For 24-hours people around the world join together in spiritual practice. Bridging all of the divisions that fragment the human world, we meet in authentic devotion to the sacred as we each experience it. Each culture on our beloved planet has a unique pathway to and understanding of Spirit–whether it is as Creator, Great Spirit, God, Allah, Yaweh, the Orissa or even Nature or Mother Earth. We need all of this wisdom to respond to the deadly challenges of our time.
One World Bearing Witness brings together spiritual leaders, sacred activists, and deep practitioners from each continent and region of the world to create something new–a truly global ritual that is rooted locally in the traditions that have grown out of this Earth.
You are invited to participate in this unique global ritual. It is not a “show” nor is it about providing information. Participation means bearing witness to the whole of humanity, from the most disturbing to the most sublime, the beauty and the devastation, the grief and the joy. You share in the rituals and ceremonies, join in prayer and song, and you drop into meditation to hold all of what you experience in the stillness beneath everything. In doing this, together, we create a living field that has at its center a human heart stretched wide open.
We realize that our collective efforts with this global ritual make only a tiny step toward seeing each other, in our full diversity, as fully human. But it is a tiny step in the right direction if we are going to come together to meet the challenges our separation has brought about.
We seek to create a much needed awareness of the wholeness of Earth and our shared humanity.
We also welcome your support–by showing up next December or by contributing below.
Elizabeth Debold and Thomas Steininger have been leading global meditation and sacred activism events for the last seven years. Both are pioneers of We Space and have developed the practice of emergent dialogue. They lead an international practice community of people interested in the transformation of consciousness needed to meet the crises we are facing. They view their work as “a spiritual practice for an open society.”
Thomas Steininger is a philosopher and the publisher of evolve Magazine, a German-language quarterly. He founded emerge bewusstseinskultur e.V. in Germany for HigherWe and emergent dialogue work. He is also the voice (and spirit) of Radio evolve, a weekly webcast about the intersection of consciousness and culture.
Elizabeth Debold is a developmental psychologist by training, with a focus on gender. She is an author, editor with evolve Magazine, and a self-proclaimed “gender futurist.” Her passion is creating spaces for humans to experience the power and potential of emergence.
Elizabeth Debold and Thomas Steininger introduce this 24-hour ritual and the theme of bearing witness to the creativity of life. They offer guidance for meditation.
The Opening Ceremony is offered by Grandfather Wanbdi Wakita, Chief of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, in Manitoba, Canada, who will offer his prayers at dawn for the new day and for the start of this sacred ritual.
“Etincelle” is the initiate name of Marie-Claire Eyang, she is Nima (equivalent of shamans in Gabon). She recognizes herself as a guide with a desire to “turn on the flame into each of us.” She proposes to experience unity on a pace inspired by the fauna and flora of the big Primary Forest of Gabon. She speaks French and the ceremony will be translated.
The teaching of “Etincelle” serves to establish a balance message between us, the invisible world of our ancestors and the nature around us. She will lead a prayer ceremony where we will be connected with our geniuses and our ancestors through our songs and our musical instruments.
The evening of December 4th is the beginning of the seventh day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah—the Festival of Light. It comes at the darkest time of the year when it feels like the darkness will go on forever and the light will never return again.
Hanukkah is also the time of the rededication of the temple. As the heavenly angels exult in the vision of the prophet Isaiah: “The whole world is filled with divine glory!” This world is our universal temple and our task is to reveal and nurture the divine glory that is in everyone and everything.
Eşref Goekcimen, born in Turkey but moved to Berlin at a young age, became a student of Grandsheikh Nazim Al Rabbani, who gave him the duty to give seekers in Germany, Bosnia and Turkey spiritual advice and to guide them in the Naqshbandi tradition. His work, as Sheikh Eşref Efendi, founder of The Sufi Center Rabbaniyya (which means “servants of God,”) takes him all over the world. He offers The Sufi Way of Peace–work that led to his receiving the Nelson Mandela Peace Prize by the European Parliament.
Sheikh Eşref Efendi will be in Mexico during One World Bearing Witness, where he will offer us prayer session. With luck, this will be an interspiritual event and the indigenous people he is visiting there will also offer prayer. He calls these “interspiritual encounters.”
Marta de Assis, known as Mãe Marta, is a Babalorixá or priestess in the Candomblé religion, one of the oldest traditions of humanity, imported by the slaves from Africa, and is still very active in Salvador de Bahia region. The word Candomblé means “ritual dancing or gather in honor of gods.” She speaks Portuguese, with translation.
On September 19, 1990, Mãe Marta founded the Ilê Axé Oyá Ogum Silé Omim Terreiro, located in the neighborhood of Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, well known for its culture, countryside style and strong traditions. She leads her Terreiro, dedicated to the cult of the Iansã Orixá, Goddess of winds and storms, a great responsibility passed on from her ancestors, continuing the tradition of the Ketu nation in Brazil.
Qubeka weaves together sound, ritual, movement, imagery, prose and energy medicine to conjure memory and inspire truth seekers from all walks of life. The intention is always for our expansion and to re-membering our fundamental nature.
She will offer a meditation entitled: we, the waters
we, the waters
this is a meditation over our waters – the waters that run through this earth, and the waters of our bodies. the same waters that quenched the thirst of our ancestors… the ones that soothed our grandmothers’ feet.
it is a meditation that invites us to sit with ourselves. to grieve, if that’s what calls us. to reflect. to pray. and to sit, in our togetherness, within our silences. a sit inside of this moment infront of us as a collective human family. these significant changing of times. come, let’s sit with each other, with our stuff, our shame, our guilt, the fear – personal and collective. And through the vibration of our voices, and the support of sound, let us loosen, shift and release the density… what’s heavy, what hurts and begin to make room for our true selves again. that we can invite better futures into the micro and macro body. into our earth home and planet.
please bring a glass or jug of water. if you have singing bowls or any instruments, bring them also. through the waters, we’ll petition for our healing, our remembering, our atonement. please bring your willingness, your vulnerability, an open heart, curiosity and surrender.
Steven Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu Patrick is a Warlpiri elder from Lajamanu in the Tanami Desert. He is a brilliant traditional musician and keeper of the law. Wanta collaborates with Tracks Dance Company as Creative Director of the Milpirri Festival at Lajamanu, which has re-envisioned the teaching of Warlpiri law for today’s contemporary intercultural contexts. Due to illness, he was not able to join us live. We were honored to present some of his work at the Milpirri Festival.
Rev. Deborah L. Johnson is the founder of Inner Light Ministries, an Omnifaith spiritual community in Santa Cruz, California, nearing its 25th anniversary, and The Motivational Institute, an organizational development consulting firm specializing in cultural diversity. Author of The Sacred Yes and Your Deepest Intent, Rev. Deborah is also a board member of Pachamama Alliance, a Leadership Council Member of the Association of Global New Thought, and a founding member of the Agape International Spiritual Center with Michael Bernard Beckwith.
Her passion is building “The Beloved Community” and healing socio-political/cultural divides. Wherever she goes, her message is one of transformation, inclusion, empowerment, and possibility.
Ven. Bhikkhuni Dhammananda is the first fully ordained Theravada bhikkhuni in Thailand (2003) and has been engaged in giving education on ordination for women since 1984. Her temple has become an international center for foreigners who seek to have a better understanding of Buddhism, both at a philosophical level and practical level. Some of her books on Buddhism are bilingual. She is on among the very few learned scholars and even less as monastic who is capable to deliver the sermon and teaching to both Thai and international audience. Her role as educator is outstanding both in Thailand and abroad.
Dhammananda will guide us in meditation, and then we will listen to the chanting of young nuns, and finally we will be guided in another short meditation by Dhammananda’s main assistant, who is a powerful practitioner and professor in her own right. This offering will be pre-recorded.
Kuniatsu Susuki and Dorette Roos have a unique partnership. He leads meditation, chanting Buddhist sutras, in Japan. And Dorette accompanies him on her cello in South Africa.
Angaangaq was born in Greenland in 1947. He is an elder, traditional healer, spiritual teacher, and shaman from Greenland. His teachings come from the Eskimo Kalaallit – a peaceful culture that is thousands of years old and has not experienced war. These teachings have enabled people to survive in one of the harshest places on earth. They call us to bridge the distance between our minds and hearts through strength and gentleness, compassion and love, courage and determination, to make personal and global transformation and healing possible.
Angaangaq conducts circles, seminars and ceremonies. He will pre-record a ceremony for OWBW.
“It is easy to melt the ice on the ground. The hardest thing is to melt the ice in the heart of man. Only by melting the ice in the heart of man, man will have a chance to change and use his knowledge wisely.”
We are blessed to have Brother David Steindl-Rast joining us via a special recording for our last ceremony. Brother David’s presence and teaching opens us to gratitude for the amazing gift of Life. That we wake every morning and can see is in itself miraculous. Every minute of Life is a gift, and Brother David has a unique power to awaken and deepen our gratitude for that gift.
For the Closing Ceremony, we will begin with a brief meditation, and then you will join Elizabeth and Thomas in a reflection and collective dialogue about the journey we have been on together.
So, the ceremony is YOU.
We will unmute your microphones so that you can join in the conversation.
One World Bearing Witness is both a global ritual and a vigil.
Human beings create vigils, often staying up through the night, as a way of showing love and respect for something or someone. By transcending our usual boundaries, we show our reverence and care for the purpose of the vigil.
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. Rituals are communicative actions, often designed to access deeper dimensions of life.
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 their particular way to access Spirit. 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 taking a stand through one’s presence.
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.
Virtual means that the event happens online, through your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer. The event will be live-streamed using the latest Zoom Videoconferencing and Webinar capacities. While the team producing the event will be in Frankfurt, Germany, anyone from anywhere there is 4G or internet service can participate. After you register, you will be sent information and a link to access the event by the end of November.
You can bear witness by giving your presence and full attention to the spiritual guides when they offer their ceremonies. After each ceremony, there will be a 45-minute meditation period for you to take in and bear witness to what you have just experienced. 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 2-hour ceremony 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.
Yes, we will be recording the entire vigil on video. We will not record the meditation sessions. Those are private. We will make the recordings available as soon as we can after the event. We also encourage you to donate to help us to cover the costs of processing the recorded material.
Yes, in fact, many of the spiritual guides will ask for your participation in their ceremonies. You will be invited to pray, sing, or chant along with the guide. Some will ask for you to participate at home in specific ways. Also, another critical part of the vigil will be creating a unified field of consciousness: you are invited to hold and deepen the field by meditating, whether alone, with your friends or group, via Zoom videoconferencing.
Your donation goes to One World in Dialogue, which produces this event and others like it for free or on a donation basis. Each of the spiritual guides are given a small honorarium, too. Depending on the total amount of donations, we make a substantial contribution to indigenous organization(s) working to protect our sacred Earth. The past two years we have contributed to Amazon Watch.
You can always contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org For the event itself, we will have staff available the full 24-hours. One of the biggest problems is that our emails end up in the Junk or Spam folder and you miss critical information (like the link to Zoom for the vigil!). To avoid this, please put the address above in your contacts list.
First, a big thank you to James Redenbaugh of Iris Cocreative for his great help with the design.
We are grateful to Unsplash and the photo and graphic artists there for these images:
Candle in the Thai monastery: Prasongsom Punyauppa Path; sunset with shooting star: Ben Collins; beach from above: Dan Grinwis; light through leaves: Greg Rosenke; snow covered path in the woods: Veli; desert sands from above: US Geological Survey; snowy forest from above: Thomas Beckett; sunset with moon: Kyle Cut Media; green leaves: Erol Ahmed; dandelion: Olena Ivanova.
Portrait of Joanna Macy by Adam Shemper.
I have been cultivating transformative “We Space” practices for nearly 30 years. As a philosopher, practitioner, and spiritual mentor, I have dived deeply into the practice of meditation and into an exploration of the evolution of human consciousness, particularly the current transition from a hyperindividual “I” culture to a co-conscious “We.”
As an authority on cultural evolution and the different spiritual and religious currents that have formed our postmodern world, I bring this perspective into my work as publisher of evolve-magazin, the leading German magazine on consciousness and culture and as faculty at Meridian U. in California. I also have a weekly webcast called Radio evolve, where I have interviewed over 500 pioneers forging the future.
For the last decades, I have co-founded and developed a process of emergent dialogue, an advanced practice in conscious communication.