2021 January Audio Meditation
Audio Meditation | Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

2021 January Audio Meditation

Our theme this year is “wholeness”. Throughout the year, we’ll explore the experience of acknowledging, appreciating, and experiencing what constitutes our individual experience of wholeness and, also, the wholeness of every earth-kin with whom we share this beautiful planet.

If you’d rather see this post on YouTube with images, here’s the link for that…

825th Week: Offering Appreciation to Nature
Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

825th Week: Offering Appreciation to Nature

As I did some exercise in Central Park the other day, I came to a tree that I wanted to greet, so I put my hand on it and kind of leaned in and thanked the tree for being such an important presence in my life. I also asked the tree to extend my appreciation to all the other trees in the park. Together, they create an environment in which we humans can find a degree of comfort and inspiration. As I talked with the tree, a woman walked by and said, “I do that, too!” As I turned to face her, she said it again and we both commented on how lucky we are to have the park as a living part of our urban lives.

Continuing on, I noticed how many other elements of the park speak to me and offer a sense of belonging to something so much more than my individual human self. I noticed, and have as park friends, some of the large boulders that are found throughout Central Park. I also noted and appreciated, as I always do, the earth under my feet, this precious earth. Then, there are the squirrels, hawks, pigeons, rats, and other wildlife who inhabit the park and who appear here and there as I walk along. No insects to honor at this time of year, but they’ll be back come Spring.

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824th Week: Returning to Steadiness Revisited
Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

824th Week: Returning to Steadiness Revisited

With all that has happened in the United States since January 6th, it seems a good time to revisit the process of returning to steadiness. Also, it’s a time to keep in mind that where we place our awareness and attention has an impact on the quality of reality that we experience and engage.

For many of us, it’s challenging to even begin to imagine how we will collectively heal the polarities and divisions we see not only in the United States, but all around the planet. I have framed this current situation as a potential “healing crisis”, where we are seemingly stuck in a collective situation that seems not to have an easy or ready solution.

In my recent return to explorations into dynamics that are more “quantum” in nature, I have been inviting myself to be curious as to how to orient myself to the idea of an “optimal human family” living on the planet in ways that support healthy living for everyone, including our non-human earth-kin. I’ve done this in much the same way as I have worked with the concept of the “optimal future self” over the past almost 40 years. 

When I think of the idea of an “optimal human family”, I recognize that I have no way to envision specifics around this potential. So, drawing on what I have done with the “optimal future self” over all these years, I find myself calling on this potential, more than imagining it, and asking for it to move into this reality, holding the assumption that such a process is possible.

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823rd Week: Beginnings, Intentions, Probabilities
Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

823rd Week: Beginnings, Intentions, Probabilities

I write this practice on the first weekend of the new year. The year just passed brought many challenges, not the least of which has been our global, collective experience with Covid 19. Other challenges arose, as well, bringing with them an inescapable awareness of cultural beliefs and norms that need to be updated, changed, eliminated, or transformed depending on what they represent and what they support in our social consciousness and behavior. 

I’ve also been thinking about the intersection between deeply held intentions and what has been called the “quantum foam”—the arena in which an infinite array of probabilities may be found. In quantum research and theory, it has become apparent that probabilities dance in and out of reality all the time, responding in part to the “observer effect”. For me, this equates with how our deep choices interact outside our conscious awareness with the emergence of particular probabilities and I find this a much more dynamic and creative idea than our usual “New Year’s resolutions” type of activity.

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822nd Week: Honoring Our Earth-Kin
Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

822nd Week: Honoring Our Earth-Kin

As I begin to put together the year-long offerings of audio meditations on my website, I’ve been thinking about the focus for the coming year. Lately, I’ve had a deepening awareness of the importance of experiencing all the other life on this beautiful planet as “earth-kin”. We are all related, all children of the same mother planet, and many of us humans have been taught that we are somehow superior or “more evolved” than our other earth-kin. 

I recently read a book, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”, by Frans de Waal, that addresses this humancentric bias. De Waal offers many examples of how our research on other earth-kin has tended to orient to human assumptions and human ways of doing things. One of my favorite examples had to do with making a mark on an elephant’s face or head and then having this earth-kin look in a mirror to see if he or she recognized themselves. They didn’t and someone realized that the problem wasn’t that elephants can’t recognize themselves but rather that the mirrors weren’t elephant sized. Once large enough mirrors were provided, the elephants immediately recognized that something was on their face and responded appropriately. 

Another example had to do with research on gibbons, where researchers decided that they weren’t as intelligent as other primates because they couldn’t do a particular task that required them to use their hands in a certain way. A young researcher noticed that the task was oriented to human hands and not to the way that gibbons use theirs. When the experiment was retooled to reflect gibbon digits and manipulation, not surprisingly they performed as well as any other primate.

It can be both surprising and startling to know that slime mold does very well solving the challenge of a maze, better and faster than some other kinds of earth-kin. It can also be surprising to know that some species chose to evolve toward more complexity while others chose to evolve into less complexity, each and all having their own style of measurable intelligence. Here’s a link to a quick video about slime mold moving through a maze and also creating a complex network of connections that match the design of the Tokyo rail system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyzT5b0tNtk

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821st week: Finding Ways to Share Resources
Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

821st week: Finding Ways to Share Resources

As the pandemic has continued, and as someone who has been able to work throughout this time, I’ve been exploring ways to donate money and offer support to people who have lost their jobs. With so many people losing work, facing evictions from their homes and experiencing food scarcity, it seems fundamentally important to share resources in whatever ways we can manage. A psychotherapy colleague recently shared with me a way she is responding to the current crisis for people experiencing food scarcity during the pandemic. She located a food bank that was running out of various food items and arranged with Fresh Direct to make a weekly delivery to the food bank. A ministry colleague celebrated his birthday by asking people to donate money to a food bank in his area. 

I was truly inspired to read an article about MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon.com. MacKenzie is worth many billions of dollars. She has pledged to give away the majority of her fortune—and she has been true to her word. Here’s a link to the article about how she is doing this: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-15/mackenzie-scott-gives-away-4-2-billion-within-four-months

This got me to thinking about how important it is to be aware of local needs in each of our communities, along with whatever other financial support those of us who are working can offer to local as well as larger non-profit organizations. For this week’s practice, I invite you to do some investigating as to the needs of your local community, or even your immediate neighborhood, and to see what you might offer by way of sharing resources. 

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