A while back (764th Week’s practice), I wrote about choosing frequencies and engaging practices that make that process more fluid. Another helpful approach is to cultivate an awareness of the “foreground/background” dynamic that is present in every moment. Whatever is in the foreground of your awareness, there is likely to be something different in the background.
One way to think about these foreground/background dynamics could be the distinction between moments of upset in the foreground and an awareness of the present-day observer in the background. The observer is the part of us that notices what we experience and is able to make choices about what to do with what we notice. In this case, we’re exploring finding ways to shift from the foreground upset to a background of a more regulated quality, if that’s what you choose to do.
Drawing on an awareness of foreground/background allows more choice about whether you want to continue with the focus of your attention and experience or if you want to shift frequencies to something else that you may find in the background. For example, you may be upset over a news report you just heard, with your body tense, fear in the foreground, and thoughts of what terrible things might unfold. These responses are natural in these times, but you don’t need to live there. Once you notice how distressed you are, it’s possible to become curious about what might be in the background. Perhaps you notice a quality of quiet, or ease, internal steadiness, or reassurance of some kind. This doesn’t mean you are ignoring or denying issues that are realistically upsetting. Instead, it means that you will be able to respond more coherently if you aren’t caught up in the activation related to them.Read More “778th Week: Foreground/Background Dynamics Revisited”
As I thought about what to write for this week’s practice in conscious living, my mind drifted to the importance of remembering to include our heart’s intelligence and perceptions as we move through daily life and, especially, as we move through challenging times. And, these are challenging times, indeed, all around the planet.
From a spiritual perspective, I experience our current national and world situation to be an expression of our need to mature as a species. On all sides, I see examples of people and countries making choices between recognizing and acting on our inevitable interdependence—our underlying oneness—versus grasping onto individual satisfaction and gain at the expense of others and the environment.
One of the ways I help myself return to an awareness of my relatedness to, and dependence on, all the life around me is to orient to my heart’s intelligence and perception. To support this perspective and direct experience, I regularly tap into sources of inspiration offered by people who live within an awareness of oneness, with the recognition that all life on this planet has the same mother/source, has inherent value, and has a right to be as free from suffering as possible.Read More “748th Week: Coming Back to Heart Intelligence”
During the process of putting together my breakfast smoothie for tomorrow morning this evening, I suddenly noticed that I had the face of a cat in my face, paws of more than one cat all over the kitchen counters. I’m pretty strict about cats not being involved directly in my food preparation, but the person who stays with them when I’m out of town clearly has different rules than I do.
What struck me this evening was the depth of humor I inevitably touch into when the cats (I live with three of them) show up when I don’t expect them. The minute I realized that I had a cat’s head and paws in my immediate awareness, I noticed that I was spontaneously laughing and snuggling fur.
This got me to thinking about the benefits of cultivating a sense of humor over life’s inevitable glitches and moments of non-traumatic surprise. So many moments in any given day don’t go how we expect or want them to go. That doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t be moments of delight or fun.Read More “766th Week: Cultivating a Sense of Humor”
The election in the U.S. and events unfolding in other countries around the world have been sources of anxiety and distress for many people. Sometimes, events escalate to the point where it feels possible to lose a sense of hope for the future. I’ve just finished participating in an on-line forum where we focused on subtle activism and how to engage change in ways of being and acting that don’t feed destructive emotions or tendencies. Read More “Week 660: Accessing Hope”
This week’s practice invites you to consider something that may be second nature to you, or it may be a new idea that seems way out there. One of the ways I move through the world is with the assumption that everything I encounter is conscious—not in the way I am conscious as a human but in the way that is unique and appropriate for whatever it is that I encounter along the way. I guess that’s another way of saying I believe we live in a conscious universe and that it’s impossible for anything that exists to be outside that consciousness.
I also believe that I am in ongoing and inherent reciprocal relationship with all the life around me, and I wonder if you would be willing to bring that hypothesis into this as-if experiment, as well. My belief is that I affect everything I encounter and that everything I encounter affects me, that it’s impossible not to be in relationship with the consciousness of my world.
At the very least, at the most basic level of biology, everything I encounter is comprised of the same kinds of molecules as those that comprise my body. We share an ecology that arises from the same carbon-based life and, even in that most basic way, we are part of each other.
I am also a believer in collective consciousness so, for me, we share not only our common biology but also our consciousness. (You will know from this that I do not believe that the brain generates consciousness…)Read More “873rd Week: An “As-If” Experiment in Conscious Living: Living in A World of Reciprocal Relationships”