Early this morning, I turned on the radio and listened to a brief political report on WNYC, the local public radio station here in NYC. What I heard was a recording of a recent political rally where what I call “the language of separateness” characterized what was said by the speaker. In addition to the sadness I felt at hearing language that had a violent and aggressive tone, language that demonized the “other”, I also began to think about the difference between “the language of separateness” and “the language of interbeing’. Interbeing is a verb created by the Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, and is now used beautifully and often by Charles Eisenstein, a speaker who focuses on social, economic, and ecological issues.
Later, I listened to an interview with Krista Tippett in her On Being broadcast where she talked with a woman who described how she engages people on the opposite side of the spectrum from where she lives politically and socially as a way to discover what was of key importance to both her and to the other person. Read More “728th Week: Language of Separateness; Language of Interbeing”
Walking in Central Park a few days ago, I found myself deeply nourished and uplifted by the return of the green and by the powerful wind that accompanied my walk and workout. Again and again, my eyes were drawn to the green, to the beauty of the trees again filling out their leaves, creating patterns of light and shadow that have been missing over the winter season. And, the wind brought with it a sense of invigoration that was, in its own way, quite delicious.
At some point along the way, I also noticed a trumpet player who competed with a singer who has a weekly gathering of children on Saturday mornings. Fortunately, the sound of the trumpet didn’t overpower the singing and guitar playing of the entertainer and his class of young ones. Then, I also noticed the ever-present helicopters that hover over the park these days as a tourist activity, usually beginning sometime around 9am, taking away the silence that is so precious here in the city.
What struck me most is that these sounds didn’t seem to take away from my deep enjoyment of the return of green and the beauty of the tall trees all around me. This got me to thinking about how important it is to notice where our attention is absorbed, where we focus and what we notice. Even though the sounds were obvious, they weren’t in the foreground of my awareness and I also noticed how my lack of irritation allowed both the trumpet and the helicopters to slip into the background. There have been mornings where these kinds of sounds seem to pierce through my wish to drop into silence or into awareness of the beauty around me and irritation takes the place of pleasure. Today, for whatever reason, it was powerfully clear to me that my focus of attention allowed for the pleasure with no hint of irritation.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even closer attention to what you focus on, where you place your awareness, and what you choose to notice. I could have shifted into dwelling on the helicopters or the trumpet and that would have created a whole different quality of experience. Just as I couldn’t make those situations go away, notice how it is when you are faced with something you can’t change but where you can shift your focus of attention to something else. It might be noise, a smell you don’t like, disruption of some kind—anything that might normally create irritation or some other reaction in you. Then, notice what happens if you shift your awareness to something that inspires, nourishes, or pleases you in some way.Read More “833rd Week: Where We Place Our Attention”
I had a conversation recently with a friend who was agitated and highly distressed about the current political situation in the U.S. As I listened to them, I found myself wondering if they were aware of the qualities they were radiating into themselves and into the environment around them because of the intensity of their agitation. This got me to thinking about the power and importance of cultivating an awareness of the frequencies with which we resonate from moment to moment.
One of the practices I follow as best I can is to notice the tone and quality of my internal state and how that translates into what energy and qualities I radiate into myself and my environment. This doesn’t mean ignoring distress. If I feel grief and need to actively allow it to process and move through me, or if I feel outrage and need to act on behalf of what I want to support, that’s important too and can happen without generating additional activation.Read More “811th Week: Tracking Frequencies, Avoiding “Adding Logs to the Fire””
For those who would like to have images with your meditation, here’s our link to YouTube for an audio meditation with images…
As I thought about what to share as a practice this week, a recent webinar I offered for professionals came to mind. It focused on the wide variety of reciprocal relationships we have with everything we encounter in the course of our everyday lives. One of the subjects I didn’t spend a lot of time on in the webinar was to focus on the reciprocal relationships we have with our physical bodies.
Over the years, I have had a relationship of gratitude with my body—gratitude for the fact that it allows me to be here, gratitude for all the organs that make it possible for my body to function, gratitude that my body is healthy. For me, love—the frequency and energy of love—is the most powerful healing frequency we can access and I draw on it liberally in my life. One of the practices I’ve engaged over the years has been to send love to my body each day, as part of my gratitude practice.
I may have mentioned before that our bodies are actually comprised of many organisms that are non-human. Here’s a quote from the BBC News: “Human cells make up only 43% of the body’s total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists.” The American Museum of Natural History says that, “Your body is an ecosystem” and that, “An ecosystem is a community of living things.” Because of these facts, I seek to have a cooperative, collaborative, and loving relationship with the organisms that populate my body and that support my daily functioning. I include these organisms in my gratitude practice and regularly send them love.Read More “853rd Week: The Body as Community”