For those of us in the United States, it’s been a challenging time, as it has also been in Ukraine and many other parts of the world. There is abundant human suffering and for many of us it is a challenge to know how to keep our hearts open when there are so many heartbreaking events unfolding. There are also events that generate outrage and/or despair, and these feelings demand our attention and awareness, as well.
I have a deep respect for our wholeness, where nothing can be left out of the complexity of our experiences, feelings, responses, and reactions to our world and what is happening in it. For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a brief guided meditation to support being present to everything that you feel about what is going on in your world.
- To begin, take a moment to settle in where you can sit comfortably and remain alert and aware with your eyes closed.
- Notice the supportive presence of your body and also the presence of the support under you right now. Notice how your body receives this support and recognize that, for right now, there’s nothing you have to do or change. There’s just an invitation to be present to this meditation experience.
- Next, notice the place in you where you automatically settle when you follow the next out-breath down to the bottom of the breath. Most often, this place of arriving is where you also find your core presence.
- Here, in this place of core presence, there is a steadiness that is always present. It is an aspect of your wholeness that is never disturbed. It is always just what it is—steady.
- Take a few moments to become aware of this fundamental steadiness and allow yourself to resonate with it. Notice how the effect on your body and psyche when you take time to experience this steadiness—a place in you that is never disturbed. Let yourself fill up with the quality of steadiness.
- Whether you experience the steadiness as a sensation, a color, a sound—however it represents itself, fill yourself up with this quality. Imagine that you fill every particle of your body-mind being with it.
- Next, bring your awareness to your heart space. Place a hand on your heart to offer support and notice how you feel as you bring your awareness to your heart. Whatever is there, offer the support of your hand and just be with the feelings that may arise.
- A key here is to also bring along your awareness of the underlying steadiness of your core presence, the steadiness that is always there, that is never disturbed.
- Make room for both—whatever it is your heart feels and also the steadiness that fills your body-mind being.
- If you feel grief, anger, fear, despair—whatever arises, give it some time to move through you as you recognize that countless other people in the world right now feel exactly the same way. Honor and acknowledge the feeling as it moves through and notice what it’s like not to add anything else to it. It may come with its own words or sounds. Let it be what it is without ramping it up with added thoughts or words.
- Take some time now just to be present to your wholeness, to the truth of all that you feel, keeping in your awareness that the steadiness that is never disturbed is like a container for your wholeness right now. Also notice your hand as it supports your heart and recognize that you offer yourself the gift of your presence, of an acceptance of all that you feel, an acceptance of your wholeness.
- End this meditation orienting to the steadiness, allowing it to come into the foreground. Lean into it and feel its support in whatever ways make sense to you. It is always there in the background of your awareness. You can return to it, drawing it into the foreground in any moment you choose to do so.
- When you’re ready to come back, open your eyes if you haven’t already, wiggle your fingers and toes, and take a moment to allow your eyes to land on something that your eyes really enjoy seeing.
As with all these practices, 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.
These are times when our practices are very important companions along the way, as we are challenged in countless ways. Remember that in our wholeness we have everything we need to remain steady. It’s a matter of noticing what is in the foreground of awareness in any moment and that if we feel overwhelmed we have the ever-present steadiness to turn to, to draw on, as needed. It’s a powerful and useful resource to cultivate, so I recommend that you practice orienting to your underlying steadiness so it will be there when you need to bring it into the foreground of your awareness.
Walking across Central Park one morning, I became aware of the returning presence of birdsong throughout the park. It’s always a sure sign of spring and, along with the brightening of the light, touches me with the promise of the season to come. It also reminds me of the inevitability of change and of the gift of having a head’s up that change is coming, no matter how subtle that signal may be.
As a trauma therapist, and someone who works with shock trauma on a pretty consistent basis, I know the price the body and psyche pay when experiences emerge for which there was no warning. As a person who constantly delves into new information about science and processes in nature, I also keep in mind the idea of “emergence”, of the ways in which nature seeks novelty and brings together unlikely elements to create something new. I mentioned this in a prior practice, about how bringing together two air elements—a molecule of oxygen and a molecule of hydrogen—creates an unexpected outcome—a fluid, water. For me, this demonstrates how nature is full of surprises, how life is full of surprises, and that we never really know what will emerge within the context of a new cycle. Read More “709th Week: Noticing Emerging Change”
As I thought about what to write for this week’s practice in conscious living, my mind drifted to the importance of remembering to include our heart’s intelligence and perceptions as we move through daily life and, especially, as we move through challenging times. And, these are challenging times, indeed, all around the planet.
From a spiritual perspective, I experience our current national and world situation to be an expression of our need to mature as a species. On all sides, I see examples of people and countries making choices between recognizing and acting on our inevitable interdependence—our underlying oneness—versus grasping onto individual satisfaction and gain at the expense of others and the environment.
One of the ways I help myself return to an awareness of my relatedness to, and dependence on, all the life around me is to orient to my heart’s intelligence and perception. To support this perspective and direct experience, I regularly tap into sources of inspiration offered by people who live within an awareness of oneness, with the recognition that all life on this planet has the same mother/source, has inherent value, and has a right to be as free from suffering as possible.Read More “748th Week: Coming Back to Heart Intelligence”
I’ve written quite a bit lately about frequencies and the foreground/background dynamics of our underlying wholeness. One of the practices that, for me, is an effective and useful tool in affecting the quality of both my inner and outer life experience is taking time to choose the frequencies with which I want to resonate.
As I’ve described a number of times, what I mean by “frequency” is the tone and quality of what we experience and embody, and what we radiate into the world around us in every moment. For example, think of people you meet who seem to exude a sense of curiosity, delight, kindness, friendliness, etc. And, also, think of people you meet who seem to exude a quality of anger, fear, harshness, etc. These are all frequencies, and they are the tangible expressions of the qualities with which we resonate and which we radiate into our environment—both consciously and unconsciously. Most of the time, many of us—if not most—are unconscious of the these qualities, and we aren’t taught about how they tangibly affect our internal and external experiences.
Another aspect of our relationship to frequencies is the fact of our wholeness. Everything we have experienced and are is ever-present as part of our underlying and inescapable wholeness. When I teach about wholeness, I emphasize the fact that there’s nothing about us we can “get rid of” or “erase”. Instead, our wholeness is always with us, with some aspects of self expressing in the foreground of our experience and others sliding into the background. In this work with frequencies, we aren’t being asked to get rid of negative or troublesome aspects of ourselves. Instead, we are invited to choose a frequency that we want to experience in the foreground of our experience even as we allow our awareness to enfold all of what constitutes our wholeness.
This is where I call on the metaphor of a kaleidoscope, which I’ve shared many times. When we turn the tube of a kaleidoscope, all the pieces shift into a new pattern. Sometimes, a color we haven’t seen for quite a while may pop into view while another drops away. This is the way I think of the dynamics of wholeness: aspects of ourselves slide into the foreground while others drop into the background.Read More “854th week: Choose Your Frequency”