Listening to a recent conversation on Buddha at the Gas Pump (www.batgap.com), the host, Rick Archer, and guest, Roger Walsh, talked about the ethics that relate to spiritual practice. This got me to thinking about the ethics of many kinds of practice, among them kindness, gratitude, generosity. As I listened to the interview, it seemed to me that an active expression of ethics is inevitably found in the ways we live, how we move through the world, the values we embrace and embody, what we do that relates to what we believe.
As this week’s practice, I invite you to focus on whatever quality speaks to you most powerfully and then explore what values, ethics, and behaviors arise from that quality. For example, if you choose kindness as your focus of the week’s practice, ask yourself what broader values encompass a life expressed with or through kindness. What beliefs and attitudes emerge naturally from expressions of kindness? What everyday behaviors arise within a context of actively expressing kindness. When you bring this exploration into the foreground of your awareness, what’s different in your interactions with others and in the quality of your thoughts about them and yourself? Keep in mind that your relationship to kindness, your ethics and values around this theme, are in addition to acts of kindness. Here, you are exploring how kindness lives in you, how it affects not only your actions but also your thoughts, attitudes, and values.Read More “779th Week: Embodying the Ethics of Practices We Engage”
A friend sent me this quotation after a particularly violent and challenging week in American life and it touched into an awareness that’s been growing in me over recent years. There is so much suffering within our human family, so many acts of cruelty and violence around the world, and we are aware of so much more of it with the Internet. Because of this, it can be hard to remember wholeness, the wholeness inherent in our human family, when we see so many examples of how we, as a species, are capable of hurting one another.
I was very moved by the quotation from Howard Zinn and wanted to share it as part of this week’s practice. I think that it not only inspires but it also speaks to a powerful and ever-present truth: within wholeness there is more than whatever aspect of it is in the foreground at any given moment in time.
Here’s the quotation: Read More “731st Week: Wholeness”
Walking to work one morning, I was in an area of Central Park where dogs gather for their morning playtime. As often as possible, I walk off the pathways, so I was in the middle of the doggie play area when a dog went by whom I hadn’t seen before. Both hind legs had been amputated and he had one artificial leg in the back to accompany his two front legs. What struck me was how agile he was and how he enjoyed sniffing the ground, moving around with relative ease. His situation looked so different from the many three-legged dogs I see in the park, and I enjoyed watching him move around, nose to the ground, doing regular “dog things”.
As I watched him, I thought about the power inherent in being adaptive and flexible in the presence of life’s challenges, changing circumstances, and unexpected developments. For many of us, the immediate response to change or an unexpected challenge is to pull in and constrict. When we do this, our brain’s natural ability to generate and notice options often goes off-line, leaving us with little to no flexibility.Read More “750th Week: Generating Flexibility”