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    Follow the inner witness rather than the outer ones

    I feel a certain affection (awe?) for the notion of bearing witness -- so overlooked these days (compared to creativity, taking action, etc).  I like the patience that bearing witness seems to evoke, the willingness to be present, the sense of honoring another, a close sister to compassion.  It comes up in the way writers talk about writing -- recording events so accurately that you become a documentarian.

    The question of inner and outer is a funny one.  Off the top of my head, of course I agree the inner witness is better -- but sometimes, a friend or teacher can be a better witness than I myself can be.  Maybe it depends on how close I'm willing to stand to my own thoughts, or maybe a friend can be the person who helps to awaken the inner witness (the Knowing that Eliza describes so well), or maybe the so-called outer is only outside depending on how I hold my relation to the world.  My friend Glen has a talent for letting me talk until I'm able to find peace in what I'm saying (no matter how off the wall I sound) -- he's good at noticing when a bit of clarity comes in.  

    At the same time, no matter how good the advice from a friend can be, it doesn't really help until I try it out for myself.  I'm thinking about how tai chi can feel in a class versus on my own -- there's a delicious sense of the group's energetic support in a class, but I often find it possible to learn even more by practicing (faltering :) on my own.  It's a funny thing to be such an outwardly directed thing, and then suddenly discover what it's like to have an inside.

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