For those of you who prefer to have images with your meditation, here’s a link to the youtube version for this month.
The other day, two things happened in rapid succession that got me to thinking about how we interact with each other in our everyday world. Going downstairs in an elevator in my apartment building one morning, two people got on at different floors as the elevator went down to the lobby and both of them, as soon as they were in the elevator, locked their attention onto their phones. No “good morning” or “how are you”…just immediately heads down writing texts. Then, when I was out on the street, I noticed that most people were so engrossed in their phones that some people were nearly bumping into others. That same morning, while walking across the park, I also noticed the people who were looking at their phones rather than the trees, dogs, or other people.
All this got me to thinking about how we have been programmed in recent years not to take time to notice or interact with one another in ways that were a matter of course in the years I was growing into adulthood. Watching people almost bump into each other while walking along, and being present to absolute silence in the elevator (which doesn’t happen all the time, for sure), touched into a sense of a different level of disconnection from one another than I am used to observing and/or experiencing. This sense of disconnection seems to me to also show up in Facebook posts, and I’m sure also in other places, where people’s comments about public figures or one another are stunningly disrespectful.
As I have continued to notice people locking in on their phones in situations where, in prior years, there might have been a bit of polite conversation, I got to wondering what would happen if I decided to make a concerted effort not only to be cordial to people along the way, but also to emphasize—in my thoughts as well as my actions—an active attitude of respect. One of the results of this practice is that I just about always say hello to people on the elevator, unless they are already engrossed in their phones. These are brief encounters, but I feel better when I’ve acknowledged someone who’s sharing the elevator ride with me. It’s not that I press for conversation. Instead, it’s just an acknowledgment that there are more than just myself sharing the same space.Continue Reading
In our world at this time, the Internet allows us to see more vividly the impact and effects of how we aren’t figuring out how to be in a world that thrives on diversity. This is an unfortunate response that encounters disagreements about worldview and beliefs and turns them into a response that views people with whom we disagree as “other”. Because of my belief in, and experience of, a fundamental oneness underlying reality, it isn’t really possible to have anyone or anything be an “other”. Everything and everyone are kin within a context of oneness, or what Thich Nhat Hanh and Charles Eisenstein call “interbeing”.
What I’d like to offer this week is a practice that supports a sense of connection with everything around us. Deepening this sense of connection can have an impact on how we perceive and respond to the world and may serve to support more constructive responses when we are confronted by people or situations with which we disagree.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t many times when we come up against situations that need to be changed. This isn’t a call not to act on our own behalf and that of others. Instead, it’s an invitation to remember that, even when we may vehemently disagree with what someone is doing, or with a situation that is untenable, we still remember that we are all connected within a fabric of life that weaves us together as kin. And, our kin are comprised of every kind of life form we encounter along the way, not just human beings.Continue Reading
With the recent passing of Ram Dass, I am even more aware of something I read in his most recent book, “Walking Each Other Home”. A practice he took on and used every day touched me when I read the book, and I have taken it up as a regular practice of mine. I would like to share it with you. At the moment, I can’t remember if he used this mantra in conjunction with his breathing, but he constantly repeated the words “I am loving awareness.” I mentally say it to myself on the out-breath.
What touches me powerfully about this statement is how it automatically orients me to my heart awareness, which is something that our world desperately needs at this time. I’ve mentioned many times that we affect our environment all the time, whether we intend to or not. As you move through your daily activities, where you place your attention impacts both your internal quality of life and the quality of our collective human consciousness. You cannot not radiate into our human collective the quality of your inner life.Continue Reading