As I begin this week’s practice, I’m watching a video of yesterday’s memorial celebration for the beloved Vietnamese teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, in Plum Village, France. For those of you who may not have encountered Thay or his teachings, he was a Buddhist monk who brought important and accessible mindfulness teachings to the West, was also advocate for peace and a supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr., who nominated Thay for a Nobel Peace Prize.
As I listen to the chanting of the people of Plum Village, I am reminded of the importance of accessing practices that allow us to access states of being that touch not only into the presence of the Sacred all around us, but also into those internal states that bring us into a deep inner quiet and settled ease. What I’d like to offer for this week’s practice is an adapted version of a very simple and direct meditation that Thay offered to us early in his teachings. It has stayed with me over the years as one of the most direct and effective ways to settle and find a sense of inner presence. As I weave his teaching into the following practice, I apologize for whatever changes I’ve made in this practice that may inadvertently not accurately reflect Thay’s intention, words or teaching.Read More “861st Week: Honoring Thich Nhat Hanh and the Practices He Taught”
Sitting in Central Park listening to early morning birdsong, surrounded by the gift of lush green and inhaling the fragrance of Locust trees laden with their summer flowers, I find myself soaking it all in with a grateful heart. With so much strife and suffering in the world, these quiet moments with nature represent a powerful gift, a time of restoration and deep nourishment.
As I sit here, my thoughts turn to a conversation I had recently with a group of colleagues. We were talking about practices that enhance a focus on heart intelligence and heart perception, and how different a heart-based orientation is when compared to experiencing the world primarily through a head, or brain-based, orientation. Read More “7l7th Week: Thinking with Your Heart”
It’s just about mid-week and I haven’t yet posted a practice for this week, which would usually be posted by Sunday. These times when I draw a complete blank become an invitation to relax and open my awareness to what might unexpectedly drop in. This process reminds me of the practice of “not doing”. Instead, it becomes a practice of “being” and “receiving” rather than figuring out or doing.
Then, this takes me to the importance of intuitive awareness and how our current consensus reality in Western thinking tends to devalue non-rational ways of knowing. For me, non-rational ways of knowing are equally present, if not dominant, in my usual way of moving through the world, so I’d like to share some thoughts and an exercise that offer support for intuitive ways of knowing.
Whenever I find myself with a conundrum, not knowing exactly what to do, I ask for help or input. It’s not important to think about where the information or support comes from. For example, I might ask for help from “cat intelligence” or “plant intelligence” if I have a question about how to help the felines who live with me or the trees that grace my small apartment. What comes to mind are all the varieties of collective consciousness that Rupert Sheldrake talks about in his work with morphic fields—fields of information that species contribute to and draw from all the time.
One of my favorite examples of a morphic field is where Sheldrake talks about small birds in England. Prior to World War II, these birds had a habit of flipping the lids off of milk bottles delivered and left on people’s stoops. The birds were after the cream just under the bottle’s lid. Milk then became rationed and not readily available during the war and several generations of these birds were born and died without having learned to take off the lids of the milk bottles. As soon as deliveries began again after the war, the birds were back, doing what they had always done. Sheldrake says that they are able to do this because of the information field of their species, their morphic field, which contains all the information of every member of the species that has ever lived.Read More “892nd Week: Collective Information Fields and Intuitive Awareness”