I facilitated a Big Mind session today, and for a while got into exploring two voices not included in the standard process: Earth Connection and Witness.
Earth Connection has to do with grounding, sense of belonging, sense of being an intimate part and participant of the Earth and universe, and so on.
It help expand our identity from our social ones and as a human being to being a part of the processes of the larger whole. I can use any and all the various labels we usually put on myself, and I am also the Earth and the Universe exploring itself, bringing itself into awareness.
The Witness is also very interesting. This is the seeing, the pure awareness.
The Witness is stainless, just seeing – allowing everything to come and go. There is no resistance to anything coming, nor resistance to anything going. Whatever resistance comes up is on the level of the human self, and is also just seen along with everything else.
From the view of the Witness, there is no boundary between inner and outer, between human being and the rest of the world. There is a tree, an emotion, a room, a cloud, a thought, a landscape, a behavior, and so on. It all arises in the world of phenomena, and are all seen. It helps us detach from an exclusive identification with our human self. It allows the sense of I and Other on that level to erode and fall away.
And as the Witness, we see how everything comes and goes. It is all temporary. It is all a process. Again, there is nothing to hold onto. In fact, holding onto anything – as the human self is constantly trying to do – is revealed as ultimately futile. It is all in flux.
Questions to Earth Connection
Who am I speaking with?
What do you do?
I help the self experience and deepen his connection with the Earth – with the soil, the plants, animals, other humans, even the culture, the Earth as a whole, and even the Universe.
You said “even human culture”. Can you say more about that?
Yes, through deepening his connection with the Earth he deepens his connection with human culture. The Earth is what all plants and animals comes out of, including humans and all their activities. In fact, it is all expressions of the Earth, temporary manifestations of the Earth process. And for him to realize that gives him a new appreciation of human culture, as an intimate expression of the processes of the Universe and the Earth. It places it in a whole other perspective, it gives him a sense of new layers of meaning and significance to it.
What are some of the other ways you help the self?
I help him feel grounded. As he deepens the connection with the Earth, he deepens his connection with his physical self. They are not separate, and deepening connection with one deepens the connection with the other.
It gives him a whole new identity as an expression of the awesome processes of the Earth and the Universe, far beyond the conventional and social identities he has learned from his culture – which he often experience as limited and oppressive. It gives him a profound and deepening sense of belonging to the Earth and the Universe, of being an organic part of this immense whole.
And it also gives him a liberating sense of humility, through realizing that his human self is a very temporary and very small part of this immensely larger whole.
So there is a deepening sense of appreciation and belonging through being an expression of this wast and amazing whole. And there is an opening for appreciation and sincere humility from realizing the fragility of the human life, and how transient and tiny it is. He really appreciates the beauty of these two together.
All of this also gives him a richer and deepening sense of meaning and purpose, through just being a human in general, and also for his particular life. Everything he does now – after having explored this over some years – is aligned with this and seen in this context.
Question to Witness
Who am I speaking with?
What do you do?
I witness, I am seeing.
What are some of the things you witness?
I witness whatever comes up in the present, such as thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and so on.
Do you also witness anything outside of the self?
Yes, I witness whatever comes up. Right now, the computer, tapping on the keyboard, the raindrops on the window, the light grey sky, the trees, the sound of the drops falling on the roof and the decks, the humming of the computer, the light coming through the woven screen, and whatever else is happening right now.
So you witness what comes up within and outside the self equally?
Yes, whatever is happening, inside and outside of the self. It does not make any difference.
From your view, is there a separation between what is inside and outside of the self?
No, not really. It is all just happening, and I witness it whether it comes up inside or outside of the self.
Those distinctions are not really important to me. It is all really just part of the same. Just one field of phenomena happening, whether inside or outside of the self. It is all just the temporary manifestations within the world of phenomena.
Does the self experience it that way?
Sometimes, but not always. Sometimes, he allows me in more and the field is appreciated. Other times, he gets stuck in the sense of inner and outer and a big difference between the two. He tends to create a good deal of struggle for himself through that, though, so he doesn’t always appreciate it even if he goes into it from habit.
Does he appreciate you?
Yes, I would say he does. He is getting more and more used to me, and invites me in regularly – or I should say periodically. He has phases when I am there most or all of the time, and then phases where I am more in the background. I guess that is OK. He sees it all as an exploration process, although he does want to have me present more stably in the future.
Is there a future from your view?
No, there is no future – that is just an abstraction, an idea. And there is no past either. There is just what is happening, whatever it is. And that is always changing.
He likes to call it the Eternal Now, referring to all of this, but even that is just an idea. He is a little gullible sometimes in that way.
So he gets stuck in ideas sometimes?
Yes, more than he realizes. He likes to think that he doesn’t, but there is often a stuckness there. He thinks it is subtle, but it isn’t really. It is quite obvious if he only would take the time to see.
Do you hold onto anything?
No, I don’t hold onto anything. That question does really not make any sense. Everything just comes and goes, on their own.
Does the self hold onto anything?
Oh yes, all the time. He resists all sorts of things, trying to push some away and holding onto others. He creates a lot of struggle for himself that way.
What would happen if you were more present in his life?
He would be able to step back and watch, get more of a sense of overview, be a little less caught up in and identified with whatever is happening.
He could have one foot in me and one foot in his human self, and do both. Have a sense of detachment and overview, and also be engaged and immersed in life. He would like that, actually.
Do you have any advice for him?
Yes. Take time to notice me, through coming to the breath, the body, and so on – all the many ways that you already are familiar with. You know how to do it, and it is part of the exploration process for you.