Watcher and Witness
As an introspective person, I tend to notice how I introspect. This noticing has helped me identify two primary vantage points from which I observe myself. One I call Watcher and the other, Witness. For me, both are personified as male. So, when I use masculine pronouns, I am speaking only of my own experience.
The Watcher is a well-developed pattern of self-critical and fault-finding analysis and scrutiny. For most of my life, the Watcher has handled the bulk of my inner observing. His basic stance sounds something like this: “James is not trustworthy, he requires careful monitoring, and he damn-well better be near-perfect and mistake-free or he’ll never belong and be loved.” Because the Watcher developed within me early in life, he’s quite young, loudly opinionated and clearly biased in what he sees and points out. His currencies are fear and shame.
As I think about Witness, I find myself smiling. He’s ancient, wise, calm and accepting. My imperfections don’t seem to bother him. He observes accurately and quietly, with kind eyes – and he never raises his voice. I realize now that he’s been my companion all along – patiently accompanying me on the journey, observing my struggles and triumphs, my sorrows and joys - gently inviting me toward freedom and fullness of being, never judging, never doubting my value. His currency is love.
The voice of Witness is so soft that I need to be very quiet, and attentive in the moment, to hear it. His messages come at odd moments of grace. While I can practice making space for these moments of quiet clarity, I have no control over when or how they arrive.
Watcher and Witness - two inner sources of feedback and guidance. We get to decide. We don’t have to entertain any pattern that damages the spirit. We can consciously choose which source we cultivate and consider – consciously choose which voice we let in and listen to.