One of the truly challenging practices for many of us is to live with harmlessness, called “ahimsa” in Sanskrit. A question that arises is, how do we engage the world actively without causing harm? I remember someone once saying that the Buddha said it’s impossible not to cause harm in many small ways, simply by living. We eat other beings as food, we inadvertently step on insects when walking around, we use and then throw away many things throughout the course of our daily lives. And, when it comes to social action, how do we engage that if we have a commitment to ahimsa?
Read More “667th Week: Practicing “Ahimsa”, Harmlessness”
As we experience the intense polarization and conflict in the United States, and also that which has arisen in so many other countries, it feels more important than ever to engage practices that remind us that we are one earth family and that we can’t survive independent from the countless contributions of our human family and our other-than-human earth family.
I’ve written before about the South African concept and practice of Ubuntu—“I am because you are”, which recognizes and lives into the reality that it is only through the support of the people around us that we are able to be. Here’s one reference describing Ubuntu, one among many: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ubuntu_(philosophy)
Another approach to this same idea comes from Psychiatrist Dan Siegel who has developed what he calls “Intraconnection”, where he describes our awareness as moving from “me to we to mwe”. Here’s a link to his new book on the subject: https://www.amazon.com/IntraConnected-Integration-Belonging-Identity-IPNB/dp/0393711692/ref=sr_1_2?crid=N39CCKTAR989&keywords=Dan+Siegel+intraconnected&pldnSite=1&qid=1658667706&sprefix=dan+siegel+intraconnected%2Caps%2C124&sr=8-2
Then, there’s Thich Nhat Hanh’s coining the verb interbeing, where he says that we interare in every moment, that we cannot really be separate from everything around us. Here’s a link to an article by Thich Nhat Hanh on interbeing: https://www.garrisoninstitute.org/blog/insight-of-interbeing/
These and other related approaches and concepts invite us to expand our worldview to move beyond U.S. culture’s (and the cultures of other countries, as well) emphasis on individual issues such as rights, freedom, and independence. For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to dive a bit more deeply into this subject than you may have done before and ask yourself, each day, to recognize your interbeing and interdependence in some way you might ordinarily ignore it.Read More “883rd Week: Cultivating A Deeper Awareness of Interbeing and Interdependence”
As I prepared to write this week’s practice in conscious living, it became clear that I needed to take two of my three feline family members to an emergency vet on different nights during the week. One of the things related to being in an emergency facility is that there is plenty of time to wait. It’s first come, first served and there’s no way to rush the attention needed in emergency visits.
To help keep my feline friends calm, I needed to draw on the calm part of myself—to bring the calm aspect of my wholeness into the foreground of my experience. This got me to thinking about offering a practice around the importance of embracing our wholeness so that we are able to remember that all aspects of being can shift from foreground to background and, also from background to foreground. In these emergency experiences, I remembered that I’ve developed a much deeper relationship with being calm and centered and that, even when this aspect of being drops into the background of my awareness, it’s always there to invite forward when I’m able to do so.
It’s helpful to remember that trauma can add an energy “punch” to some aspects of our wholeness so that when they move into the foreground of awareness we may find ourselves activated in ways we hadn’t expected and which we may have a hard time managing. A year-and-a-half ago, when one of my feline family members had a dental emergency, I found myself catapulted into a very young part of my wholeness. What I noticed this time around was that the efforts I invested over the last year dealing with what got pulled into the foreground last year made a noticeable difference, for which I have been very grateful. I was calm in a way I wouldn’t have predicted, given my previous responses.Read More “852nd Week: Wholeness and Shifting Foreground to Background and Background to Foreground”