Sitting in Central Park on an absolutely beautiful morning, I find myself focusing on a daily practice I’ve taken up since the political situation in the United States became so contentious. I’d like to share it here, in case you, too, would like to engage a way to contribute each day to whatever healing may be possible for all of us.
Because of my history of growing up in a multidimensional reality, where my grandmother was a healer and collaborated actively with the “unseen world”, I have been deeply grateful to have been able to engage in what is called subtle activism. For some people, this means a practice of prayer and/or meditation. For others, it’s a practice of imagining positive energies and outcomes, offering healing energy to situations of trauma and distress, and more.
The practice I’ve taken on as a serious daily aspect of my spiritual life is to imagine the essence of universal love flowing onto the planet and into every living being, offering whatever healing and inspiration may be available. I also imagine this universal force as flowing into our human collective consciousness, touching our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with the healing essence of love. My underlying intention is to support “the greatest good for the greatest number”. This intention allows me to be fully engaged without having to figure out how we will get to an outcome that serves the greatest good for the greatest number.
What appeals to me about imagining universal love touching and filling everything and everyone is that this force doesn’t come with any belief system. Every spiritual approach I’ve encountered has identified love as the most healing force in the universe and it comes with an open neutrality, content-wise, that appeals to me. One doesn’t have to believe anything in particular to have the healing benefits of universal love. One doesn’t have to do anything at all in order to receive love—it holds no prejudice, it expresses absolutely no separateness or tribalism.Read More “817th Week: The Healing Power of Love”
Walking across Central Park after a light snow, I noticed that the dogs were energetically jumping into the snow, running in it at full tilt, and generally having an enthusiastically delightful time. It got me to thinking about how important it is to remember that Read More “Week 661: Finding Breathing Space”
Listening to an interview this morning with Krista Tippett and Trabion Shorters, the subject they explored resonated deeply with me. Shorters describes his approach as viewing people, institutions, and society within what he calls “asset framing” instead of the usual “deficit frame” we draw on to think about and perceive people who may be in need or are in a challenging situation. It reminds me of the solution-focused psychotherapy approach where we are encouraged to see what’s going right rather than focusing on what’s going wrong. It also reminds me of the way that our brain’s default mode network. It’s the part of the brain that—when nothing else is going on—drifts into daydreams, thoughts, or questions about ourselves and our world. If our fundamental beliefs are negative, this is where our default mode networks hangs out. If they are positive, that’s where our awareness will go. Fortunately, if we find ourselves mired in negative or deficit thinking, we can talk to our default mode network and create shifts toward the positive or asset frame.
Listening to the interview, I could sense how important it is to actively promote an “asset frame” as part of our fundamental assumptions about the world and about the people around us. Instead of thinking of people in terms of their poverty or lack of opportunity, we can begin with focusing on what’s going right in their lives, on what they have accomplished, what their dreams are. For me, this also touches on connecting more realistically with the fact that we all—regardless of our culture, race, socialization, gender identity, or any of the other aspects that support our diversity—want much the same things in terms of quality of life. It reminds me of the Buddhist Lovingkingness meditation where we ask that all beings be free from suffering and be happy.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to first listen to this interview if you haven’t already heard it. Here’s the link from Tippett’s On Being website: https://onbeing.org/programs/trabian-shorters-a-cognitive-skill-to-magnify-humanity/Read More “863nd Week: Exploring “Asset Framing””
As a child, my grandmother was my first spiritual teacher and many of the things she taught me have stayed in my awareness over all these many years. One of the things she taught me I’ve written about before—the raincloud of knowable things. What continues to touch me about this concept is how vividly it reminds me that I’m never alone, that I am always and inevitably part of something much bigger than myself. In this case, it reminds me that I’m part of a vast collective consciousness that contains the wisdom of all humans across all time and that I and everyone else contributes to and draws from this collective all the time. This is an idea that has supported my work as a trauma specialist in psychotherapy and it is an idea that has given me hope even when things may have looked profoundly bleak.
It also touches into an experience that gets stronger for me as I age—that I am in community with a reciprocal environment all the time. I saw an illustration of this the other day as I walked across Central Park. I noticed a gentleman, early in the morning, taking cans and bottles out of the trash bins scattered throughout the park. It was a Monday morning, so the bins had quite a few offerings and I began to think about how this man’s activities support recycling, and that he contributes something meaningful that I usually wouldn’t know anything about. That got me to thinking about all the activities going on in my world that I don’t see and yet add to the quality and support of my life. It reminded me of the fact that, even at subtle levels, we constantly contribute to and draw from our collective environment.Read More “769th Week: The Raincloud of Knowable Things”