There is no question that we live in a time of intense crisis and disruption. I think of the indigenous prophecies I have heard about this time and the one that constantly comes to mind is about how we are in the darkest time of a “dark age”. I don’t remember where I heard it, but it may be a Hopi prophecy or from some other indigenous nation and, when I heard it, it struck me that being at the apex of a “dark age” implies that there will eventually be a swing into a new cycle.
At this moment in time, and this possibly feels more extreme because we are globally connected via the Internet and are much more aware of what’s happening in other places on our planet, it seems that fear has become an even stronger driving force behind much human interaction and activity. It’s not the whole picture by any means, but it seems to be what is in the foreground of awareness much of the time. Read More “712th Week: Meeting Fear with Your Heart”
I continue to resonate with the passing of Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh and the powerful teachings he brought to the world via his practices of mindfulness, of constantly returning to the present moment, and of his acknowledgment and acceptance of the complexities of our inherent and inescapable wholeness as human beings.
For quite a while now, I’ve focused on wholeness and self-acceptance as being central to a sense of well-being, supporting clients (and myself!) to acknowledge and accept aspects of themselves that aren’t what Buddhists would call “skillful”. I encourage clients (and myself here, as well) to also acknowledge and accept the aspects of themselves that are gifts to their well-being and quality of life. This acknowledgement can sometimes be even more difficult than looking at what we experience as negative in ourselves.
From Thich Nhat Hanh: Your mind is like a piece of land planted with many different kinds of seeds: seeds of joy, peace, mindfulness, understanding, love, and more; seeds of craving, anger, fear, hate, forgetfulness, and more. These wholesome and unwholesome seeds are always there, sleeping in the soil of your mind. The quality of your life depends on the seeds you water. If you plant tomato seeds in your gardens, tomatoes will grow. Just so, if you water a seed of peace in your mind, peace will grow. When the seeds of happiness in you are watered, you will become happy. When the seed of anger in you is watered, you will become angry. The seeds that are watered frequently are those that will grow strong.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to notice what seeds of your wholeness you regularly water. Notice which seeds/aspects of your wholeness you feed. Where do you place your attention? What’s your style of expressing yourself with your self-talk and in your relationship to the world around you? Bringing awareness to this kind of practice offers the possibility of choice. If you discover that you water seeds that bring distress, disappointment, or other forms of painful suffering, notice what it’s like to shift your attention to something that is soothing, comforting, beautiful, or in some other way nourishing to you. This doesn’t mean to ignore feelings that need attention and validation. Instead, it’s more about how many of us have developed automatic ways of focusing our attention on watering “seeds” that lead to unhappiness or suffering.Read More “862nd Week: Watering the Seeds of Our Wholeness”
This month’s meditation continues our focus on wholeness, how it radiates into and touches everything around us, and our underlying relationship with everything we encounter. It also invites us to acknowledge and appreciate the wide variety of our other-than-human earth-kin with whom we share this beautiful planet.
If you’d like to have images of nature with your meditation, here’s our YouTube version:
When I was very young, my grandmother used to talk to me about a schism she saw coming in what she felt would be my future. This was back in the early ’50’s, when she essentially became my first spiritual teacher. Read More “Week 652: Oneness and Separateness”
As the pandemic has continued, and as someone who has been able to work throughout this time, I’ve been exploring ways to donate money and offer support to people who have lost their jobs. With so many people losing work, facing evictions from their homes and experiencing food scarcity, it seems fundamentally important to share resources in whatever ways we can manage. A psychotherapy colleague recently shared with me a way she is responding to the current crisis for people experiencing food scarcity during the pandemic. She located a food bank that was running out of various food items and arranged with Fresh Direct to make a weekly delivery to the food bank. A ministry colleague celebrated his birthday by asking people to donate money to a food bank in his area.
I was truly inspired to read an article about MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon.com. MacKenzie is worth many billions of dollars. She has pledged to give away the majority of her fortune—and she has been true to her word. Here’s a link to the article about how she is doing this: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-15/mackenzie-scott-gives-away-4-2-billion-within-four-months
This got me to thinking about how important it is to be aware of local needs in each of our communities, along with whatever other financial support those of us who are working can offer to local as well as larger non-profit organizations. For this week’s practice, I invite you to do some investigating as to the needs of your local community, or even your immediate neighborhood, and to see what you might offer by way of sharing resources.Read More “821st week: Finding Ways to Share Resources”