As I write this practice, those of us in the US are in the midst of an election process that generally moves along smoothly. Many of us have voted early, many by mail, and because of Covid many by absentee ballots. Because of the mail and absentee ballots, including those that always come from our neighbors in the military, the vote count is taking its natural time to allow for tabulation of each and every vote. People on every side of every issue feel the stress of wondering what the final outcome of a number of races will be.
One of the practices that I have cultivated over the last four years has been to strengthen both my access to, and experience of, the inherent steadiness that lives in the core of my body-mind being. It’s a steadiness that lives in the core of everyone, although often not easily recognized by Western culture, which hasn’t historically emphasized an embodied way of being.
For this week, I invite you to follow the practice below to both access a deeper awareness of the steadiness in you but also to invite yourself to radiate this steadiness into our collective consciousness and into your immediate environment. It’s important to keep in mind that the steadiness to which I refer in this practice is an aspect of your being that cannot be disturbed. It is not affected by the ups and downs of everyday life nor is it rattled or upset by what unfolds in the world around you. It is an aspect of the fundamental core of your being and, if you follow any spiritual practices, represents that aspect of you that arises from your Source, whatever you imagine that to be.Read More “815th Week: Radiating Steadiness”
I posted this quotation to the Devadana Sanctuary website and Facebook page, as one of the daily inspirational posts that go up each morning:
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.
~ John O’Donohue
One of the things I seem to always experience with the poetry of John O’Donohue is how alive his words become as I live into them and allow them to touch me. This poem feels deeply relevant to our current experience of the Covid pandemic and reminded me of the importance of taking time to nourish ourselves in gentle ways.Read More “801st Week: Nurturing Gentle Moments”
In this time of so much polarization and conflict, it feels more important than ever to include heart perception and intelligence as part of moving through everyday life. I’ve written many times about how being mindful offers ongoing opportunities for choice and, these days, having access to being able to choose how we want to engage and move through conversations with people with whom we may disagree becomes a very important resource.
One of the other things I know I’ve mentioned a number of times is the powerful quality and orientation of the heart brain’s intelligence and perception. Most of us are quite familiar with our head brain’s ways of perceiving and of our cognitive styles of intelligence and understanding. The heart brain often perceives and understands things quite differently, which becomes immediately apparent when we take the time to tune into it.Read More “741st Week: Cultivating Heart Perception”
In a recent On Being broadcast on NPR, I heard a story about Howard Thurman’s grandmother. Howard Thurman was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and was an influential theologian. He was a mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King and also one of the principle architects of nonviolent protests. His grandmother was a former slave who owned land in an area where there were also white people.
Apparently, Thurman’s grandmother had a neighbor, a white woman who apparently was unkind to all in her neighborhood and not just to Thurman’s grandmother. At one point, the neighbor began to gather chicken droppings from her chicken coop on a regular basis and dump them on the garden of Thurman’s grandmother. Rather than retaliate, his grandmother turned the chicken droppings into the soil each time they arrived. In time, her garden flourished because of all the natural fertilizer in the chicken droppings.
The neighbor woman eventually became quite ill and, because of her way of relating to people, no one was willing to visit her or help her. One day, Thurman’s grandmother went to visit the woman, taking her a large bouquet of flowers. The woman was surprised and delighted to receive the flowers and commented on how beautiful they were. Thurman’s grandmother said in response that the flowers were so beautiful because of all the neighbor’s contributions of fertilizer to her garden.Read More “814th Week: Being Kind Doesn’t Mean You Have to Agree”
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”