It goes without saying that these are stressful times and we all are having to dig into the strategies that we have for finding and accessing our internal steadiness and sense of centeredness. One of the practices I’ve written about many times over the years has to do with recognizing, and then playing with, the constant process of choosing what is in the foreground of awareness and what is in the background. Our culture tends to favor putting activation, emotional intensity, and drama into the foreground, while experiences of being centered, steady, and internally quiet slide into the background, often not to even be acknowledged as present.
Another dynamic I’ve written about many times is the metaphor of the kaleidoscope—that we are all complex beings comprised of many aspects or parts of ourselves. Sometimes we’re fully focused in our present-day adult self, thinking, responding, and behaving in centered and rational ways. Other times, we are triggered into different kinds of activation and find ourselves acting from impulses that arise deep within unhealed and uncentered parts of us. Read More “729th Week: Foreground/Background Revisited”
In times of personal and collective distress, it’s important to have ways to re-center ourselves as we move through daily life, as we hear news reports of terrible things happening to people and the planet, and as we face the ordinary challenges and stresses of everyday life. One of the things I do each morning is take time to settle myself, even if I don’t have time to meditate or do my regular attunement process. Each of us may have a different way to settle ourselves. The practice that follows organizes itself around what I think is the fundamental importance of not only having a reliable way to ground yourself but also to have a commitment to do so each day.
One of the reasons I feel it’s so important to re-center and settle ourselves each day is because of the powerful impact of collective consciousness on all of us. Read More “718th Week: Supporting Re-Centering”
Sitting in Central Park one weekend morning, a morning that was cloudy and quiet in the park, I felt a deep sense of peace radiating from all the trees around me. The quality of the trees and the environment they evoked reminded me of the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”, where people go amongst trees to soak in the healing that naturally emerges.
Attuning to the peaceful quality of the trees is, for me, similar to tuning in to a particular radio station, television channel, or on-line program. It reminded me, yet again, of the importance and power of mindful awareness, of being able to choose where I focus my attention… Read More “692nd Week: Resonating with the Essence of Peace”
Walking in Central Park a few days ago, I found myself deeply nourished and uplifted by the return of the green and by the powerful wind that accompanied my walk and workout. Again and again, my eyes were drawn to the green, to the beauty of the trees again filling out their leaves, creating patterns of light and shadow that have been missing over the winter season. And, the wind brought with it a sense of invigoration that was, in its own way, quite delicious.
At some point along the way, I also noticed a trumpet player who competed with a singer who has a weekly gathering of children on Saturday mornings. Fortunately, the sound of the trumpet didn’t overpower the singing and guitar playing of the entertainer and his class of young ones. Then, I also noticed the ever-present helicopters that hover over the park these days as a tourist activity, usually beginning sometime around 9am, taking away the silence that is so precious here in the city.
What struck me most is that these sounds didn’t seem to take away from my deep enjoyment of the return of green and the beauty of the tall trees all around me. This got me to thinking about how important it is to notice where our attention is absorbed, where we focus and what we notice. Even though the sounds were obvious, they weren’t in the foreground of my awareness and I also noticed how my lack of irritation allowed both the trumpet and the helicopters to slip into the background. There have been mornings where these kinds of sounds seem to pierce through my wish to drop into silence or into awareness of the beauty around me and irritation takes the place of pleasure. Today, for whatever reason, it was powerfully clear to me that my focus of attention allowed for the pleasure with no hint of irritation.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even closer attention to what you focus on, where you place your awareness, and what you choose to notice. I could have shifted into dwelling on the helicopters or the trumpet and that would have created a whole different quality of experience. Just as I couldn’t make those situations go away, notice how it is when you are faced with something you can’t change but where you can shift your focus of attention to something else. It might be noise, a smell you don’t like, disruption of some kind—anything that might normally create irritation or some other reaction in you. Then, notice what happens if you shift your awareness to something that inspires, nourishes, or pleases you in some way.Read More “833rd Week: Where We Place Our Attention”
Here’s this months audio meditation. As we are doing all year, we focus on wholeness within ourselves and all our earth-kin.
If you prefer to see images of nature as you follow the guided meditation, here’s our YouTube version: