I gave a talk at Unity of New York this morning and as I prepared for my presentation my mind went to the Buddhist idea of “finding refuge”. For me, this means having access to those experiences, places, and states of being that give us some relief and rest from the challenges of troubling times such as these.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I’d like to share some ideas around “finding refuge” within our own creative, imaginal lives, as well as in our own embodied, grounded sense of being. Some of these practices I’ve shared before, so they may be familiar. That said, I figure that it’s always helpful to be reminded of resources that may become overlooked in the hurry and scurry of our everyday lives.
Leaning into Stillness
Over the years, I’ve had a practice that can, when it works well, bring immediate relief from mounting stress. It has to do with remembering that within and behind every thought, feeling, impulse/urge, physical sensation, or action there is an ever-present stillness. For me, the stillness arises within an infinite field of stillness that is behind any perception you can imagine.
One place where I connect with stillness is in the space between breaths and I often follow an out-breath down into myself and then, in the gap between the out-breath and the next in-breath, I enter into the stillness that is always there.
I also find refuge in leaning into the field of stillness that’s right behind me and often do this when I’m teaching. For me, this kind of stillness isn’t the same as emptiness. Instead, it’s more like a holding space where I can find rest and restoration.Read More “867th Week: Practices for Finding Refuge”
Here’s this month’s audio meditation. In it, we continue our focus on wholeness within ourselves and within every other kind of earth-kin…
If you’d rather see images with this meditation, here’s the version on YouTube…
Walking across Central Park on the morning I go to my office to water plants and pick up mail, I was struck—as I always am—by the return of the green. All over the park, many trees are putting out leaves, others are laden with beautiful flowers, bushes are filling out with their green garb. The main feeling of it all is an expression of the abundant presence of life, of the intelligence and vibrant expression of Nature’s intelligence and creativity.
As I took in the beauty all around me, I was reminded, powerfully, that this beautiful planet doesn’t need us, but we cannot survive without its gifts. We and all our earth kin are part of a complex ecology that many of us have studied for years and yet, collectively, many of our human kin somehow haven’t taken in or taken seriously this fact of our planetary life. With Covid-19 now a painful and challenging reality, and with the worldwide halt in our usual activities, we vividly see the impact we have had on our environment. Skies have cleared. Mountains hidden from view for decades now stand out clearly in the landscape. Waterways are clearing and wildlife is returning to areas previously avoided because of human activity. Even as we see how resilient and stunningly responsive the planet is when we stop polluting as we have been doing for so long now, I find myself wondering how many of us will remember this and commit to finding new ways to go forward.Read More “785th Week: Cultivating A Sense of “Earth Kin””
Walking across Central Park one morning, I became aware of the returning presence of birdsong throughout the park. It’s always a sure sign of spring and, along with the brightening of the light, touches me with the promise of the season to come. It also reminds me of the inevitability of change and of the gift of having a head’s up that change is coming, no matter how subtle that signal may be.
As a trauma therapist, and someone who works with shock trauma on a pretty consistent basis, I know the price the body and psyche pay when experiences emerge for which there was no warning. As a person who constantly delves into new information about science and processes in nature, I also keep in mind the idea of “emergence”, of the ways in which nature seeks novelty and brings together unlikely elements to create something new. I mentioned this in a prior practice, about how bringing together two air elements—a molecule of oxygen and a molecule of hydrogen—creates an unexpected outcome—a fluid, water. For me, this demonstrates how nature is full of surprises, how life is full of surprises, and that we never really know what will emerge within the context of a new cycle. Read More “709th Week: Noticing Emerging Change”
Here’s the July 2020 Audio Meditation…
For those of you who would prefer to have images with your meditation, here’s the YouTube version…