Here’s this month’s audio guided meditation:
If you would like to see the audio meditation with nature photographs, here’s the link to the youtube version:
Sitting in Central Park this morning in my usual place, which is quite close to where dogs play together during the off-leash time, I’ve enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm they bring to chasing balls or just running around together. One small poodle came by and was so excited to be able to run that he squeaked as he went in ever widening circles around his human companions as they walked down a hill.
Something in the way this little dog gave his whole self to the activity touched something in me, bringing me a little more alive this morning. It got me to thinking about how we engage opportunities to express ourselves enthusiastically, celebrating life energy. There are times when the felines who share my home with me get into this same kind of abundant enthusiasm and one particular feline friend has a way of squeaking as she purrs when I rub her head in a certain way.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to do two things. First, notice what you experience when you take time to watch people or other earth-kin engaging in play or some other activity with unbridled enthusiasm. Pay attention to what happens in your body, the quality of your emotions, the tone of your thoughts when you do this. Then, notice how you engage pleasurable activities, things you really enjoy doing. They don’t have to be dramatic, just sources of pleasure or engagement. If you’re in a situation where you can’t actually physically engage in an activity, take some time to imagine that you are doing so. Allow yourself to experience the sensations and state of being that arise as you imagine whatever activity gives you real pleasure. Remember, the brain responds to imagined experience in just about the same way it does actual lived experience.Read More “834th Week: Engaging Enthusiasm”
Sitting in Central Park on a Sunday morning, there is a loud and enthusiastic race going on nearby with lots of hoots and hollers as people run by. I’m here amongst my tree friends and what I’m aware of is the pervasive and steady quiet they radiate into my awareness. This moment has taken me back to my experience of the foreground/ background dynamic that is always present. By bringing my awareness to the background of pervasive quiet here amongst the trees, it shifts into the foreground of my awareness even as the enthusiastic shouting of the race slides into the background. I feel my body relax into the quiet, into the pervasive silence that the trees radiate.
This got me to thinking yet again about how important it can be to be able to choose what we bring into the foreground of awareness and what we allow to hover in the background. In my practice of attending to wholeness as much as possible, I do my best not to leave out an awareness of what’s happening around me, what’s happening in the world, and to acknowledge not only what brings me ease and happiness but also what touches into an awareness of suffering, outrage, and compassion. And so, shifting things from foreground to background and vice versa doesn’t mean to actively go into denial about what’s unfolding in my immediate environment or in the world. Rather, it offers a way to choose which awareness is most appropriate and most healthy in any given moment.Read More “764th Week: Choosing the Focus of Attention—Foreground/Background”
For those who prefer a visual meditation along with the audio, here’s a link to the YouTube version of this month’s guided meditation…
As I write this practice, current violent events that have caused immense distress and suffering continue to fill the news and Internet. Working through my own responses got me to thinking about what I might offer as this week’s practice that might be both supportive and useful.
Whenever I am in the presence of suffering and challenges that I can’t directly change, I inevitably turn to my heart space for support, comfort, and as a way to actively and mindfully process my sense of outrage, helplessness, or despair that may arise. And, inevitably and thankfully, my heart space is able to process and manage these difficult feelings in a way that always surprises and eases me. It may be because I feel like I’m doing something, or it may be—as the HeartMath Institute’s research has shown—that a coherent heart eases the amygdala and reduces activation.Read More “761st Week: Holding Space for Ourselves and All Our Kin (Which is Everyone)”