save the date for next year:
a 24-hour global meditation vigil
December 8th – 9th, 2018
New to OWBW? Register HERE!
One World Bearing Witness was held on Dec. 2 – 3, 2017. It was a free 24-hour online, global/local, live, participatory, healing ritual for humanity to bring us together in Unity and Difference.
Our intention is to stir the hope and courage of humanity and create a space between us in which our painful and often long-standing divisions can be held and seen from the depth of our nonseparation and interconnectedness. This is a small but essential step toward developing a ground together from which a new will toward cooperation and action can arise.
From December 2ndto 3rd, 2017, using the latest interactive video technology, we will go on a profound journey with thousands of concerned, caring people worldwide through seven ritual cycles offered by spiritual leaders, revered elders, community activists, visionary artists, and transformational tricksters from all directions on this planet to bear witness and to take a stand for the Light in the face of Darkness.
Welcome & Opening Ritual
• 2pm UTC
Welcome and introduction from your hosts, Elizabeth Debold and Thomas Steininger from One World in Dialogue. They will call upon the intention behind this 24-hour vigil, and provide guidance for participants to give the most to their engagement.
Elizabeth and Thomas will be joined by Thomas Mendoza, who will share a message from a Mayan fire ceremony for One World Bearing Witness, and also by David Nicol, who will offer an invocation to subtle activism.
Mayan Shaman, Guatemala
Ritual Cycle 1Bearing Witness to Our Mother, Earth
3pm – 6pm UTC
In our first meditation, Cynthia Jurs will lead the Earth Treasure Vase Guided Meditation, inviting us to imagine a world where suffering is transformed and the vitality of the Earth is completely restored, embracing the whole Earth with our love and directing our deepest prayers and intentions throughout the web of life — the songlines of the Earth — touching all the places that form the global Earth Treasure Vase mandala. This meditation has been done every full moon for close to 30 years and now, a large virtual Earth Treasure Vase community committed to global healing and collective awakening has formed and will join One World Bearing Witness on this potent full moon.
Opening Ritual: Terry Patten will lead Witness Bearers in a guided reflection that will point out and unfold the deep practice of bearing witness. This process will invite all dimensions of our awareness and our bodies to open and be present in the most embodied, local and personal way to the full spectrum of what is here to behold — including the most global, systemic and complex aspects of our shared life. Then he will guide us into a period of spontaneous trans-rational prayer, helping deepen the sacred virtual space we are convening.
Center Ritual: Grandmother Flordemayo, founder of the International Council of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, begins with a prayer for the day of “The Sacred Dawn.“ She shares with us a prayer to Mother Earth, to the Four Directions and the Four Elements of Life.
In this intimate shared space between us, she speaks to us all as “seed carriers“ for the next generation. This is a heart-to-heart communication between Grandmother Flordemayo and each of us, as well as a call for us to share the loving vibration heart-to-heart with Mother Earth. “Our responsibility is to say something,“ she says,“Our responsibility is to pray.“
Closing Ritual: Lotan Sapir and Miriam Turmalin from Israel/Palestine/the Holy Land offer a prayer and performance to the renewal of the connection to the “Tired Land“ in Israel and Palestine that is based on the story of Sarah and Hagar of the Jewish Bible. *Please bring a prayer in your native language, and a small plant or seeds.
Teacher, Open Way Sangha
Integral Heart Foundation
Founder, Int’l Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
The Human Theatre, Israel
Ritual Cycle 2Bearing Witness to Our Relatedness and Capacity for Transformation
6pm – 9pm UTC
The Benedictine Sisters of Dinklage Abtei ask for guidance from our Creator and invite us to pray together for justice, peace, and the protection of creation.
Opening Ritual: “To feel as you belong is one of the great triumphs of Human existence. Our sense of woundedness around not belonging makes us the only part of creation that knows what it’s like to live in exile,“ says poet-pholosopher David Whyte. Abhishek Thapar, a young contemporary theatre performance professional originally from India having experienced being expelled from his childhood home during the Punjab insurgency, thresholds the door for us into the space and realm of this very fundamental Human endeavor and wound.
Center Ritual: Shelley Sacks and members of the University of the Trees community invite the Witness Bearers to participate in the “Landing Strip for Souls”, a process acknowledging both the fundamental relatedness of all of life as well as the reality of our fragmentations. By working with the “invisible materials” [Joseph Beuys] of discussion, thinking, values, and questions, we gather substance and develop awareness of the space between us that holds an experience for our work towards a humane and ecologically viable world. Through the University of the Trees: Lab for new Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future, Shelley Sacks’s diverse artistic and academic work offers practices that contribute to forming the “social mycelium,” a nourishing root system for a new culture.
Closing Ritual: Sabine Lichtenfels leads us into a meditative space from which we can contemplate the Earth and our relation to it, inviting us into the profound space of the Tamera rock garden. She greets us as fellow peace workers, and invites us to engage with her about the deeper journey to peace.
of Dinklage Abtei, Germany and others
International Theatre Institute
(ITI, India Centre)
Founder, University of the Trees
Co-Founder of Tamera, Peace Ambassador
Ritual Cycle 3Bearing Witness to the Inequalities of Wealth and Power to bring forth a New Type of Sacred Activism.
9pm – 12am UTC
Poverty, inequality and disempowerment are man-made. Therefore, abundance and freedom are our collective responsibility. The African principle of Ma’at or uBuntu reminds us of our inherent natural proclivity to love, share, reciprocated and give unconditionally. Please join with Aunkh H Chabalala and bring into our spheres of awareness, the shared pain, agony, indignity and dishonor that we have allowed to be perpetuated on the planet. Transformation from suffering to ever-improving quality for all doesn’t depend on the external forces, but in the inherit causal realms found deep in the inner recesses of our spirits. This ritual space beacons us to stay in solidarity with the poor, marginalized and oppressed; trusting in the transmuting powers that offer us a unique opportunity to co-create harmonious and thriving ‘glocal’ societies that are livable and inheritable to our progeny.
Opening RItual: Dr. Rama Mani and Arjuna Hiffler Mani, mother and son, will take us on a journey to transform the Love of Power to the Power of Love with real-life enacted testimonies, poetry, spoken word, music and rap. This performance will transport you to war zones and crisis-affected areas around the world to encounter ordinary-extraordinary people who stepped forward to question, confront and transform the inequities of power with their courage, creativity and compassion.
Arjuna’s trenchant lyrical and philosophical music weaves through the testimonies to remind us of what we choose to witness or to ignore, and ultimately who we choose to be.
Together we will discover how we can transform the love of power that is destroying our world into the power of love which can heal and embrace all humanity. This journey in sacred artistry will take the form of a four-fold ritual, engaging you in the four stages of theatre of transformation’s catalytic process, to: Witness Reality, Awaken Possibility, Envision Change, and Enact Transformation.
Closing Ritual: Alnoor Ladha of The Rules, a community of activists, joins us from Costa Rica, to offer insight into the structural inequality that drives so much division on our planet and asks us to create a new type of sacred activism that is rooted in non-separation and goes beyond the inner work. The ritual will be held as a Satsang. Witness Bearers will be invited to contemplate what it means to live a post-capitalist reality and what role sacred activism can play in creating the new world. The opening discussion will be closed by Chonon Quena with a Shipibo Icaros (a spiritual chant focused on a specific intention). The purpose of this particular Icaros will be to help usher in a new type of non-dual understanding of power, which will also be the focus of the Satsang. The final 20 minutes of this session will be interactive and Witness Bearers will be invited to offer comments and questions for larger group discussion.
Aunkh H Chabalala
Director, Amen-Ra Institute
Dr. Rama Mani
Founder, Theatre of Transformation
Arjuna Hiffler Mani
Poet; Rap Artist
Founder, The Rules
Fillmaker and Vegitalista
Communal Ritual: Bearing Witness to Bearing Witness
• 12am UTC
Session Weaver: Peter Frank,“Earth Ambassador” and artist
Marko Pogacnik, UNESCO Artist for Peace
Jorge Crescente, psychologist and shaman
Moetu Taiha, Maori elder, Grandmother of the Sacred We
Peter Florian Frank
Grandmother Moetu Taiha
Ritual Cycle 4Bearing Witness to Healing the Heart of Humanity
1am – 4am UTC
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, spiritual leader of the The Inayati Order, an interfaith mystical fellowship, leads us in an interfaith service, drawing on world scriptures and infused with meditative prayer for the realization of humanity’s sacred oneness.
Opening Ritual: From Japan, Noriko Nagahori from Virtual Photo Walks goes to the Hiroshima Memorial where she is joined by three survivors to pray and offer a vision for the future of humanity.
Closing Ritual: Long weighed down by the lingering effects of colonialization (poverty, inequality, injustice, violence and destruction to nature and human lives), the Philippines is suffering even more because of disasters caused by climate change and because of the deep divisions created by their heated national elections last year, which continue till now. This small country in the Pacific Ocean is like a mirror of the Heart of the World right now – vulnerable to so many internal and external challenges yet throbbing with deep human connections and compassion for the whole world. Aninay (Angge) Herrera and her son, Angelo Herrera, peace facilitators from BINHI (Filipino for “Seeds”), and artist-teacher-healers from GINHAWA (Filipino for “Breath”), a well-being NGO, lead a healing ceremony where they invite Witness Bearers from all over the world to open a heart space where we all share our pains and our strengths for the healing of humanity.
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
Spiritual Leader, The Inayati Order
Peace Activist; Soka Gakkai International
Leah R. Tolentino, Minifred P. Gavino and Yeyette San Luis
Peace & Community Activists, Angelo and Aninay Herrera
Ritual Cycle 5Bearing Witness to Healing the Wounds of History
4am – 7am UTC
We will be led by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg to deepen our awareness of the layers of compassion that we hold. She will locate this meditation in the stunning narrative in Genesis, part of the Hebrew Bible, where Jacob wrestles with a “man” or an angel (his own wounded spirit or his life-long adversary). In this wrestling, he is transformed and renamed One Who Wrestles with God.
Opening Ritual: The South Asian Youth Conference and the Blue Ribbon Movement, led by Abhishek Thakore from Mumbai, India and his colleagues, invite us into a healing ceremony for the divided region of South Asia. Through recognizing the wounds created by hundreds of years of colonialism and the strengths alive in these diverse cultures, this new generation of leaders in the region share their hope for peace and mutual support, inviting us to bear witness to their shared commitment.
Closing Ritual: Nayri Niara, a collective of Aboriginal knowledge keepers, who unite Ancient Traditions with Modern Innovation to create Good Spirit, invite us into a sacred healing ritual led by members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and hold First Nation ancestral lineages from across Australia. The intent of this ritual is to repair the damage done over the last two hundred years that has poisoned an important waterway and broken our sacred relationship with water. To do this, we begin by mourning what once was and by realizing that our generation is called to repair that which has been broken, including the increasing number of souls, particularly of young people, who have chosen suicide in the face of all the damage done in these last two hundred years. *Please have a bowl of water with you for this ceremony.
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
South Asian Youth Conference
Abhishek Thakore, Lima Ahmad, Vivek D’Souza, Vaibhav Mathur, Kejal, and Dechen
Tasmanian Aborginal Elders
Ritual Cycle 6Bearing Witness to De-Colonizing Consciousness
7am – 10am UTC
Bayo Akómoláfé is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action and social change. He will read from his work and invite us into a contemplation that will subvert the conventional categories of being and doing, I’ing and you’ing.
Opening Ritual: The Global Ecovillage Network – Oceania & Asia, plus Innerdance Global, invites us to witness a ceremony of re-membering—an awakening to the waking dream where the bondage of constructed worldview matrices begins to unravel. Through the facilitation of Serena Olsen, a dialogue between places and liberated inner spaces, from India and the UK, and more, will invite Witness Bearers to experience how the parts create a dynamic whole of humanity’s consciousness as represented from India, Singapore, South Africa, the Philippines, and more.
Closing Ritual: Following the powerful sharing from the Global Ecovillage Network, co-host Andrew Venezia will guide us in honing our collective and individual intentions towards a flourishing, human planet. Connecting together through meditation, we’ll use a visualization and a simple ritual to empower us in working towards a world we envision and deeply yearn for, liberating the power of our consciousness in service of the world we know is possible.
Be sure to have a candle nearby, and a way to light it! (If this is impossible for any reason, you can visualize your candle.) You may also want a pen and paper.
Poet, writer, activist;
Curator, The Emergence Network
Global Ecovillage Network-Oceania & Asia
Serena Olsen, facilitator, Innerdance Global
Ritual Cycle 7Bearing Witness to the Poetics of the Innate Unity of Being
10am UTC- 1pm UTC
Led by Tulku Lobsang, founder and director of Nangten Menlang, a School of Inner Medicine:
When we practice Emptiness, we simply leave everything and look. The mind is like water. When it is still, it naturally becomes clear. When we leave everything alone, without judgment or reaction, and simply perceive what is there, we begin to recognize the nature of mind. To do nothing and to leave everything how it is, is the most difficult thing! In this way, we use our mind to observe our mind. This is how we come to deeply know ourselves. When we know the mind, we know all.
Opening Ritual: In the Ifá/Lùkùmí cosmology, àtàrí is the connection to orí, òrìsà, and our higher selves, every being on the planet, and, ultimately, the divine energy that creates everything in the universe. True opening of the portal of Àtàrí means the conscious recognition that you are pure awareness, the natural Self, undivided, spacious, and all expansive. Rose Sackey-Milligan will engage Witness Bearers in practices of chanting, meditation, and prayer that open into the portal and the transcendent dimension, láí- láí, and show how láí- láí provides a profoundly new ground for recognizing each other’s humanity.
Closing Ritual: Staying in tune with the space that Rose Sackey-Milligan guides us into, Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon of Petites Planètes lead us further in exploring “the space between us.” As a closure for our last ritual cycle, Vincent Moon’s live video performance invokes an intricate, poetic visual fabric composed of the “One and the Many” as we bear witness to it. The many “onenesses,” the many selves, the many wounds, colors, landscapes, rituals and rhythms this world holds interwoven by poetic, invisible, in-between and empty atmospheres composing an intimate and complex Unity.
Founder, Nangten Menlang
Activist; Lùkùmí Priest
Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon
Closing Ceremony • 1pm UTC
For the closing of our shared, global vigil, Elizabeth and Thomas are joined by Fumi Johns Stewart, of the World Peace Prayer Society. Representatives from USA, Israel, UK, Japan, South America and Africa will be joining us to create a Circle of Light around the world for One World Bearing Witness. The ritual will end with a blessing and prayer by the beloved Brother David Steindl-Rast, and then be followed by open sharing with all participants.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Human beings create vigils, often staying up through the night, as a way of showing love and respect for something or someone.
A vigil is a form of ritual, which is a solemn ceremony used to mark or celebrate important events in the life of a human being or people.
One World Bearing Witness is a new kind of ritual that allows us to come together globally to show our love and respect for all of humanity in its beauty and struggle.
Using the connectivity of the latest web-based videoconferencing, communities across the planet will be able to see and hear each other engage in rituals that express the beauty of unity and the intention for cultural healing. That’s what makes it possible to create a global vigil and ritual.
Bearing witness has a deep spiritual, historical, and psychological significance that all relate to the intention behind One World Bearing Witness.
In Christianity and Islam, bearing witness refers to acknowledging and standing for the Light, Goodness, and Truth – no matter what the cost.
After the Holocaust in World War II and in contexts like the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission, bearing witness means bringing the truth to light so that a nation or people may grapple with their past. The core hope is never again.
In trauma therapy, where listening with empathy to someone’ s story is a first step in healing, bearing witness brings the survivor back into human community through the empathic recognition that he or she has suffered a deep moral wrong.
You can bear witness by joining our virtual Silent Meditation Rooms, where you will join others around the world who are meditating for any or all of the vigil. Or you can bear witness by participating in the seven ritual cycles that will be broadcast over the 24-hours. You will receive more information about this after you register and closer to the date of the event.
No, you can take part for as long as you want to or can. We suggest that you might want to take part in one of the three-hour ritual cycles. That way you can have the experience of bearing witness and going through the process of one full cycle. But it’s up to you. Keep in mind, though, that a vigil often involves staying up through the night as a gesture of honor and respect. You may find that this is what you feel pulled to do.
You can always contact Anna, who handles our customer service. Here’s her email: firstname.lastname@example.org For the event itself, we will send out additional ways for you to get the help you need.