“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the most soothing,
the most helpful,
The most grounding efforts one can make in their mindfulness practice, is awareness.
Beth Berila dives into this quite a bit in her textbook, Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education (Amazon link here, author website here). I highly recommend it for those, like me, who are pursuing a degree in education. It’s definitely on our Lit List list (haha).
One of the techniques she teaches is called “Cultivating The Witness” (p. 79-80*), which, at its root, is simply cultivating the skills necessary to be aware of a situation without being overwhelmed by it.
How can we do this?
The first step is to meditate on a scenario that caused a strong reaction in the past. Evaluate yourself without judgment. Ask yourself why you felt that way, explore the root(s) of your reaction.
Then, when confronted with the same or a similar situation in the future, try to stop and evaluate. Compare, in the moment, if the root is the same. If it is, ask yourself:
What can I do to heal?