Yesterday I overheard someone say, ‘I’d love to be a fly on the wall!’
He meant he’d love to be able to observe certain people and hear what they said about a particular subject without them knowing he was there.
Why would he want to do this?
Because we want to know what’s really going on, what other people’s hidden intentions or agendas are, what they’re like when they think no one is watching or listening. No one notices a fly on the wall, drinking it all in.
But a better way to spend your time is to be a fly on the wall of your own life.
Watch yourself. Listen to yourself.
What’s really going on? What are your hidden intentions and agendas? What thoughts are you not facing? What are you running away from? What does your body language say about you? What masks are you wearing?
If you weren’t you, what would you think of yourself?
My father, a truck driver and lay preacher, told us when we were children:
Watch yourself walk by.
He’d already taught us that God was watching us all the time, which was spooky enough. Now he was telling us to watch ourselves as well, which provided a double check on whatever we did or said.
I’ve since dropped my fear of an all-seeing eye in the sky, but the idea of stepping outside myself and watching me walk by, has stayed. It’s an instructive exercise. It’s a form of meditation. Not judging. Not psychoanalyzing. Just perceiving. Then stepping back into my body and moving on, with new insight of how to do life better. Being more conscious.
Mindfulness and the Witnessing Presence
When I’m caught up in myself, trapped inside my mind, I’m unconscious. My life plays out like an old-fashioned record — the grooves already cut by my accumulative thoughts and emotions.
When I become the idiomatic fly on the wall, or watch myself walk by, I have an opportunity to be what Eckhart Tolle calls ‘the witnessing presence’. In this state, awareness arises. Consciousness grows.
So, don’t waste time wishing you were a fly on the wall of other people’s lives.
Be a fly on your own wall.
And, for variety, watch yourself walk by.
Be your own witnessing presence.
With love, Marlane
Original version published on Medium.com/Illumination