In writing this practice, I don’t want to slide over into political perspectives or a polarized discussion. What I want to bring into this week’s practice is the saying that is found in most religions and spiritual traditions, adding up to “treat others as you would want to be treated.” I think this is probably one of the fundamental values of just about every spiritual approach I’ve learned about throughout my years of exploring spirituality and religion.
With the Internet and the polarized nature of our world at this time, it can be far too easy to respond to people in ways that would have been unimaginable only a decade or so ago. I’ve had people comment about things I’ve posted on Facebook in ways that have shocked, saddened, and surprised me. It’s as though we have learned to interact as individuals and as a culture as if it doesn’t matter what or how we communicate with one another.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to carry with you the request to “treat others as you would want to be treated” and, in addition, “treat others as you would want your loved ones to be treated.” Then, measure your words and actions against these statements and notice if you are following this most basic human ideal. By making this a practice akin to mindfulness, pay attention to what you discover about how much awareness, consideration, and choice you bring to how you respond to and treat others, to your words, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions.Read More “803rd Week: “Do Unto Others…””
Sitting in Central Park among my tree friends, I found myself asking the following question: How do I help people understand that the earth and everything on it isn’t inert, isn’t passive and lacking in consciousness? How to I offer a perspective that holds the awareness that everything is earth-kin and that everything is conscious, alive, and aware in its own ways? Many of us raised in the Western world were taught that our planet was filled with “resources”, available for our use, rather than the more indigenous-oriented position that everything on and of our earth is alive and is valued kin.
Here’s a quotation from an enchanting book, “Becoming Animal”, by David Abram that captures some of what we modern people have lost in our relationship to nature, our earth, and our earth-kin:
“Our chest, rising and falling, knows that the strange verb ‘to be’ means more simply ‘to breathe’; it knows that the maples and the birches are breathing, that the beaver pond inhales and exhales in its own way, as do the stones and the mountains and the pipes coursing water through the ground under the city. The lungs know this secret as well as any can know it: that the inward and the outward depths partake of the same mystery, that as the unseen wind swirls within us, so it also whirls all around us, bending the grasses and lofting the clouds even as it lights our own sensations. The vocal cords, stirred by that breath, vibrate like spiderwebs or telephone wires in the breeze, and the voice itself, laughing and murmuring, joins its song to the water gurgling under the grate.”Read More “805th Week: Everything is Alive, Everything is Earth-Kin”
Listening to the news recently, I found myself returning to a meditation from the Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a very simple one and yet I find that, each time I do it, it invites me to more easily settle deeply into my grounded, embodied presence. So, for this week’s offering, I thought I would share this with those of you who haven’t learned it before and perhaps remind those of you who are familiar with it that it’s a very useful and helpful practice.
And so, for this week’s practice, I invite you to do the following at least once a day and perhaps to develop a habit of turning to it whenever you need support in returning to your heart space, grounding yourself, and/or simply taking some time to access quiet presence.Read More “903rd Week: Breathing In and Breathing Out“