Walking across Central Park one morning, the air was filled with a fragrance that I meet during the early days of summer each year. A group of trees, Silver Lindens, have blossoms, clusters of small flowers, that release a powerful, heady and, to me, enchanting fragrance that captivates me each morning as I pass them on my way to the office. The blossoms don’t last very long, which makes them even more special, and I—along with many other people—inevitably stop for a moment, bury my nose in them deeply breathing in the sweet fragrance.
One morning as I walked on, I began to think about the powerful effect scents have on our internal experience… Read More “678th Week: Finding Ease”
Each morning, I post an inspirational quotation and a nature photo to the Devadana Sanctuary website and also to the Devadana Sanctuary page on Facebook. This morning, as I looked through all the photos I have available to post, I again felt so deeply moved by the beauty of our earth. This got me to thinking about all the various quotations I find that have to do with loving our earth as our mother, as our true home.
As I looked through prior posts, I became aware of how important it has become to me to take in something inspiring at the beginning of each day. For me, looking at images of our beautiful planet touches an important place in my being and helps me orient to the love I have for our earth and all the life within and on it. For me, taking time to love our planet, to love the nature that gives us life, automatically invites us to shift into heart awareness. The perception and intelligence of the heart (the heart-brain, actually), tends to naturally offer a different perspective than does the brain we carry around in our heads.
I am also moved by beautiful music or by the sound of birdsong, stories about acts of kindness, encountering a fur-friend, and more. Sources of inspiration might be different for you. For this week’s experiment, I invite you to pay even more attention to what brings you inspiration and deepens your heart awareness. Also, notice what happens when you remember to shift to something inspiring if you begin to feel overloaded by the challenges, suffering, and hardships you either experience personally or see happening in your world. If you don’t already start your day with inspiring input, notice what may be different about your experience of entering the day if you include something in your morning routine that offers you inspiration.
It’s helpful to remember that finding inspiration needn’t require anything special. There may be a plant in your living room that gives you pleasure and it may be inspiring to see new growth there. Or, you may have a piece of artwork or an object that brings a smile each time you look at it. It’s a matter of orienting to the quality of inspiration and then to noticing how you feel in your heart space when you engage this quality.
As with all these practices, there is no right way to engage this one. It is one more opportunity to become more deeply aware of how the quality of your consciousness, of where you orient your attention, affects the quality of your inner life. Bringing along curiosity as your constant companion supports discovering new sources of inspiration along the way. And, remembering to pat judgments on the head as they arise, move through, and move on, letting them go without having to engage them, can support an ever-deepening connection with whatever inspiration may offer itself to you.
Sitting in Central Park one weekend morning, a morning that was cloudy and quiet in the park, I felt a deep sense of peace radiating from all the trees around me. The quality of the trees and the environment they evoked reminded me of the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”, where people go amongst trees to soak in the healing that naturally emerges.
Attuning to the peaceful quality of the trees is, for me, similar to tuning in to a particular radio station, television channel, or on-line program… Read More “681st Week: Resonating with the Essence of Peace (Playing with Foreground/Background Dynamics)”
I’ve written many times about the importance of teaching ourselves to have access to the inherent intelligence and perception of the heart. The heart brain automatically orients to a sense of connection and it is deeply enriching to move through daily life from this perspective. That said, when one seeks to be in the world with an open heart, it is also possible to more keenly feel the pain and suffering of others, be they other humans, other species, our planet, Gaia, a living being.
I have long had, and constantly recommend, a practice of starting the day taking in something inspiring, rather than beginning the day watching or listening to the news. In the current political and social climate, I notice that my heart needs to fill up with even more inspiring stories of people helping people, people working to protect the environment, people doing acts that embody kindness, empathy, and awareness of the suffering of others. The lack of empathy in our current leadership in the United States is a powerful source of anguish, and one of the ways I’m able to keep my heart open and my awareness willing to take in what is happening to us collectively is to offer myself these daily moments of inspiration and good news. I remind myself regularly that, within a context of wholeness, there is always good happening if I will take the time to look for it. Read More “736th Week: Sources of Inspiration and Information”