A post on Facebook had a picture of Mr. Rogers describing what creates success and there were three sentences all ending in “kindness”. This got me to thinking, yet again, of the importance of kindness as a primary stance in moving through daily life. In the present state of our collective interpersonal life, adding in more kindness seems an important and useful antidote (at least in all the small ways kindness can make a tangible difference).
Thinking about kindness also got me to thinking about the relationship between heart intelligence and perception and kindness, as it feels to me that kindness arises and emerges from the heart. I recently read an article about what is now considered by science as the real possibility of a “heart brain”. Stories of people who have received heart transplants attest to the fact that the heart is more than merely a physical pump.Read More “771st Week: Kindness, Kindness, Kindness”
One of the great gifts of vacation time is to have an opportunity to do some reading. One of the books I had an opportunity to read over this year’s recent vacation is Pierre Pradervand’s book, “The Gentle Art of Blessing.” In his book, Pradervand speaks of offering blessings as a powerful practice of presence. In part, this practice brings us back into presence because of the way it invites us to shift from reactions and judgments into offering blessings in a spontaneous, moment-to-moment way.
As I read his book, my feeling was that what he offers powerfully supports a shift from moving through the world from a mental perspective, drawing primarily on the brain in the head, to moving through the world from the perspective the heart. Read More “724thWeek: The Practice of Blessing”
I often write about the importance of kindness. An essential companion to that practice is cultivating empathy. A definition of empathy found on google says: “Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “ I would add to this definition, “…and the ability to imagine what any other living being might be thinking or feeling…”
Because I have focused on cultivating a deepened awareness of heart perception in recent years, on the quality of intelligence that naturally arises when orienting to the heart brain, I find that it hurts my heart when I notice the increasing lack of expressions of empathy in public and social spheres of my American culture. And, this lack of empathy is not only focused on a wide array of our human kin. It also applies to many, if not most, of our other earth-kin. What often saddens me is how a lack of empathy leads to a lack of kindness, as well.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay more attention to your relationship with empathy. One way to do this is to ask your heart brain, rather than your head brain, what someone else might be feeling or experiencing. I find that heart intelligence has a different take on, or brings different qualities to, most experiences. In this week’s practice, notice what happens if you take the time to ask your heart what it has to say about someone else’s experience.Read More “827th Week: Cultivating Empathy, Along with Kindness”
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”