form you love to be present. Maybe this is what John Lennon meant when he sang, “Let it be.”

 

Photo by Alex Adams

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and the author of Practical Yoga Nidra: The 10-Step Method to Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Restore Your Spirit. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, or traveling to teach, he also writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats and trainings in places like Tuscany, France, and Hong Kong , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program. Scott just moved back to Salt Lake City after living in Southern France with his family.

 

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