If you’d like to experience this guided meditation with images, here’s the youtube version: https://youtu.be/bT-DbKga6nc
Recently, I read an article that described a research project done by a woman in Germany. It was published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin and addressed a subject that I have experienced and promoted for many years. The research looked at the relationship between a person’s sense of greater life satisfaction and a belief in oneness, “…the idea that everything in the world is connected and interdependent.”
Two things struck me about this research. First, that it was published by the American Psychological Association gave me hope that the concept of oneness is becoming more mainstream, or at least on its way to that, and secondly that this belief has a positive impact on people regardless of their religion.Continue Reading
Over recent months, I have found myself painfully aware of everything I throw in the trash in the course of my everyday life. Being a long-time recycler, I’ve always been mindful of my use of paper, bottles, cans, and other recyclables. Lately, I’ve been aware of all the plastic that lands in my trashcan, with new additions just about every day. About a year ago, I started shopping with canvas bags and stopped using small plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. While these steps won’t save the planet, they do cut down on the amount of plastic that moves through and from my home.
This deepened awareness of plastic, and all the photos we now see of what plastics are doing to the inhabitants of our oceans and other waterways, got me to thinking about the natural capacity we humans have to generate options when confronted by circumstances that demand change.
Confronted as we are by mounting evidence that our current lifestyle cannot continue unchanged, I got to thinking about the importance of our innate curiosity, flexibility, and ability to generate options when circumstances require change. Drawing on these skills as part of everyday living is like engaging in exercise each day. It builds a kind of “psychological muscle” that allows curiosity, flexibility, and an ability to generate options to become more readily and spontaneously available as part of how we engage the world around us.Continue Reading
If you would like to have this audio meditation with photographs, here’s the youtube version:
As I sit to write this week’s practice, I find myself orienting to some recent research that was brought to my attention. At a time when we need increased empathy for all life forms, for all our kin and for the earth itself, it seems that there is a new trend. The report shows that people in the United States, where the research was conducted, have shifted in their relationship to empathy. Whereas people used to feel empathy in general, it now seems that it is becoming normalized not to care about what happens to people who are outside a person’s immediate sphere of relations. It seems that anyone outside the “tribe” doesn’t deserve empathy. Instead, people tend to blame the victim instead of opening their hearts to the suffering of people who are different—be they different because of ethnicity or different because of their beliefs or lifestyle.
We can see reflected in the state of our planet’s environmental destruction, with the extinction of species caused by human activity, and with the escalating levels of conflict between so many groups of people all around the planet that we need a collective awakening to the cost of being empathically disconnected from one another.
Because of this new trend toward less empathy, it feels more important than ever to engage practices that cultivate empathy and compassion not only for the people we know, but for all life—to make empathy a true practice of the heart.Continue Reading