Posts Tagged ‘watching’

A witness presence

November 2, 2010

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending a shamanic workshop about dreams and discovered all sorts of ways to remember dreams, interpret dreams, find resolution, and use dreams to heal ourselves and others. One of these methods involved helping someone complete or finish with a nightmare or a bad dream.

One woman volunteered a nightmare where she was being chased by two men in a house. In the dream, they never find her but she is also unable to find her way out. And she is tremendously frightened and scared. The group reenacted this dream for her with two of the men serving as the chasers and the rest of us forming the walls and rooms of the house.

We completed the exercise with an emotional climax, not just for the woman and the two people chasing her but for those of us who stood as witness to her frantic scurry as she dodged through imaginary doors and hid behind the walls we represented. We heard her breath coming in quiet, rasping gasps. Each and every one of us who was the house admitted afterwards that none of us wanted those men to find her. We resisted the urge to adjust our walls or form doors where there were none. After all, the house did not do that in the dream. Yet, our human spirit could not stand idly by without responding to her predicament and our helplessness.

That is both the blessing and the curse of being a witness: watching without intervening. We witness joyous events, soaking in the pleasure. We also witness events of great sadness and destruction. We are helpless in both circumstances to control the outcomes

Some say that just the act of watching changes the circumstances . . . that if we were not there to act as witness, the outcome would have been different. Our standing as witness walls while the woman completed her nightmare helped her resolve the fear and end the dream.

There is witness presence all around us. It permeates the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the clothes we make, the homes we live in. I believe this presence is not benignly neutral. This presence supports us, provides us sustenance and safety. It wants us to live and live well.

As you go through your days, know that you are being watched, and think about what you want your witnesses to see.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass