I ran across the quotation on Facebook the other day, from Pema Chodron’s book, “The Pocket Pema”:
“Am I Going to Add to the Aggression?
Every day we could think about aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Darfur, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?’ Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?’”
This got me to thinking about how, in just about every moment, we face choices about how we move through the world, how we choose to express ourselves in a multitude of situations and circumstances. Even when we are in a situation like the current pandemic, where most of us stay at home much of the time. As we move through our daily experience even at home, endless moments arise, each offering choices about how we are going to respond to whatever may be unfolding.
Because I believe that we are part of a larger collective consciousness, one to which we contribute and from which we draw all the time, I also believe that it’s impossible not to affect ourselves and the collective through the choices we make as we respond to the world around us. I’ve written before about experimenting with orienting to heart perception and intelligence by asking ourselves, “What would my heart do right now?” Or, “How would my heart respond right now?” This doesn’t mean we will never be angry, distressed, embarrassed, or outraged. What it touches on is how do we choose to handle these feelings.Read More “831st Week: What Do We Add to the World Each Day?”
So many of us have been taught that the nature of nature is “survival of the fittest”, suggesting that competition is the underlying principle of evolution. Elisabet Sahtouris, an evolutionary biologist, points out that the early stages of a species development involves competition, and that the mature stage is characterized by cooperation and collaboration within and between species. Agustín Fuentes, a biological and evolutionary anthropologist also points out the many moments of collaboration and cooperation in our human species, moments that arise spontaneously and seemingly without thought countless times each day.
There’s no question that we humans can be cruel and injurious to one another, and to other species, and I don’t in any way mean for us to ignore those realities. As I listened to Elisabet recently in an interview, though, I thought about how important it is to support the movement toward maturity in our species, and also pay attention to the natural expressions of compassionate collaboration among our kind, not only to each other but to other species, as well.
I’ve mentioned many times that I start the day watching or listening to something that inspires me. That’s where I again encountered Elisabet and her wonderful wisdom. Because of this commitment to finding inspiring resources, I’m more able to live with my heart open and free of hatred and fear—well, not overwhelmed by fear or carried away by outrage, anyway—and to allow my heart to be a major source of information and understanding. I’ve written any number of times about the importance of orienting to heart intelligence, which has a different take on things than does our brain intelligence. In fact, I’ve posted as a past practice a process of shifting into heart intelligence when pondering a problem or exploring a situation, then comparing what your heart says to what your head said. It’s a very useful practice!Read More “818th Week: The Prevalence of Compassionate Action”
One of my daily tasks is to post an inspirational quotation and a nature photo to the Devadana Sanctuary page on Facebook each morning. I’ve been doing this for a number of years now and obtain the photographs from bigstockphoto.com, where I have a subscription. What this has created for me is a daily morning meditation looking through photographs of our beautiful planet, seeking the right one to go with that day’s quotation. I have found that this process has deepened my love and awe for this amazing planetary home we inhabit.
Having a daily reminder that I’m a part of nature, not something separate from it, has been a support to my practice of orienting to heart intelligence and perception when I remember to do so. Looking at the stunning creativity and beauty of this planet, of the creative and complex ecology that supports life of such diversity and intelligence, reminds me again and again that we are all in this together. There is no other home, no other place, and everyone and everything we encounter along the way is kin. We are all offspring of planet Earth.Read More “742nd Week: Loving Our Earth”
Sitting in Central Park on a Sunday morning, there is a loud and enthusiastic race going on nearby with lots of hoots and hollers as people run by. I’m here amongst my tree friends and what I’m aware of is the pervasive and steady quiet they radiate into my awareness. This moment has taken me back to my experience of the foreground/ background dynamic that is always present. By bringing my awareness to the background of pervasive quiet here amongst the trees, it shifts into the foreground of my awareness even as the enthusiastic shouting of the race slides into the background. I feel my body relax into the quiet, into the pervasive silence that the trees radiate.
This got me to thinking yet again about how important it can be to be able to choose what we bring into the foreground of awareness and what we allow to hover in the background. In my practice of attending to wholeness as much as possible, I do my best not to leave out an awareness of what’s happening around me, what’s happening in the world, and to acknowledge not only what brings me ease and happiness but also what touches into an awareness of suffering, outrage, and compassion. And so, shifting things from foreground to background and vice versa doesn’t mean to actively go into denial about what’s unfolding in my immediate environment or in the world. Rather, it offers a way to choose which awareness is most appropriate and most healthy in any given moment.Read More “764th Week: Choosing the Focus of Attention—Foreground/Background”
With the recent passing of Ram Dass, I am even more aware of something I read in his most recent book, “Walking Each Other Home”. A practice he took on and used every day touched me when I read the book, and I have taken it up as a regular practice of mine. I would like to share it with you. At the moment, I can’t remember if he used this mantra in conjunction with his breathing, but he constantly repeated the words “I am loving awareness.” I mentally say it to myself on the out-breath.
What touches me powerfully about this statement is how it automatically orients me to my heart awareness, which is something that our world desperately needs at this time. I’ve mentioned many times that we affect our environment all the time, whether we intend to or not. As you move through your daily activities, where you place your attention impacts both your internal quality of life and the quality of our collective human consciousness. You cannot not radiate into our human collective the quality of your inner life.Read More “773rd Week: “I Am Loving Awareness” – Ram Dass”