Here’s the July 2020 Audio Meditation…
For those of you who would prefer to have images with your meditation, here’s the YouTube version…
One of the truly challenging practices for many of us is to live with harmlessness, called “ahimsa” in Sanskrit. A question that arises is, how do we engage the world actively without causing harm? I remember someone once saying that the Buddha said it’s impossible not to cause harm in many small ways, simply by living. We eat other beings as food, we inadvertently step on insects when walking around, we use and then throw away many things throughout the course of our daily lives. And, when it comes to social action, how do we engage that if we have a commitment to ahimsa?
Read More “667th Week: Practicing “Ahimsa”, Harmlessness”
Walking through Central Park one morning, as I do every morning on my way to work, I went in amongst the trees – something I also do every day. I’m often in the same areas where off-leash dogs run and play, so I’m used to having dogs appear seemingly out of nowhere as they explore their very large playground.
When I first began to commute across the park, some 20 years ago now, my body had to unlearn some early programing that constantly caused me to experience a startle response when a dog would either come toward me or suddenly show up behind or near me. This response came from grammar school experiences of being chased by a neighborhood dog where I was not at all amused, as were the boys who encouraged the dog to chase me.
On this particular morning, my attention was with the trees, as it usually is when I walk in certain areas of the park, and I suddenly felt something nip at the heel of my shoe… Read More “676th Week: Healing Happens”
There is a Japanese philosophy called “wabi sabi”, which is about accepting and embracing that which is imperfect or flawed. Most of you have probably seen kintsugi pottery, where gold is used to fill cracks that appear in a piece of pottery—a bowl, cup, vase. One person who wrote about this said that kintsugi is how one can acknowledge the fact that the pottery object earned those cracks through the process of living and that filling the cracks with gold honors the fact of that experience.
I just saw a little dog standing in an open area of lawn, wildly barking at a squirrel who was up a very tall tree nearby. It made quite a funny picture, with the lawn and the size of the tree making the small dog look even smaller. What it brought to mind was a sense of focused intention and energetic commitment. The squirrel was all that mattered and the little fur-face on the ground was giving it all he was worth.
This got me to thinking about where we put our energy. All the barking in the world wasn’t going to get the squirrel within reach of the dog and I found myself wondering about all the energy we may put into things that aren’t really available to engage with us. With all the gadgets that we now have available to us, and with most of us carrying around a computer in our pocket in our smart phones, there are increasing opportunities to spend time in less conscious and less focused ways. At times, I find myself doing a word game that can take up an unexpected amount of time and I’ve made a commitment to myself that I’ll only do that a couple of times a day. Instead of that activity, I now spend the same time reading on my kindle and I find that it’s much more satisfying, ultimately, than endlessly playing the word game.
Also, at my age, I’m keenly aware of a more limited amount of time in front of me and I have made it a practice to ask myself if what I’m doing honors the fact that I don’t want to waste whatever time I have left to be here. I hope that doesn’t sound morbid because, for me, it’s a powerfully positive motivator and invites me to focus my attention more clearly.Read More “836th Week: Noticing Where We Put Our Energy”
One of the primary practices I follow on a daily basis is to move through the world reminding myself that everyone and everything I encounter along the way is, in some way, “kin”. All are part of this planet’s life and nothing I see or engage with in the course of my daily activities is outside this planet’s origins. One of the things I’ve noticed, as a result of this practice of remembering that I am related to everyone and everything around me is that it has nurtured a deepened sense of connection. It doesn’t really matter what I may feel connected to in any given moment. The underlying and overall experience is one of never really being alone.
Indigenous peoples have understood and lived this perspective naturally, and there are other non-indigenous teachers who also hold this perspective. Among them is David Spangler, a mystic and spiritual teacher who was part of the early years of Findhorn, in Scotland. Through an organization, Lorian, David has published a number of books that speak to these kinds of experiences. There is also Daniel Foor, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with ancestors but now also focuses on the theme of animism, an approach to life that says all are kin. The perspective we share is that nothing is outside the collective life of this planet, nothing is without its own inherent value and right to be acknowledged and respected.Read More “745th Week: Expanding Our Sense of “Kin””