To join thousands of concerned human beings across our planet to bear witness to the truth that we belong to Earth.
During one full rotation of the Earth, from the 7th to the 8th of December 2019, we will gather together in our homes, houses of worship, community centers, and sacred spaces through the global connective power of the internet to bear witness to Earth, our Mother and Home.
Bearing Witness is a spiritual practice and an act of conscience. When we bear witness, we allow the full truth touch us in the deepest part of our selves. We allow ourselves to open to the complexity and mystery of our relationship to Earth. Bearing Witness is a practice of spiritual warriorship that helps us to develop our humanity so that we can hold more of the whole and respond to life from that wholeness. We connect with the truth that we are not separate from our Mother, Earth, or from each other.
During this nonstop 24-hour online vigil, you will be guided to bear witness to Earth by spiritual leaders, sacred activists, and wisdom keepers from the Philippines to Tasmania to South Africa to the UK and North and South America. Each in their own way will help us realize how we belong to Earth and how our nonseparation with Earth matters to the health of this beautiful planet.
You will journey together with other caring humans through the elements of Earth using prayers, invocations and visualizations. During the process, we will nourish and nurture our sense of love and connection to our home and Mother, explore our relationship and yearning towards nonseparation with her and each other, and lean into the challenges of protecting her. We will celebrate the joys Earth has offered us and our ancestors and all the life we have shared this home with, for generations before us, and for those who will follow.
Your hosts, Elizabeth Debold and Thomas Steininger of One World in Dialogue and Rami Mukyu Efal of Zen Peacemakers Int’l along with our supporting partners from One Meditation and Human.Online will hold you through your journey into a deeper belonging to Earth. You are welcome to participate in any or all of the 24-hours, as long as you feel inspired to take part.
You can take part by:
Zen Buddhist teacher and social entrepreneur Bernie Glassman dedicated his life to serving the One. What is that One? It was nothing but himself, you and I and this great Earth. He inspired many of us, as multitudes around the world, to suffuse our spiritual practice with the generosity of our actions. His guiding principles, “Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Taking Action,” also known as the Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers, are the ground of the Bearing Witness movement he birthed by leading Bearing Witness retreats in places of deep suffering, trauma, and genocide such as in Auschwitz, Rwanda, Bosnia and the Native American’s turtle island. Belonging to Earth takes place in the context of this Bearing Witness movement. This December, we have the opportunity to come together with thousands around the world in bearing witness to the joys and suffering of our one home, our one planet, our One Body.
Times are urgent. We must slow down, poet/activist Bayo Akomolafe says, offering a piece of wisdom shared by his ancestors. Let’s slow down into the depths of our humanity. You are needed here: to respond to these urgent times in a new way. Your intention and attention are needed to allow this crisis to meet the depth within you and, from this, to find a response that comes from our nonseparation from Earth and all of Life.
You are needed to be an agent of togetherness, to act from Wholeness. We need to face the truth of what has happened and of what is possible. The great coral reefs are dying, the magnificent forests are stressed by weather that is too warm, grasslands are turning to desert, the permafrost is vaporizing, and the birds and bees are vanishing. Our goal is to face this, to grieve, and to stay open to the mystery, majesty, and creativity of the Life force that we are–and then take action.
For 24-hours, you are needed to join in this global experiment and give it your concern, heart, depth, and vision. Your intention and real-time engagement as a Witness Bearer will help weave a web of connection between human beings and with the Earth that birthed us.
By holding this whole experience together – not as a concept or idea but as a felt resonance within the field of consciousness that participants will be in together – we create a new potential for healing and connection with Earth and each other.
Take part in this free, global vigil for humanity…
Elizabeth is founder of One World in Dialogue, and this annual mediation vigil. She is a long-term meditator, and explores the potential of conscious We Spaces as a spiritual practice. She is inspired to experiment with new forms of sacred activism that arise from diversity-in-unity.
Rami is the Executive Director of Zen Peacemakers International, a global network socially engaged Buddhists that was founded by Roshi Bernie Glassman. He plans and engages in Bearing Witness retreats in Auschwitz, Bosnia, Rwanda and other places where healing is needed on this planet.
Thomas is a philosopher and co-founder of One World in Dialogue. He is also publisher of the German quarterly evolve, and host of Radio evolve, which is in German and English. He is deeply committed to developing new forms of sacredness as a means of changing culture.
Welcome! In this first, three-hour cycle, Elizabeth Debold, Rami Mukyu Efal and Thomas Steininger introduce the structure of and intention behind BELONGING TO EARTH. They will offer basic meditation instructions and help us to open to the unified field that is ever-present between us and connects us in nonseparation with Earth and all living things. We will have a special blessing by Sach’a Sawila for the elements and all of creation. Sach’a offered a blessing to Pachamama on our behalf, which we will share on video.
South American Sacred Seeds knowledge keeper Sach’a Sawila is a member of the Quechua community and hails from the town of Qalcha, in the high Andes of Bolivia. Sach’a is dedicated to the preservation and diffusion of Quechua plant medicine and nutritional cuisine. Honoring the oral tradition of her elders and the cycles that sustain, the well-being of mother earth, Sach’a is of the view, that traditional Quechua know-how is ripe to be shared with the rest of the world, as it is embedded within a cosmology of respect and connection with all earthlings.
After the first 45-minutes of introduction, Rami will offer meditation guidance and we will meditate together. Following that, we will meditate for another session in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
15:00 – 15:45 UTC
Meditation Guidance & Meditation
16:00 – 16:45 UTC
Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
Drawing on a powerful story from the Talmud about how King David’s curiosity led him to cause a devastating flood, Rabbi Jill invokes the power of water and our relationship to it. With poetry and music, she will bring alive the mystical truth of this tale that reminds us of our arrogance and the need for the right balance between ourselves and both the Divine and the Waters of the Deep.
PLEASE BRING a stone and some water for this ritual.
Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD, is an author, teacher, midrashist, mystic, poet, essayist, and priestess. She is committed to an earth-based and wildly mythic view of the world in which nature, ritual, and story connect us to the body of the cosmos and to ourselves. She is co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, a program in spiritual leadership for Jewish women. As a leader of the Kohenet Institute, she creates and teaches embodied ritual and study that transforms Jewish conceptions of prayer and ceremony.
After Rabbi Jill shares the water of life with us, we meditate for two hours in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
18:00 – 18:45 UTC Silent Meditation
19:00 – 19:45 UTC Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, PhD is the spiritual leader of the Inayati Order (formerly the Sufi Order International), a mystical and ecumenical fellowship rooted in the visionary legacy of his grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Pir Zia is author of Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest and Mingled Waters: Sufism and the Mystical Unity of Religions. The son and successor of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan is a recipient of the U Thant Peace Award and is a Lindisfarne Fellow. Pir Zia is president of The Inayati Order and founder of Suluk Academy. Now based in Richmond, Virginia, Pir Zia frequently travels.
After Pir Zia guides us into the unity we are, we meditate for two hours in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
21:00 – 21:45 UTC Silent Meditation
22:00 – 22:45 UTC Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
Our love of Earth and deep recognition of Her as a living being is the wellspring from which transformation can truly happen. Her fathomless life-giving capacity has been an unending gift—it is the source of our own lives. Join Charles Eisenstein as he opens our awareness and hearts to the deep connection with Her that already lives within us.
Charles, author most recently of Climate: A New Story, is an ecologist, activist, and deep thinking mensch. He calls us to move beyond the Story of Separation and embrace the deeper truth of Interbeing. Charles speaks what our hearts long to hear: A more beautiful world is truly possible and helps us unlearn our disbelief in that possibility and embrace the mystery of Life with its endless creativity.
After Charles takes us into a deeper belonging to Earth, we meditate for two hours in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
00:00 – 00:45 UTC Silent Meditation
1:00 – 1:45 UTC Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
Brain. Breath. Blood. What is our emerging awareness of the ancient future? As our hearts beat to the rhythms of Deep Time, our very breathing cycles back and forth yesterdays and tomorrows. Today, humanity witnesses the awakening of planetary consciousness as our capacity to perceive time shifts from the linear to the simultaneous. Pi Villaraza and the innerdance community from South Africa take us into an experiential journey into dimensions of Deep Time and Space, asking What is Story from the vast horizons of Earth’s memory.
Author of Conscious Trance: The Journey to the Dancer Within, Pi is a gifted healer who developed the process of “innerdance,” a guided internal journey and spiritual healing modality rooted in ancient filipino babaylan (shamanic) dance. Pi is founder and a spiritual leader of Maia Earth Village, founder of Emergence Convergence and co-founder for Transformation Medicine, in the Philippines. His work in healing and transformation has been published in media across the world.
Following this contribution from Pi and the Innerdancers, we meditate for two hours in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
3:00 – 3:45 UTC Silent Meditation
4:00 – 4:45 UTC Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
Thanissara deepens the field between us by taking us on an inner journey through music and a form of breath and embodiment practice that is called tonglen in Tibetan Buddhism. Invoking the goddess of compassion, Quan Yin, she will help guide us to transmute the shadows and forces that are causing destruction in these times of climate chaos. In a true practice of bearing witness, Thanissara offers a parth to stand for the light in the face of the deepening shadows.
Author of Time to Stand Up, A Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth, Thanissara, from London, is vitally interested in the potential of connecting Buddhist dharma and climate action. She was a Buddhist nun for 12 years and has taught meditation retreats with her partner Kittisaro since 1992. Together they founded Dharmagiri Sacred Mountain Retreat in 2000 in South Africa and co-authored Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Guide to Engaged Buddhism. She has also authored several poetry books.
To deepen what Thanissara has shared, we meditate for two hours in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
6:00 – 6:45 UTC Silent Meditation
7:00 – 7:45 UTC Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
Sitting at the original inter-tidal zone where the fresh water of kunanyi / Mt. Wellington, met the salt water of timtumili minanya / Derwent River, the community will sing from this place rich in nutrients, diversity and cultural heritage. The members of Nayri Niara will sing in celebration of Mother, through an ancient song about the mother’s milk coming in to feed the newborn. Through this, they honor the Mother we all share who is still holding us and all of life through this enormous transition.
As a Song woman and Story Teller, Ruth Langford draws upon the cultural knowledge of her Yorta Yorta mother and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community where she was born and continues to live. She is part of Nayri Niara, whose guiding principles are “Connection to Country, Culture and to the Sacred.” Nayri Niara provides opportunities for people to realign with traditions and cultural practices which emphasizes the importance of hearing the voices of our Elders, reclaiming our traditional values of honor, respect and equality and listening to the voice of our Inner Healer/Sprit in order to promote healthier communities for the future.
To deepen our recognition of Nayri Niara’s gifts to us, we meditate for two hours in silence, taking a 15-minute break between each hour.
9:00 – 9:45 UTC Silent Meditation
10:00 – 10:45 UTC Silent Meditation: Begin by reciting together the “Bearing Witness” Tenets
In this last cycle of One World Bearing Witness, our being begins to stir in contemplation of action–a fire burning in the Heart. We will be joined by Metsa Nihue who will help us to light that fire of connection and intention. He will call in the plants, the mountains, the Spirits and Energies that express the wisdom of the invisible world. As he says, “Hear the jungle, the wind, the plants, the mountains, the fire, the water. Hear the heartbeat – your own and that of the world. Allow the music to work on and in you. Allow the music to heal you. Allow the music to guide you. For these songs, your internal compass already knows the way.”
Metse Nihue, as he is known to many, is internationally renowned in the field of Amazonian plant spirit medicine. He calls himself a vegetalista (vegetalist) due to his direct relationship with plants in South America. The Shipibo people of Peru call him an Onaya (medicine man). Many call him a “shaman,” but it’s a term he doesn’t promote.
PLEASE have a candle for this session.
And we will also introduce the projects to protect the Amazon ecosystem, including the ways of living of the indigenous peoples in the rainforest, that a portion of your donations will go to.
In the last hour, we will invite you to join in a dialogue to give voice to the experience and field of nonseparation with Earth that we have created over the 24-hours of the vigil.
Following the initial fire ceremony, we meditate for one hour in silence.
12:00 – 12:45 UTC Silent Meditation
13:00 – 14:00 UTC Closing & Call to Action
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. Vigils activate deep forces and connectivity within us.
One World Bearing Witness is a new kind of ritual that allows us to come together globally to show our love and respect for the Earth and all of Life on our beloved home.
Using the connectivity of the latest web-based videoconferencing, communities across the planet will be able to join together in meditation to express and create a deeper experience of interdependence with Earth.
“Bearing witness” has a deep spiritual, historical, and psychological significance that all relate to the intention behind One World Bearing Witness. Essentially, we bring our presence, care, and awareness to the deepest truth we can touch, in the face of all that divides and acts against Life.
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.
Roshi Bernie Glassman has revitalized the practice of bearing witness through his bearing witness retreats in Auschwitz, Rwanda, Bosnia, and other places that hold cultural trauma. One World Bearing Witness is held within his tradition.
You can bear witness in silent meditation in our Zoom Room videoconference. Each of the seven 3-hour Meditation Cycles will present a different theme for bearing witness.
We are inspired in our work by Roshi Bernie Glassman, founder of Zen Peacemakers International. His “three tenets” have guided bearing witness retreats in Auschwitz, Rwanda, and on Native American reservations in the US. The tenets are:
NOT-KNOWING – letting go of fixed ideas about yourself, others, and the universe;
BEARING WITNESS – to the joy and suffering of the world, which means holding both in open awareness and full presence; and
TAKING ACTION – that arises from Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness.
Our hope is that this 24-hour vigil will inspire new actions rooted in the joyous depth of nonseparation and a recognition of the pain of division.
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 and Berlin, 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 right before December 8.
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 full, three-hour meditation 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.
First, thank you very much for donating! The donations help to support the producers of the vigil, emerge bewusstseinskultur e.V., which is a German educational charity, and Zen Peacemakers International, a public charity in the US. emerge-bk is the parent of One World in Dialogue and One World Bearing Witness. A portion of each donation will also be given to organizations fighting for the integrity of the Amazon and its peoples.
Yes! If you sign up for the vigil, we will send you access to each speaker’s recording as soon as possible after the vigil.
You can always contact us through our customer service email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For the event itself, we will send out additional ways for you to get the help you need. We strongly recommend that you test your internet connection and try out Zoom before the event starts. We have a very small volunteer staff and, on the day of the vigil, it can take some time before we can get back to you. We wouldn’t want you to miss the parts that you want to participate in!