Sitting in Central Park on a recent weekend morning, someone passed by where I sat without smiling or any acknowledgment. That wasn’t odd. People have all kinds of responses as they walk along. Some smile and say hello. Others smile briefly as they go by without saying anything. Some look over without smiling. Some pass on by without doing anything but continuing their walk. This young woman was one of those folks.
I happened to look up when she was a good bit beyond me and I noticed that she was looking for or at something on the ground. I thought she might have dropped something. She finally found a small branch on the ground, stripped off the leaves, and then reached down between her feet and worked to move what was either a worm or some other crawly other-than-human off the walkway. When she finally had the crawly on the branch, she took it to the grass and left it there.
What touched me about this interaction is that this person cared enough to take the time to take the crawly other-than-human person out of harm’s way. That she noticed it and actively responded brought to mind the power of small acts of kindness, of the little things we do that add up over time. They are expressions of a fundamental kindness and a recognition that we share this world with countless others, some of whom are human and some of whom are other-than-human people. All are our earth-kin.Read More “844th Week: Small Acts of Kindness Add Up”
Walking across Central Park after a light snow, I noticed that the dogs were energetically jumping into the snow, running in it at full tilt, and generally having an enthusiastically delightful time. It got me to thinking about how important it is to remember that Read More “Week 661: Finding Breathing Space”
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”
For those who would like to have images with your meditation, here’s our link to YouTube for an audio meditation with images…