Walking to an appointment the other day, I passed a man who carried a large manila envelope filled with what looked like x-rays. Whatever they may actually have been, I imagined that he was going to or from a doctor’s appointment. That got me to thinking about how everyone has a story, everyone has experiences and circumstances at some point in their lives that challenge them as I imagined this man might be being challenged in his life right now.
This also got me to thinking about how important it is to remember that everyone—every human and every other living being—has the capacity to suffer and wants to be free from suffering. I found myself thinking about the importance of cultivating and strengthening my capacity for empathy, to nurture a habit of remembering that even people with whom I fervently disagree also want to be free from suffering, just as I do. What I find, again and again, is that insisting on orienting to empathy—which has nothing to do with agreeing with someone—can be very hard at times.Read More “746th Week: Everyone Has A Story”
As I write this, I’m sitting in the Admiral’s Club of American Airlines, waiting for a flight to California. I’m flying business class today, on miles, and I’m struck by the difference between the experience I’m having right now—complimentary coffee and food and a comfortable place to sit—compared to what it’s like when I fly economy. What this brings into my awareness is how easy it could be to overlook the quality of life being lived by people who don’t have the economic privilege I do. I find myself wondering how I would cultivate a deepened empathic awareness of people in need if my everyday life were regularly as generous and comfortable as the situation I’m in at the moment.
I remember reading some recent research that suggested that the more money people have the lower their scores on tests of empathy. Sitting here this morning, I can understand how that could happen. So, the question I have deals with any and all areas of privilege, be that economic privilege, racial privilege, gender privilege, ethnic privilege, religious privilege, or any other kind of privilege that comes automatically to certain classes of people. How do we expand our awareness to include those who don’t have access to whatever kinds of privilege we may take for granted and not even recognize as privilege? Read More “713th Week: Cultivating Empathy”
Here’s our December 2020 audio meditation on mp3…
For those of you who prefer to have images with your meditation, here’s our YouTube version of the same meditation…
Because of my interest in subtle activism—defined as those inner activities we undertake to support positive collective outcomes—I am always aware of the constant opportunity to contribute to our collective well-being through the attitudes, responses, and qualities we generate internally and emanate into our world in the course of our everyday lives. Just about every moment of any day, we can stop for a moment, take note of what we are radiating into the environment around us, and make a conscious choice to resonate with states of being that are positive, compassionate, and/or settling.
The other day, as I was settling into the steadiness I inevitably find within my embodied core presence, I was reminded of the fact that the steadiness I experience immediately flows out and into the environment around me and, from there, into the field of information that is our human collective consciousness. A while back, I realized that purposefully orienting to steadiness—or any other quality that supports self-regulation—can be a powerful and dynamic form of subtle activism.
It’s probably not hard to imagine how much our global human species currently needs steadiness. There is so much distress, chaos, and activation in the world that it seems to me that any added moments of steadiness might be a support in ways I haven’t imagined to people I will never know and yet who are people who share with me our connection within our shared collective consciousness.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, here’s a brief outline of a meditation on steadiness that can become a daily subtle activism practice:Read More “840th Week: Offering Steadiness as Subtle Activism”
Given the conflicted state of our human family, a state we’re more aware of than ever with our globally interconnected network on the web, practices that support a sense of relatedness are needed for all of us. I’ve written many times about how we are kin not only with every other human being on the planet but also with every other lifeform. All of us are born of this planet, which makes all of us part of one earth family.
I started to write a practice on lovingkindness, which I’ve written about many times, and then found myself shifting into thinking about a practice more focused on recognizing our kinship with one another from a particular perspective—from what Thich Nhat Hanh has described: we interare. He has coined a word, a verb, which is also a concept: interbeing. Charles Eisenstein uses this concept in his work, as well, and I recommend watching videos of his on YouTube. Interbeingmeans that we are inescapably interconnected and interdependent, that there is no way for us to be separate from one another nor from the ecological framework of our source of physical life—from Nature, from every functioning aspect of our planet and all the lifeforms on it.Read More “777th Week: Revisiting the Reality of Interbeing”