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”
Over recent months, I have found myself painfully aware of everything I throw in the trash in the course of my everyday life. Being a long-time recycler, I’ve always been mindful of my use of paper, bottles, cans, and other recyclables. Lately, I’ve been aware of all the plastic that lands in my trashcan, with new additions just about every day. About a year ago, I started shopping with canvas bags and stopped using small plastic bags for produce at the grocery store. While these steps won’t save the planet, they do cut down on the amount of plastic that moves through and from my home.
This deepened awareness of plastic, and all the photos we now see of what plastics are doing to the inhabitants of our oceans and other waterways, got me to thinking about the natural capacity we humans have to generate options when confronted by circumstances that demand change.
Confronted as we are by mounting evidence that our current lifestyle cannot continue unchanged, I got to thinking about the importance of our innate curiosity, flexibility, and ability to generate options when circumstances require change. Drawing on these skills as part of everyday living is like engaging in exercise each day. It builds a kind of “psychological muscle” that allows curiosity, flexibility, and an ability to generate options to become more readily and spontaneously available as part of how we engage the world around us.Read More “752nd Week: Cultivating Flexibility”
What if it were possible to move through the world filtering negativity in much the way oysters filter the water they live in? Because of my belief in collective consciousness, I’ve often thought of oysters and the role they play in helping to clear and clean water. The other day, I saw a video of oysters cleaning the water in a glass tank, and it always inspires and amazes me how nature generates what is needed to bring balance and healing.
Here’s another question. What if each of us could hold the intention to carry into our daily activities qualities such as kindness, compassion, collaboration, and respect for others, and what if these qualities were able to act as filters for the collective negativity currently being expressed in our world? Read More “685th Week: On Being An “Energy Oyster””
One of the books from graduate school that powerfully impacted me was “Blaming the Victim”. I was in a class where I focused my work on shame—collective and individual—and got deeply immersed in how we tend to blame the victim as a way to validate our beliefs and actions. The impact of that class, and particularly the above book, has never left me. It started me on a 40+ year journey of tracking my own internal process of judging and blaming, catching myself when I can and challenging my own rationalizations about what’s happening to people locally and around the world. Even with this practice, I know that there are countless times when I engage in blaming the victim, unaware of my own biases and limiting beliefs.
As I watch the current situation in the United States—and we are not alone in our mistreatment of people we consider to be “other”—I not only feel deep heartache and distress, but am also keenly aware of how vividly a “blaming-the-victim” mentality seems to have captured the minds of those in power. That this stance lacks empathy goes without saying. The deeper problem is that blaming victims allows us to remain unaware of our privilege, of our seemingly justifiable disconnection from the suffering of others. Read More “716th Week: Blaming the Victim”
I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to go to Central Park on some days to get exercise and to plop myself down on a bench where I have spent so much time over the years in meditation and contemplation with my tree friends. One of the things that I’ve noticed each time I’m in the park these days is how many people are jogging and walking without wearing masks. This got me to thinking about our participation as members of a community and how we have an ongoing opportunity to take responsibility for our part in supporting everyone around us.
As I pondered the question of why people aren’t wearing masks as they exercise and walk around Central Park, I could only imagine that they haven’t quite registered that we are wearing masks to protect one another. They aren’t really to protect ourselves, since most of us don’t have the kind of mask that will filter out viruses. The reason we are wearing them is because we could unknowingly be carriers of the virus and we are protecting everyone around us.
For this week’s practice, I invite all of us to be aware of our place within our communities. Wherever we live, we are part of a collective and we are responsible for our contributions to our community, however that might be arranged and however small or large those contributions. What I’d like to ask all of us to consider is how are we caring for our community? What practices do we bring to help support and protect those around us? In the building where I live in New York City we have active cases of the Covid virus, so all of us are asked to be sure to wear masks and gloves when interacting with the doormen and concierges in the lobby of this very large building and in the laundry room as a way to protect the people who work here, as well as to protect each other.Read More “784th Week: Being Part of a Community”