In a recent conversation with a colleague, she mentioned reading an article that focused on the fact that what we perceive, where we focus our “seeing”, has a concrete effect in our world. This reminded me of the quantum physics findings around the “observer effect”. The observer effect speaks to the fact that the observer of an experiment seems to have a powerful and important impact on the outcome of the experiment. What the observer expects turns out to be what actually happens.
In the article my colleague mentioned, the author encouraged people to see what is good and right in their world as, in this way, they promote those qualities and outcomes, drawing on the dynamics of the observer effect. This reminded me of something I’ve shared before in a number of experiments on the dynamics of what is called subtle activism. Read More “693rd Week: Orienting to “Seeing What’s Good””
One of the things the Internet has given us is more access to connecting and communicating with one another. This is all to the good when the communication promotes the well-being of everyone. It becomes a problem when it allows people to feed their fears. We see this phenomenon around the world in those groups that seek to oppress or eliminate other groups of people who may be different from them or in some way represent a threat.
As a trauma specialist, this got me to thinking about how important it is to be conscious of our fears and to cultivate ways to become even more conscious of, meet, and process this powerful emotion. So much of what creates division and conflict among human beings—be they in a one-on-one relationship, a family, a community, a country—is the presence of underlying, and often unrecognized or disowned, fear.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a practice that can be helpful in recognizing and dealing with the presence of fear. Fear isn’t an emotion we can eliminate because it’s an important survival response that we need throughout life. It’s essential that fear can motivate us to jump out of the way of a bus we hadn’t seen, or remind us not to walk down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night. The problem is that we are often afraid of things that aren’t threatening and, when we act on these kinds of fears, we often generate even more trauma in ourselves and others.Read More “747th Week: The Power of Fear”
One of the things that has always made sense to me is an awareness that, at the core of us, we are whole. We may not feel all the aspects of ourselves at any given moment but, just as a kaleidoscope doesn’t reveal all the pieces of glass in any one design it creates, all the pieces are still there, even when they aren’t visible. Read More “Week 648:Finding Your Inherent Steadiness”
Walking across Central Park one morning, I watched a dog wiggle and waggle in anticipation of chasing a ball. His attention was absolutely fixed on the ball in his human companion’s hand. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else registered as the ball was finally in the air and he ran after it with great enthusiasm. This got me to thinking about how powerfully the focus of our attention affects what we perceive and how we engage the world. Read More “Week 628: Where Do You Place Your Attention?”
When I was very young, my grandmother used to talk to me about a schism she saw coming in what she felt would be my future. This was back in the early ’50’s, when she essentially became my first spiritual teacher. Read More “Week 652: Oneness and Separateness”
Sitting in Central Park is always a nourishing, and complex, experience. In the area where I spend time on weekend mornings, there is plenty of space for dogs to run off-leash and play, and many people walk by me as the morning unfolds itself. This morning, Read More “Week 650: Back to Being with “What Is As It Is””