To be with and to witness can be a preventative to objectifying – both ourselves and others. To witness is to connect to and with — all of our humanity, with all of our heart and all of our mind. To witness is to feel the all joys and all sorrows of being alive.

Living as witness can maintain our connection to whatever is occurring, feeling the feelings as they arise and giving them the space to come and as substantially, to be released or relieved. Not bearing witness to our own pain or that of others only pushes discomfort away to show up at another time, stronger and more entangled simply because it was ignored. Every thought and feeling that is witnessed can relax a little because we connected to it.

To witness can also be to understand. If we are truly available much of the time, we have direct experiences rather than conceptual experiences and direct experience is what gives rise to insight, compassion and over time, wisdom.

I have been recognizing the importance of being witness to myself and to others as I move into a variety of communities, teacher trainings, and groups and in simply what my life’s platter has had to offer me recently. The fruit of bearing witness, being witness to, being with — in my mind cannot be overstated. No matter what we are going through or facing, or have just experienced, being truly there for ourselves, and with others can radically alter the way in which we live and how we respond to the array of human experiences – together.