I just spent a week teaching at the Cape Cod Institute in Massachusetts and find myself filled with a celebration of green trees and fresh, cool air. As I contemplate returning to New York City on what will be a hot summer’s day in the city, I find myself deeply grateful for the ability we have to carry images and impressions with us wherever we go. I can take the green along with me, and the generous remembered presence of birds, and, at times, deep quiet.
This all gets me to thinking yet again about the importance of where we place our awareness, and with what kinds of memories and impressions we nourish ourselves. Where we focus our awareness matters, and has a direct and noticeable impact on the resilience and health of our body-mind being. Read More “719th Week: Taking Time to Renew Yourself”
Here’s the October 2019 Audio Meditation:
If you would prefer to experience this meditation with images, here’s the YouTube version:
Walking across Central Park the other day, I thought about an interview I listened to as I got ready to move into the day. Generally, I spend the morning carrying my laptop computer around with me, as I watch or listen to inspiring interviews I find on youtube and other websites. It’s a habit I began a number of years ago after Read More “Week 625: Setting the Tone for Your Day”
As I begin to put together the year-long offerings of audio meditations on my website, I’ve been thinking about the focus for the coming year. Lately, I’ve had a deepening awareness of the importance of experiencing all the other life on this beautiful planet as “earth-kin”. We are all related, all children of the same mother planet, and many of us humans have been taught that we are somehow superior or “more evolved” than our other earth-kin.
I recently read a book, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”, by Frans de Waal, that addresses this humancentric bias. De Waal offers many examples of how our research on other earth-kin has tended to orient to human assumptions and human ways of doing things. One of my favorite examples had to do with making a mark on an elephant’s face or head and then having this earth-kin look in a mirror to see if he or she recognized themselves. They didn’t and someone realized that the problem wasn’t that elephants can’t recognize themselves but rather that the mirrors weren’t elephant sized. Once large enough mirrors were provided, the elephants immediately recognized that something was on their face and responded appropriately.
Another example had to do with research on gibbons, where researchers decided that they weren’t as intelligent as other primates because they couldn’t do a particular task that required them to use their hands in a certain way. A young researcher noticed that the task was oriented to human hands and not to the way that gibbons use theirs. When the experiment was retooled to reflect gibbon digits and manipulation, not surprisingly they performed as well as any other primate.
It can be both surprising and startling to know that slime mold does very well solving the challenge of a maze, better and faster than some other kinds of earth-kin. It can also be surprising to know that some species chose to evolve toward more complexity while others chose to evolve into less complexity, each and all having their own style of measurable intelligence. Here’s a link to a quick video about slime mold moving through a maze and also creating a complex network of connections that match the design of the Tokyo rail system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyzT5b0tNtkRead More “822nd Week: Honoring Our Earth-Kin”
Recently, I read an article that described a research project done by a woman in Germany. It was published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin and addressed a subject that I have experienced and promoted for many years. The research looked at the relationship between a person’s sense of greater life satisfaction and a belief in oneness, “…the idea that everything in the world is connected and interdependent.”
Two things struck me about this research. First, that it was published by the American Psychological Association gave me hope that the concept of oneness is becoming more mainstream, or at least on its way to that, and secondly that this belief has a positive impact on people regardless of their religion.Read More “753rd Week: The Benefits of a Sense of Oneness”
It’s a holiday weekend and I spent a bit of time on Facebook this morning. Reading about the plight of immigrant families being separated at the U.S. border and all the other unfortunate developments arising in so many different ways, I found myself again wondering how to cultivate hope and hold a sense that things can be better. Then I remembered a documentary I recently watched that ended up giving me some unanticipated optimism. It’s a talk given by Jeremy Rifkin, an economic and social theorist. It’s called “The Third Industrial Revolution” and, even though it begins with examples of our dire environmental crisis, it ends on hopeful notes of what is emerging already within the awareness of millennials around the world. Even with all the challenges and misuses, the Internet has created a more directly connected experience amongst young people in many countries and that is already creating change in how they think about and treat one another.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to watch the documentary and notice what it touches in you. Your experience may be different from my own, and it may not bring a hopeful sense to you. Whatever arises when you have watched it all the way through, notice what it may prompt you to do. We are all in this together and our individual and collective actions matter. For me, having a sense of possibility, a sense that there may be solutions to what we see happening in the world today, is a great gift. I hope it is for you, too. Here’s the link to the documentary: Read More “715th Week: Cultivating Hope”