I’ve written a number of times about a particular dog I run into in Central Park on many mornings as I walk to my office. She’s some kind of border collie and finds a great deal of delight in chasing and retrieving a Frisbee her human throws for her each morning. What she adds to her fun is to capture the attention of certain people who walk amongst trees along a small path near where she plays, and her relentless enthusiasm has caused many of us to risk being late to work to throw the Frisbee for her “just one more time.”
One morning, I walked along a different part of this particular area in the park, up a bit higher, amongst some pine trees, and I was able to watch her discover yet another person she chose to be her playmate for that morning. It was delightful to watch her enthusiasm when the woman picked up and threw the Frisbee for her. This dog’s human is always right nearby, but he has also learned that she enjoys including others in her morning ritual of play.
As I walked on across the park, I got to thinking about the many opportunities a day provides to connect with people, animals, plants, critters of every kind. Read More “710th Week: Catching Moments to Connect”
One of the themes that has accompanied me throughout most of my adult life is how to support a shift away from our everyday humancentered thinking and behaving and to move toward the recognition that we are part of an Earth family. This kind of shift offers us a perspective that invites us to honor and respect the vast array of our other-than-human earth-kin, all the life and beings with whom we share this planet.
So much of Western philosophical and religious thinking has divorced our physical lives from our “spiritual lives”, holding an attitude that part of our journey here is to transcend this physical world. Thankfully, I think that this is no longer a dominant attitude to the degree it used to be, but it has been a source of great harm to our planet and our other earth-kin.
Thankfully, people such as Daniel Siegel, a psychiatrist who has become a dominant figure in the trauma resolution community along with others have developed approaches that challenge our tendency to put the individual before our collective. Here’s a link to a brief talk by Dan about his approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo8Yo4UE6g0
It orients us to our larger collective and is an important perspective to have in place when beginning to shift away from a humancentric and individualistic orientation. It invites us to collective well-being and it’s not a huge leap to include our other-than-human earth-kin as well as our human kin.
When I was in graduate school many years ago now, I wrote about what I called Psychoecology, focusing on the place of humans within the larger ecological context. I never developed it beyond that but there are many other people who offer perspectives that move away from humancentric thinking and behavior and I recommend exploring these more deeply if you are interested. Look up Animism, Pantheism and more on google.com. Here’s a piece from the BBC about humans and the natural world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gWGP34-4tY
And, many indigenous cultures have always experienced humans as part of Nature, as part of an earth family with whom humans must cooperate if we are to survive. Here’s a clip of the voices of young indigenous people who are involved in climate change efforts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm8Ctb2w81Y
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I offer the following guided meditation that offers an opportunity to explore shifting away from humancentric thinking:Read More “893rd Week: A Meditation on Our Earth Family”
I often listen to BBC news when I get a chance to do so, as their global focus offers an opportunity to become aware of what’s happening around the world. One of the themes that shows up constantly is how polarization and aggression seem to be in the forefront of so much human activity these days. It may always have been this way, but we now have access to knowing what’s going on in places we may never experience in person.
This current global situation brings to mind the importance of expressions of kindness, as well as a commitment to actively cultivate kindness in our everyday lives. Many of us remember the time when “random acts of kindness” was a subject that was often in the forefront of our awareness. For me, these acts of kindness not only benefit both the giver and the receiver, but they also benefit our collective human consciousness—that field of consciousness that contains everything that humans express and experience. We often talk about environmental pollution here in the physical world. It’s also helpful to remember that we are also in a collective psychic environment which is generated by our collective thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and responses. What we do individually immediately becomes part of this collective field.Read More “830th Week: Supporting and Cultivating Expressions of Kindness”
Each morning, I post a “daily inspiration” on the Devadana Sanctuary Facebook page. It’s something I do 365 days a year and it’s the first computer thing I do once my morning routine of getting my own act together is accomplished along with taking care of the three felines who live with me.
On a recent morning, I opened the computer and found that none of my documents would open. I decided to restart the computer and when I did the computer simply stopped booting up. I was left with a dark screen and no way into the computer. I shut it down and gratefully went to my smaller travel computer to do the post. Later, after my regular computer had had some time to rest, I turned it on and everything was back to normal. What struck me was that my recent intention to resonate with qualities of flexibility was very much in the foreground of this experience, as I didn’t get activated or tense when my computer stopped working. Having a backup device certainly made a difference but the “old” me would have been agitated anyway.
This is a very small adaptation compared to what’s happening in people’s lives all around the planet, so I don’t present it as something that was hard to do. Rather, it brings to mind the current reality of how we are confronted with a need to adapt to change in countless ways. With the pandemic and climate change, these moments of having to be flexible and generate new options appear just about every day. They are further complicated when what unfolds generates trauma, loss, financial fears and need, food scarcity, and so much more.
In my experience, one of the characteristics of flexibility is the ability to “soften” in the presence of frustration and obstruction. One thing I want to be sure to say now, rather than later, is that being flexible and softening don’t in any way mean not to respond or take actions that may be needed. Even when we are flexible, we also maintain the ability to act in whatever ways are called for, be these personal actions or actions on behalf of others.Read More “848th Week: Cultivating Flexibility, Generating Options”