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DC Street Retreat
October 1, 2022
Bearing Witness to Life on the Streets
Bearing witness to life on the streets is a way to plunge into the unknown, which is crucial to our practice of healing the gap of separation between others and ourselves. We become more observant of ourselves and our surroundings. From this increased awareness, healing takes place.
We will live on the streets with no resources other than our true nature. We will beg for money, find places to get food, a place to sleep, bathrooms, etc. By bearing witness in this situation, we start to directly see our impulses, assumptions, prejudices, and boundaries. Practicing with Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness we experience our interconnection, recognize our common humanness, and realize our responsibilities.
We begin our begging practice before our retreat starts by assembling a mala, or beads that are strung together and worn like a bracelet or necklace. Each bead represents a person who sponsors that participant’s street retreat, and the entire mala represents the community of support. We will wear our malas on the street retreat. Money collected through this begging practice will go to the social service agencies and public non-profit organizations that will support our lives on the street and to support the social action projects at Bread Loaf Mountain.
“When we go… to bear witness to life on the streets, we’re offering ourselves. Not blankets, not food, not clothes, just ourselves.” – Bernie Glassman, Bearing Witness
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