This week, I have a request to make of those who read these practices and are willing to engage in a subtle activism activity on behalf of our collective human family. I’d like to ask everyone to take five minutes each day—it doesn’t matter when—to do the practice of Tonglen. The specific focus of the Tonglen practice in this subtle activism activity is on breathing in our collective fear and hatred and breathing out compassion, peace, love, ease, or whatever quality you would like to offer to our human family. If this practice resonates with you, I would ask you to consider making it a daily practice on a regular basis, not just for this week.
I’ve written about Tonglen many times and there are links to the practice on my website under Written Meditations – https://www.nancynapier.com/category/meditations/. For this week’s activity, I’d like to write a brief version of a Tonglen-like practice for this subtle activism activity. Because many people may not have done Tonglen before, and may not be thrilled with the idea of breathing fear and hatred into their heart, I’ve written up a “derivation” of Tonglen drawn from my early spiritual upbringing.Read More “756th Week: A Subtle Activism Request”
An area of interest I’ve had for more than 40 years is the creative possibility inherent in what quantum physics has to say about the world. Thirty-eight years ago, I began to work actively with what I called the optimal future self, for want of a more precise term. This work had to do with inviting people to access the part of themselves that had already resolved whatever they sought to achieve, heal, or develop and depended, as it does to this day, on accessing the body state, the lived-in felt-sense, of the optimal future self.
At that time, I used the word “future” to imply something that wasn’t yet on board, even though in quantum terms past, present, and future come together in an ever-present now. It’s as though we can reach into a timeless realm of possibility and extract something that has an impact on our present-day lives. Over all these years, I have been personally affected by this practice in powerful ways and have watched countless others have beneficial outcomes as a result of reaching into “as-yet-to-be-realized” possibilities.
Because of these experiences, I find myself orienting to optimal futures during this time of deep and necessary demands for change in how we humans live with each other and with our planet. The results of the current pandemic, the devastating impact of the history of white supremacy in the United States, and the crisis we humans have created with our planetary environment all speak to me about an urgent need to orient to optimal possibilities for our future on the planet.Read More “789th Week: Accessing Optimal Futures”
For many of us, these are trying times and it can be challenging not to fall into collapse and discouragement over our collective political, social, and ecological situation. One of the things I’ve found helpful is to remember that there tend to be natural and inevitable cycles that shift what’s been in the foreground to the background and vice versa. When things look the worst, it sometimes means that change is just around the corner, that the pendulum is reading to swing the other way. Read More “696th Week: Trusting in Cycles”
Brain research offers many new insights into the impact of our everyday attitudes and ways of being affect us as we move through our daily lives. Recently, I heard an interview on NPR where a neuroscientist talked about recent research in gratitude and its effects on neurotransmitters. The upshot of the interview was that focusing on gratitude automatically generates increased dopamine and serotonin. Both of these neurotransmitters are part of our “feel good” chemistry.
What was both intriguing and encouraging about the information offered in the interview was that it didn’t take an enormous amount of effort to elicit this neurochemical change in the brain. It got me to thinking about… Read More “674th Week: Cultivating Gratitude for Greater Well-Being”
Without doubt, we live in challenging times locally and globally. I’ve written before about the importance of being able to return to the steadiness that is always at the core of our being as a way to manage the collective distress and suffering that can come into our awareness in any moment. It’s equally important to have access to what’s known as the “noticing” part of our brain, the aspect of our awareness that arises within our present-day observer. Janina Fisher writes about this part of the brain in her new book, “Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists”.
The observer function is very different from the internal critic or judge. It’s that aspect of our awareness that notices, that mindfully observes. This kind of mindful awareness offers us an opportunity to choose how we want to respond to what comes our way. It can allow us to do so in a non-reactive, or at least less-reactive, way.
Below is a brief practice for cultivating the “noticing” brain, especially focused on those times when you move toward becoming overwhelmed by all that’s going on your life, in our collective human family, and with our beleaguered planet.Read More “845th Week: Cultivating the “Noticing” Brain”