As I read posts on Facebook and listen to newscasts and talk shows, I am constantly surprised at the intensity and harshness of some of the language that people now use as part of a debate or conversation about charged issues. More than once, Read More “Week 658: The Impact of Words”
887th Week: Orienting to Lovingkindness
Note: At the end of this written practice is a recording of the Lovingkindness meditation. Please remember never to listen to recorded meditations while driving or using dangerous machinery.
The practice at the center of this week’s offering is heart-oriented. I’ve written many times about the importance of accessing and listening to the “heart-brain”, as it has a different take on many things compared to what the “head-brain” perceives and understands.
In our current political climate, characterized by a style of interaction that began 30 to 40 years ago, there is a new habit of thinking about the “other” in deeply negative terms with labels such as “devils”, “traitors”, “enemies”. This style of interaction has moved about as far from heart-centered styles of perception and interaction as possible. In the years before the current style of political conversation started, people understood that there are disagreements about policies, but this didn’t lead to a direct attack on the characteristics and attributes of colleagues.
All this got me to thinking about the importance of remembering that we are one human family and that we need each other in order to survive. It also orients me to the practice of lovingkindness, where I can remember and affirm that all living beings want the same thing—to be free from suffering and to be happy. It’s sometimes hard to access this awareness when it feels like we have lost the ability to disagree with one another without an attack and alienation as part of that disagreement.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to orient to lovingkindness, if you aren’t doing this kind of practice already. This means to remember that anyone and everyone you encounter along the way wants the same thing. It can be helpful to remember that people who tend go attack are often being driven by fear.
Here’s one version of Lovingkindness practice that I have on my website:
How to use this Meditation Exercise:
It’s been my experience that doing this meditation once or twice a week, when you have time to really sit with it and enter into the spirit of what it touches, can have a powerful healing effect over time. Doing it regularly in this way creates a state of mind that promotes greater self-acceptance, compassion, tolerance, and ease with ourselves and also with others. It also offers a way to experience and honor mixed feelings while continuing to open your heart. (Note: Doing this practice doesn’t preclude feeling outrage or the need to take action on behalf of social and environmental justice…) If you choose to experiment with this meditation, give it several months to have an effect and notice how you feel as you use it over time.Read More “”
I taught a workshop the other day and was keenly aware of the importance and power of presence as it affects not only ourselves but the space and people around us. This professional workshop focused on helping clients become more grounded and have the ability to re-center after becoming activated. As we all came together for the day, I could feel the qualities of our combined presence and found myself emphasizing the presence of the practitioner as the main element in any healing process.
On a more general note, I’m also always aware of the importance and power of presence as we move through our everyday lives. There isn’t a moment that we aren’t radiating the qualities of our personal and collective presence, and our personal presence inevitably impacts not only our own experience but that of everyone we encounter along the way.
This got me to thinking of the ways in which we can become more mindful of the qualities of our personal presence, and of the importance of being able to notice when we radiate negative or hurtful qualities and need to make available the choice to reorient ourselves and “dial in” a different mood state, quality of consciousness, or focus of our attention.Read More “758th Week: The Importance and Power of Presence”
Sitting in Central Park one weekend morning, a morning that was cloudy and quiet in the park, I felt a deep sense of peace radiating from all the trees around me. The quality of the trees and the environment they evoked reminded me of the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”, where people go amongst trees to soak in the healing that naturally emerges.
Attuning to the peaceful quality of the trees is, for me, similar to tuning in to a particular radio station, television channel, or on-line program. It reminded me, yet again, of the importance and power of mindful awareness, of being able to choose where I focus my attention… Read More “692nd Week: Resonating with the Essence of Peace”
As I write this practice, those of us in the US are in the midst of an election process that generally moves along smoothly. Many of us have voted early, many by mail, and because of Covid many by absentee ballots. Because of the mail and absentee ballots, including those that always come from our neighbors in the military, the vote count is taking its natural time to allow for tabulation of each and every vote. People on every side of every issue feel the stress of wondering what the final outcome of a number of races will be.
One of the practices that I have cultivated over the last four years has been to strengthen both my access to, and experience of, the inherent steadiness that lives in the core of my body-mind being. It’s a steadiness that lives in the core of everyone, although often not easily recognized by Western culture, which hasn’t historically emphasized an embodied way of being.
For this week, I invite you to follow the practice below to both access a deeper awareness of the steadiness in you but also to invite yourself to radiate this steadiness into our collective consciousness and into your immediate environment. It’s important to keep in mind that the steadiness to which I refer in this practice is an aspect of your being that cannot be disturbed. It is not affected by the ups and downs of everyday life nor is it rattled or upset by what unfolds in the world around you. It is an aspect of the fundamental core of your being and, if you follow any spiritual practices, represents that aspect of you that arises from your Source, whatever you imagine that to be.Read More “815th Week: Radiating Steadiness”