827th Week: Cultivating Empathy, Along with Kindness
I often write about the importance of kindness. An essential companion to that practice is cultivating empathy. A definition of empathy found on google says: “Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “ I would add to this definition, “…and the ability to imagine what any other living being might be thinking or feeling…”
Because I have focused on cultivating a deepened awareness of heart perception in recent years, on the quality of intelligence that naturally arises when orienting to the heart brain, I find that it hurts my heart when I notice the increasing lack of expressions of empathy in public and social spheres of my American culture. And, this lack of empathy is not only focused on a wide array of our human kin. It also applies to many, if not most, of our other earth-kin. What often saddens me is how a lack of empathy leads to a lack of kindness, as well.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay more attention to your relationship with empathy. One way to do this is to ask your heart brain, rather than your head brain, what someone else might be feeling or experiencing. I find that heart intelligence has a different take on, or brings different qualities to, most experiences. In this week’s practice, notice what happens if you take the time to ask your heart what it has to say about someone else’s experience.Read More “827th Week: Cultivating Empathy, Along with Kindness”
910th Week: Entanglement: Individual and Collective Well-Being
There’s a concept drawn from quantum research that resonates deeply with many spiritual traditions and also touches into ideas that are found in psychology. It is called “entanglement”, and it proposes that we are intimately connected to and affect the world around us in everything we do. It also proposes that we, as individuals, are part of a collective within which there is no real separation, even though our physical bodies lead us to imagine that we stand alone. In the Rig Veda, there is a saying that says something like: “We are all woven into Indra’s net, out of which we cannot fall.” According to quantum research, it appears that we are, indeed, all part of a living system out of which we cannot fall. In addition to that, as part of this system, everything we do has an effect on the larger collective system.
As I thought about writing a practice today, I found myself orienting to a deepening sense and understanding of entanglement. I think that part of me is also chewing on subtle activism practices for these times. And so, with entanglement in mind, here are a few subtle activism possibilities for you to explore.Read More “910th Week: Entanglement: Individual and Collective Well-Being”
747th Week: Embodying Kindness
As I write this practice, I’m at a professional training outside New York City. The trainings are held in a hotel where we have been many times and it recently changed management. What many of us experienced as we arrived for this training was a noticeable difference in the “feel” of the hotel, a noticeable change in how we were met by the front desk, and a noticeable change in the quality of service we have encountered along the way.
At this training, my job is to manage the assisting team, as well as deal with participants who have questions or issues about the team. Each morning, we have a team meeting and take time to connect, settle in, and clear up any problems, questions, or issues that may have arisen during the prior day. One of the things I do as part of our team meeting is to take time for all of us to connect to our individual core presence and internal steadiness and, then, to connect with our collective team presence and steadiness. Our keynote is kindness, and I invite all of us to embody that particular quality as we move through the training days. Our job is to offer supportive containment as well as teaching input.
One of the things I’ve asked the team to keep in mind is to extend that kindness to the hotel building and all its employees. I ask this because we inevitably radiate into our environment the qualities that we carry with us as we move through the world. I can imagine that the employees and building receive a good bit of negative input, given the ways in which the place has changed, and I want to ensure that we don’t add to a collective quality of dissatisfaction, annoyance, and other activating feelings that the changes tend to elicit.Read More “747th Week: Embodying Kindness”
723rd Week: Making A Difference, Choice by Choice
One of my daily practices is to post an inspirational quotation and nature photograph to the Facebook page of Devadana Sanctuary and to the Devadana Sanctuary website at www.portaltomdl.com each morning. A surprising gift that comes to me as part of this practice is to be able to look at our beautiful planet at the beginning of each day as I choose the photograph of the day. As I review the library of inspirational quotations that I collect along the way, each morning also offers an immersion in the wisdom of so many inspiring people.
As I prepared the posting for today, I came across a couple of quotations that stuck with me and I want to share them here. They touched me because they speak to the ways in which our moment-to-moment, day-to-day choices make a difference in how we move through our world and in what we contribute—or don’t—to our collective well-being. Here are the quotations that caught my attention: Read More “723rd Week: Making A Difference, Choice by Choice”