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Join Me In Bearing Witness

This Saturday, on the 9th Anniversary of the Sept. 11th Terrorist attacks members of the Tea Party will be holding a rally to express disapproval of a planned mosque and Muslim cultural center near the former site of the world trade centers.  Various groups and individuals will be holding a counter protest, organized by the International Action Center, to express solidarity and refute what they view as a racist sentiments coming from the Tea Party movement.

I will be meditating at this rally, first marching with the the Unity and Solidarity movement from city hall at 1pm, and then finding a place to sit during the main protest at 2pm. I invite anyone to come join me in this sitting.  

I will be holding a sign that reads "Bearing Witness", which will be my approach for this rally.   There are deep wounds that exist on both sides of this debate, and regardless of how I feel personally about this issue, I wish to inject a component of non-judgement into the event.

"Bearing Witness" is one of the principles of the Zen Peacemakers, it is meant to encourage non-reactivity in potentially volatile situations.  When confronted with situations in which we would normally react, what happens when we look closely at the reactive impulse instead?    

I don't know what will happen, but I invite you to join me. Please send me an e-mail if you would like more info, or if you know for sure that you would like to participate.

[email protected]

Secondarily, if someone is interested in beginning the day marching with the Tea Party group and meeting up in the middle to meditate, I think we could learn a lot by sharing our experiences.

In peace,


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great work

Patrick, thanks for doing this. I think the ZP tenents apply in any life situation, but particularly here. the concepts aren't specific to that group -- I heard ajahn amaro speak in ny on a day that there had been a demonstration in favor of bombing iran in central park, and he said he felt he had to go there (in his monk's robes) and simply bear witness. he said a couple of things that I try to remember:
-- "If we are aware, with unbiased compassionate attention, our attitude will respond in the best way possible to what is needed."
-- "There's no excuse to be contentious, but sometimes we have to be fierce."
-- "Just because you're compassionate and kind to someone doesn't mean you won't obstruct their activities."

I think going there to mediate is such a good thing; I actually was planning to go to the Montague Farm zendo Saturday, but maybe I'll head south to NYC instead. sending much healing and compassionate energy that way in any case, and I look forward to your report back.
best, nancyt (and no complaints about the website, my usual subject in communicastions to you)

Bearing Witness

Hey Patrick! I'm pleased to see that you are using the Bearing Witness approach. I'd like to add a bit. As you know, Bearing Witness is the second of the three tenets of the Zen Peacemakers: Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness and Loving Actions. As you explain, Bearing Witness is about non-reactivity. It is about avoiding knee-jerk reactions based on assumptions or political dogma. From a sense of Not-Knowing, we Bear Witness to the joy and suffering around us. We really listen to the Muslims trying to build the mosque and to those who oppose it. We allow ourselves to feel what they feel. Coming from this space, we take Loving Actions that heal ourselves and others. Wish I could be there!

forgot to say

Oops, forgot to say who it was from! (I had forgotten my password to sign in) This is Ari Pliskin from Zen Peacemakers.


Thanks Ari,

      I think the three tenets together are very important.  Thanks for filling those in.  The Loving Action aspect will likely be the most challenging point for me.

There is a basic summary of the three tenets available here, do you know of any podcasts or webpages with a more in depth discussion available?


Hi Patrick, this is a wonderful idea and I can't think of a better way to be a part of this challenging situation. I look forward to hearing how it went. I'll be at Shambhala all day Saturday or I'd be sitting with you myself.



Thanks Jon, I'll report back

Thanks Jon, I'll report back next week.

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