Belonging to Earth.
December 5-6, 2020 - A 24-Hour Online Global Vigil
Join for as long as you are inspired.
Bear Witness to the Living Earth
We are Earth.
Just like Earth, our bodies are 70% water,
with the same proportion of salt as the oceans.
Our bones are made strong by limestone
that comes from prehistoric shellfish.
Every atom of our body
has been a rock or a butterfly or a daisy or a lion.
What we call mountain, air, and ocean
are the bones, the breath, and the blood
of our most ancient ancestors
and our future descendants.
We belong to Earth.
Come together for the Earth--Mother & Home to All
To join thousands of humans across our planet to bear witness in joy and gratitude to our cosmic mother, Earth.
During one full rotation of the Earth, from the 5th to the 6th of December 2020, 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 to all of humanity.
At the end of such a difficult year–with the coronavirus, economic collapse, division and polarization, raging fires and storms–let’s come together in gratitude for the life that we all share on our precious planet. Let’s join in affirming the beauty that this Earth makes possible for each of us every day. Let’s celebrate the beautiful world that is the home to all of humanity. Let’s experience the differences between us from a place of curiosity, respect, and care.
One World Bearing Witness is a global, collective spiritual practice. Your guides during the 24 hours will invite you into a diverse and interconnected set of practices, such as meditation, ritual, song, and prayer, to bring our precious awareness and intention together for the sake of all of humanity, the more-than-human world, and our Mother, Earth. We need you to engage so that together we can awaken the unbroken unity that is the deepest truth of our existence.
Bearing Witness is a spiritual practice as well as an act of conscience and heart. 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 the depth of joy that is our birthright and that allows us to embrace the deepest grief. It enables us to hold more of the whole of life and to respond from that wholeness. We connect with the truth that we are not separate from life, our Mother, Earth, or from each other.
You are invited to join the vigil for as long as you are inspired–from one hour to the full 24 or to come and go. You will be supported and guided into meditation, contemplation, stillness, and depth by spiritual leaders and sacred activists from across the globe. We will provide you with materials to help you create a sacred space for this meditative journey. Together, we can create a global field of living connection that helps us to realize how deeply interdependent we are with each other and how completely we belong to Earth.
We are in a planning phase now–we are contacting amazing human beings who have made a deep commitment to life and to Earth that they will share with us. The schedule is starting to come together. You can see it below.
You are welcome to register! Registration is free. If you would like to make a donation, we would appreciate your support. We share donations with organizations that are protecting and supporting Earth through these difficult times for all of her creatures.
Roshi Bernie Glassman: The Three Tenets
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, multitudes around the world, to suffuse spiritual practice with the generosity of action. 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. One Humanity-Belonging to Earth takes inspiration from 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 humanity, our one planet, our One Body.
You are needed
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, and to ground ourselves in love of Life and for our Mother, Earth. We need to face the truth of what has happened and of what is possible when our hearts are broken open. 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. We can face this, grieve because we care, and stay open to the mystery, majesty, and creativity of the Life force that we are–and then take action in concert with the life-giving regenerative powers of Earth.
For 24-hours, you are needed to join in this global experiment and give it your concern, love, depth, joy, 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. Do we have the courage to face it all and still express our gratitude and joy? Can we liberate our hearts in celebration of the life we have been given–together?
Take part in this free, global vigil for humanity…
OPENING CEREMONY INTRODUCTION
13:30 - 15:00 UTC (See Calendar Below)
One World Bearing Witness will begin with a special Maya Ceremony offered by Walther Thomas Mendoza Cholotio from Guatemala. We had asked Thomas to do a traditional Fire Ceremony, but he has told us that the appropriate ceremony for this day involved flowers and calling on the ancestors around the world. So, we are happy to have him make this offering for the vigil. Thomas tells us that December 5, the day of the vigil, is 11 keme in the Mayan cosmology. As he explains, “The 11th invites us to be very divine as humans, but we must be aware that we live in this world but we are not of this world so our passage here has to be of much benefit and consciousness to take care and preserve our Mother Earth because we are only passing through, but she will continue eternally. More than she needs us, we need her. And the invitation is that we are very human to be able to be here but to be able to be conscious with Mother Earth it is necessary to be natural as the animals, as the plants, as the stones. Only in this way we will feel we are children of the Mother.” He speaks Mayan and Spanish; we will have his message translated into English.
Then our hosts, Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold, will speak about the intention behind the vigil and our coming together globally. They will explain the structure of the vigil and suggest how to best contribute to the whole that we are creating together and honoring. They will offer meditation instructions designed to develop the field of consciousness between us. The session will end with a meditation.
MEDITATION SESSION 1:
BEARING WITNESS TO REALITY AS IT IS
15:00 - 15:45 UTC with Juris
16:00 - 16:45 UTC meditation
Juris Rubenis offers a practice of surrendering.
Different forms of such a practice have been known in the world for ages, but Juris will guide you in his own adaptation based on his personal experience.
This practice of imagination requires your readiness to open your mind, heart, and will, to be able to face the whole reality as it is. The only way to let the love win in your life is to surrender to the whole mystery of life. Don’t be afraid to be completely powerless if you want to become a part of the true power, capable to transform the world.
The only world we have is the one which we have right now. No matter how our world, life, reality looks like, we can find inner courage by saying “yes” to it.
MEDITATION SESSION 2:
BEARING WITNESS TO THE WIND
17:00 - 17:45 UTC WITH tIOKASIN
18:00 - 18:45 UTC MEDITATION
Tiokasin Ghosthorse‘s offerings present traditional and contemporary Lakota stories, flute and vocal songs, and Plains sign language. His flute and vocal performances are rich with informative and inspirational stories of historical and modern-day Lakota culture.
MEDITATION SESSION 3:
BEARING WITNESS TO THE VOICE OF EARTH
19:00 - 19:45 UTC with Sabine
20:00 - 20:45 UTC meditation
Do we hear the voice of the earth? Are we ready to empty ourselves and become completely silent? The earth will heal herself if we allow it to. We will cooperate with her – we will work in nature with pleasure and joy and allow the waters to flow freely again when we have rediscovered and understood nature as a nourishing force! Ecology will then become a love affair with the earth.
We will not continue to exploit nature, just as we will not exploit people if we are in trust. We will ask before we touch. We will cooperate instead of dominating. The universe as our great mother will give us all we need. The sun will provide us with enough energy. Its reservoir is as inexhaustible as our inner centre when we rediscover it. We will no longer think out of lack, but learn from the economy of the universe. Here we will find an abundance that is always oriented towards supplying all its elements. If we want to change the world outwardly, we must understand this process in ourselves. It is a comprehensive systemic change that emerges from these simple new orientations. It is the birth of a new culture. It will always honour and protect its sacred sources.
MEDITATION SESSION 4:
BEARING WITNESS TO THE VIRUS
21:00 - 21:45 UTC
22:00 - 22:45 UTC MEDITATION
From Andreas: “In Berlin, Germany, where I write these lines, again we live in lockdown. Again, we are asked to be attentive towards others; to protect them, and us. The coronavirus has put the spotlight on what the web of life desires most of us humans: To accept that we need to enact reciprocity towards other beings. The cosmos’ power to give birth comes from granting reciprocity, from telling the other be served first. Humans are violating this rule, we often do not even see that it is there, that it is the well from which being springs. Being is always shared. The coronavirus reminds us of this, not by teaching a lesson, but by demanding reciprocity from us in our behavior. Now it is reciprocity towards other humans (let us protect those most at risk), but the message calls us to include humans and nonhumans alike. Twenty percent of our human DNA stem from viruses that in ancient times have been incorporated into our own. Reciprocity means to accept that my individuality is a gift from what I am not, and ultimately will fade into what I am not once again.”
MEDITATION SESSION 5:
BEARING WITNESS TO THE SEEDS OF LIFE
23:00 - 23:45 UTC with Flordemayo
00:00 - 00:45 UTC meditation
Seeds for Life
Grandmother Flordemayo is the founder of The Path, a place where the sacred heritage seeds have been protected for future generations, since 2012. Now more than ever it is critical that we protect and increase our heritage seeds for the future and for our communities. Much of the diversity of seeds is being lost as fewer people are planting the original seeds, as modern agriculture has turned to genetically modified and patented seeds to produce our crops.
The seeds in this collection have come from numerous donations of samples of traditional varieties of corn, beans, squash, grains, vegetables, and herbs. Working to preserve these seeds gives us a sense of purpose and unity and fosters the relationships in community, which are our true wealth. We envision a worldwide movement to preserve our sacred seeds.
Blessings of gratitude for those who have maintained the Path and Grandmother Flordemayo’s work for humanity.
BEARING WITNESS TO THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH
01:00 - 01:45 UTC WITH Ruth & Sach'a
Ruth Langford and Sach’a Sawila will join voices under the Southern Cross–connecting Tasmania, Australia and Argentina.
As Ruth explains, “As this is a combined offering I would like us to consider the process of birthing. Traditionally, we sing to the mother and baby to ease the pain and bring focus on the magnificence that is to come. Perhaps this is something we could host. Singing the birthing of our new way of Being.”
MEDITATION SESSION 6:
BEARING WITNESS TO OUR ANCESTORS
02:00 - 02:45 UTC with Rami
03:00 - 03:45 UTC meditation
Now is our Ancestors
We are nurtured by our connection to our ancestors. Our spirits are fortified by knowing they are at our back. Can we fathom that our ancestors expand beyond our human predecessors, to this very Earth, Sky and Oceans? If we are the ongoing expression of this unfolding Now, can we fathom that we are never separate from our ancestors? What if every thought, every feeling, every word and action, are in fact a karmic expression of our ancestors, of infinity, right now? Would every healing act, word or thought, be an ancestor that is being healed? How would such a view affect our lives purpose concerning humanity and this planet? In this session, we will acknowledge, re-connect, resource, ask for guidance and heal our own biological and spiritual ancestors and those of others, and weave our diverse and unique threads into the great fabric of humanity & planet.
MEDITATION SESSION 7:
BEARING WITNESS TO OUR INTERBEING WITH EARTH
04:00 - 04:45 UTC WITH LOUISE MARRA
05:00 - 05:45 UTC MEDITATION
Recovering our interbeing is vital for our future and our living planet. We are living planet, we are nature, we are always in a collaborative dance of inter-seeing, inter-acting, inter-being, inter-flowing, we just have lost the awareness of this connection. In this session, we will bear witness to the restoration of our deep connectedness with the living planet.
Please have with you some soil from where you live or a bowl of water if you live on a water body.
MEDITATION SESSION 8:
BEARING WITNESS TO THE ENERGY OF HEAVEN & EARTH
06:00 - 06:45 UTC with Paul Wang
07:00 - 07:45 UTC meditation
Due to troubles with internet stability, Paul will offer a talk in which he guides us in qigong as well as guiding walking and sitting meditation. In this, we will experience the balance between Heaven and Earth through the energy of our bodies and the cosmos.
MEDITATION SESSION 9:
BEARING WITNESS TO THE CRY FOR PEACE & HEALING
08:00 - 08:45 UTC WITH RIPPLES OF PEACE
09:00 - 09:45 UTC MEDITATION
Breathing forward together…
Breathing together, we experience our ONE BREATH… we find our common humanity, our inherent unity with each other and with the EARTH.
Breathing forward, we embrace all the sufferings and learn the lessons from the current pandemic, the climate crisis and all other crises around us…
And with compassion, courage and gratitude, we take steps together to build a better life for ourselves and our ONE HOME, ONE PLANET.
The Ripples of Peace project offers a refuge for peace and healing in these challenging times. It brings together people from different religions and economic and socio-political backgrounds to celebrate the rich diversity of our faiths and build a COMMON SPACE for PEACE and HEALING in ourselves and in our wider community. It has become clear that the only way for us, humans to survive the challenges of the present times is for us to heal our separateness and affirm our true nature as ONE humanity. The project aims to bring across the message that inspite of differences of opinions, beliefs or ideologies, we can still be ONE in Prayer and in the SILENCE of our HEARTS. It hopes to contribute to bringing back the energy of calmness and the spirit of mutual understanding and oneness in our society. In this sacred space, it is hoped that we can find our personal and collective part in the GREAT TURNING, the GREAT BECOMING now happening in the whole of creation.
MEDITATION SESSION 10:
BEARING WITNESS IN THE JOY OF GRATITUDE
10:00 - 10:45 UTC with Vibha Sri
11:00 - 11:45 UTC meditation
When was the last time you expressed gratitude to someone or for something in your life? In the busy-ness of daily life, we hardly take out time to pause, pay attention and appreciate all that we are given. And by not doing so, we miss out on something which has the potential to enhance not only overall well-being but also of Mother Earth. Whatever we appreciate, we nurture and we care for. Gratitude brings to our awareness that we all are interconnected and nourishes a sense of belonging. When we acknowledge and appreciate, in that moment we come in contact with all that is sacred. Therefore, being grateful is equivalent to feeling the presence of the divine in our lives. Being grateful is much more than a simple act of saying “thank you.” When one fully acknowledges the beauty in all that surrounds and counts one’s blessings, one is open to receive more of these very things. Gratitude is a moment rooted in heart, an authentic praise that raises the vibrations. Let’s nourish our spirits by experiencing how being grateful fosters a sense of deeper connection with self, with our physical body and Mother Earth. Through simple gratitude practices we will engage in appreciating all that is. Together, we will experience moments of joy and practice to integrate gratitude in our day to day life.
12:00 - 13:30 UTC
Our hosts, Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold, will be joined by Wael Farouq, who will bring us wisdom about religious diversity from Islam. And we will have a closing message and kind of prayer about these challenging times from Amazon Watch. Following the closing, we will guide all participants into dialogue to speak about the collective experience and the pull to respond.
Elizabeth Debold & Thomas Steininger
This is in your timezone to help you plan.
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. 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.
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!