Walking to work one morning, I was in an area of Central Park where dogs gather for their morning playtime. As often as possible, I walk off the pathways, so I was in the middle of the doggie play area when a dog went by whom I hadn’t seen before. Both hind legs had been amputated and he had one artificial leg in the back to accompany his two front legs. What struck me was how agile he was and how he enjoyed sniffing the ground, moving around with relative ease. His situation looked so different from the many three-legged dogs I see in the park, and I enjoyed watching him move around, nose to the ground, doing regular “dog things”.
As I watched him, I thought about the power inherent in being adaptive and flexible in the presence of life’s challenges, changing circumstances, and unexpected developments. For many of us, the immediate response to change or an unexpected challenge is to pull in and constrict. When we do this, our brain’s natural ability to generate and notice options often goes off-line, leaving us with little to no flexibility.Read More “750th Week: Generating Flexibility”
As I write this, I’m in Amherst, Massachusetts, having just completed a small professional workshop. One of the things I always share with colleagues is the power of “being water” when working with clients, moving through life in general and, especially, when facing challenging situations. As I talked about being water, it reminded me of Read More “Week 632: Being Water”
Sitting in Central Park the other day, a whole crew of volunteers worked on the hill in front of me. They worked with wheelbarrows, rakes, and shovels, spreading a new layer of soil on the hill. As I watched them work together, my deepest response was one of gratitude that so many people showed up early on a weekday morning to offer their services to the park. Read More “Week 636: Supporting Cooperation and Collaboration”
Recently, I heard about a metaphor that I liked a lot and it got me to thinking again about the impact of our frame of reference on our perceptions as we move through any kind of experience. The metaphor was about stained glass windows. The underlying theme is that, even though every stained glass window has a different pattern or scene on it, even if the difference is very small or incredibly large, the fundamental reality of it is that the same light shines through it and every other stained glass window. Read More “Week 620: Finding Our Similarities”
I’ve written many times about the importance of being aware of the frequencies with which we resonate in any given moment, and of the impact they have not only on our internal quality of life but also on the quality of our engagement with our environment and the people and situations we encounter along the way. In every moment, we have choice as to how we respond to what’s happening to and around us.
You can think of frequencies as qualities. What qualities do you like to resonate with in your life? Do you enjoy feeling delight, ease, quiet, compassion? Do you find that you often engage fear or anger? Most of us feel the whole array of possible frequencies, given the moments in time and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
One thing I want to be sure to say at this point is that choosing the frequencies with which we want to resonate doesn’t mean not choosing to act when action is called for. I always think of the Dalai Lama when someone asked him if he ever gets angry. He said that he certainly did. Then he mentioned the importance of compassionate action when we experience injustice, for example, and that makes us angry. So, what I share here is not an invitation to passivity. Instead, it’s an invitation to more consistently notice the frequencies with which you resonate so that you have a moment of choice.
For example, when we find ourselves resonating with frequencies that are distressing or agitating, or when we lose awareness that we have jumped into one of these frequencies with both feet, we probably don’t end up feeling so good about our experience. A key here is to cultivate enough ongoing awareness to be able to notice when we become captivated or captured by a frequency that we don’t really like. Then, we can hopefully shift our attention to a frequency that feels more constructive.
An example might be a time when you are moving into irritation. If you can catch that, you might decide to shift to an awareness of the steadiness you carry in the core of your body and take a moment to settle in. When I feel irritation coming on, I do one of two things. If it’s during the day when I’m up and about, I shift into an awareness of my heart space and choose a quality of ease or flexibility with which I want to meet the experience that was irritating me. A very mundane and not-at-all dramatic example of this is when one of my feline family members started doing something in the middle of the night that woke me up every night at about 3am. When I found myself getting irritated, I reminded myself that the only person that would hurt was me, so I shifted to imagining myself filling up with light, throughout my whole body, and that put me back to sleep. Fortunately, the next day I found a solution to stop the middle-of-the-night antics and I saved myself from a sleepless night stirred up by irritation.
Here’s a practice focused on choosing frequencies. It can be a daily or weekly practice. It’s based on something I learned in a metaphysical school many, many years ago.
Choose the frequency with which you want to resonate this week. I suggest focusing on it for a week in order to become very familiar with the quality and tone of the frequency, which will make it easier to elicit when you want or need it.
Then, four times a day, at least, return to that frequency and affirm it as your choice to resonate with throughout the week.
When you arise in the morning
When you go to bed in the evening
In addition, when you first bring the frequency into awareness and touch into its qualities, give yourself some time to orient to the following:
Notice your whole body-mind experience of resonating with the frequency you have chosen for this week:
The sensations that arise in your body.
The tone and quality of your emotional experience.
The tone and quality of your mental experience.
The tone and quality of your spiritual experience.
Also notice the quality of your thoughts and behaviors throughout the week, becoming increasingly aware of how the frequencies with which you resonate have an immediate impact on your behavior and interactions with yourself and others. And, please remember that your self-talk is a form of self-hypnosis and the quality and tone of it truly matters.
Also, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything with or about them.
Here’s the audio version of this practice if you’d rather listen to it. Also, please remember never to listen to guided audio meditations while driving or using dangerous machinery.