I’ve been reading a lot about social justice lately, as well as the challenges of moving out of the assumptions and institutions of white supremacy. The process has been yet another reminder of the importance and impact of unexamined perceptions and beliefs. I’ve written many times about engaging in acts of kindness and my recent reading has brought to the foreground of awareness the importance of cultivating and orienting to thoughts and self-talk focused on and arising from kindness.
Our habits of mind matter more than we may realize. In a sense, they are a form of ongoing self-hypnosis through which we program ourselves and emit the quality and tone of awareness and being that characterize how we move through the world and how we feel about, and treat, ourselves. The goal of the following practice isn’t to create an internal battle, argument, or conflict when noticing the unkind thoughts and actions that we may do without awareness. Because I have such a deep belief in wholeness, I understand that there will always be things arising in me that I may not enjoy experiencing, but they are part of an unbroken wholeness that is true of everyone.
Many times, I’ve written about the foreground/background dynamic of our wholeness. Sometimes something pops into the foreground of our thinking or behaving that we don’t particularly like, something that arises as one of the habits of mind that comes with years of conditioning. The good news is that anything that pops into the foreground can be invited into the background and replaced by something we would rather experience and/or express. It’s a matter of cultivating the kind of awareness that can compassionately notice when we’ve gone off track and that can then gently call us back to ourselves.Read More “877th Week: Cultivating Kindness As a Habit of Mind”
For quite a long while now, I have invited myself and others to find the fundamental and ever-present steadiness that is an inherent part of our core presence. Within this living presence of centered and grounded awareness, there is always a steadiness that is undisturbed by anything that may be happening in our lives. It’s a practice I’ve cultivated and returned to again and again, and the habit of orienting to the steadiness that cannot be disturbed has proven to be a powerful and useful resource.
One example of the benefits of settling into the underlying steadiness we all carry at the core of our being is a mundane one, but one that has had particular importance to me. As the child in my family who felt responsible for caring for my mother’s happiness (definitely a child’s perspective!), I developed an underlying anxiety around caregiving. Needless to say, this anxiety was readily present over the years whenever animal members of my family needed medication or some other challenging treatment. Inevitably, I would be anxious—anything but calm—and that never helped. What I discovered in recent weeks, when three feline members of my household had medical issues come up, is that my practice of orienting to my internal steadiness has offered an opportunity to meet these medical needs with a calm presence that I didn’t know was possible.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following practice to see what it might offer to you.Read More “856th Week: Returning to Steadiness”
I had an experience recently where a colleague brought to my attention that three years’ worth of postings to one of my websites had never actually shown up for the pubic. I mentioned last week that I post a daily inspirational quotation and photograph to the Devadana Sanctuary Facebook page, and I also post it to the Devadana Sanctuary website. What I discovered is that the posts to the website were incorrectly programmed by me and never appeared… Read More “690th Week: Meeting Challenges”
864th Week: Subtle Activism on Behalf of Ukraine
As I sit down to write a practice for this week, I can’t seem to be anywhere but with my concern for Ukraine as the Russian invasion occurs. That’s where my heart is staying at the moment, so I wanted to offer a practice that reflects what so many of us are focusing on at this time.
There are many forms of what is called “subtle activism”. All it means is offering support at a distance, for those times when we aren’t able to engage a situation or need physically. An example of subtle activism is prayer and offering blessings. Another is distance healing. I’ll offer an example of subtle activism below that you can adapt to whatever your belief system or whatever your usual practice of offering support to others.
A Practice on Behalf of UkraineRead More “”
I’ve written many times about the power of orienting awareness to heart perception and intelligence. This is because the resonating quality of the heart automatically orients us to a sense of connection with the world around us. The qualities we embody as we move through our daily lives have an impact not only on our internal quality of experience but also have a noticeable impact on the places where we find ourselves and on those we encounter along the way.
I find that, when I’m in an irritable mood, I seem to “bump up against” life in so many unexpected and irritating ways. When it dawns on me that I’m resonating with the frequency of irritation, and that this is the quality that currently characterizes my experience, I’m now able to take a moment, ground myself, and shift into my heart space, doing a couple of heart breaths similar to what HeartMath suggests. This shift changes my focus of attention and I am then able to resonate with a more positive and connected quality of being and experience. I’ve found over time that this kind of shift also changes my external experience and I tend to stop bumping up against what comes my way. Read More “735th Week: Choosing Your Frequency”