I just saw a little dog standing in an open area of lawn, wildly barking at a squirrel who was up a very tall tree nearby. It made quite a funny picture, with the lawn and the size of the tree making the small dog look even smaller. What it brought to mind was a sense of focused intention and energetic commitment. The squirrel was all that mattered and the little fur-face on the ground was giving it all he was worth.
This got me to thinking about where we put our energy. All the barking in the world wasn’t going to get the squirrel within reach of the dog and I found myself wondering about all the energy we may put into things that aren’t really available to engage with us. With all the gadgets that we now have available to us, and with most of us carrying around a computer in our pocket in our smart phones, there are increasing opportunities to spend time in less conscious and less focused ways. At times, I find myself doing a word game that can take up an unexpected amount of time and I’ve made a commitment to myself that I’ll only do that a couple of times a day. Instead of that activity, I now spend the same time reading on my kindle and I find that it’s much more satisfying, ultimately, than endlessly playing the word game.
Also, at my age, I’m keenly aware of a more limited amount of time in front of me and I have made it a practice to ask myself if what I’m doing honors the fact that I don’t want to waste whatever time I have left to be here. I hope that doesn’t sound morbid because, for me, it’s a powerfully positive motivator and invites me to focus my attention more clearly.Read More “836th Week: Noticing Where We Put Our Energy”
I post a daily inspirational quotation and nature photo each morning on Facebook and on the Devadana Sanctuary side of my Portal to Multidimensional Living that keeps coming back to me this morning, so I’d like to share it here, along with some resources that have inspired me recently. Here’s that quotation. It’s a long one, but it has two elements in it that will be the basis of this week’s practice:
“So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassionand insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhala warriors must have compassionbecause it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.
But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other you need insightinto the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart.
With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion. Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world.” ~ Joanna Macy Read More “737th Week: Embracing Compassion and Insight”
As I write this, I’m sitting in Central Park, as I often do on weekend mornings, attuning to the trees that have become my companions. I notice that I am resonating with their steady, still presence and that their steadiness and stillness, even their expression of presence, is moving into my body-mind experience. As I sit here, I absorb the qualities I experience in them and I find that access to the steadiness and stillness in me is enhanced by their presence. Central Park has been, and continues to be, one of the most important gifts in my life for over 35 years now, and my gratitude for having access to the natural life of the park is boundless.
This got me to thinking about how powerful it is to spend time in nature and to absorb the qualities that may not be easily accessible in urban life. When I look at the large rock outcropping off to my right, I think of its solidity, its constancy, its steady presence. When I hear the sound of the locusts that populate the park at this time of the year, I think of the freedom to express. When I think of one of the small waterfalls up in the northern section of the park, I am touched by a sense of flow. These are all projections, perhaps, and yet they offer me an experience that I find both strengthening and nourishing.Read More “762nd Week: Accessing and Nurturing Qualities from Nature”
In a recent article entitled, “Your Brain Has a Delete Button—Here’s How to Use It”, the authors, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane, talk about research that’s been done on the presence and function of the brain’s “microglial” cells that are the “gardeners of the brain”. These cells prune and remove synapses while we sleep. Most importantly, they remove those synapses we don’t use very much. In fact, the brain marks the unused synapses with a protein that signals the microglial cells to go ahead and prune them.
Because all self-talk is self-hypnosis, and because where we focus our thinking activates the synapses related to these thoughts, it behooves us to be mindful about where we’re spending our internal self-talk time. One example in the article is this:
“If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.”
They go on to say:
“To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.”Read More “768th Week: More Reasons Why Tracking Your Self-Talk is So Important”