Sitting in my living room on a Sunday morning, I’m filled with the gift of silence. No city noises disturb the quiet this morning and that is a great gift. It has gotten me to thinking about the brain research I’ve mentioned before that reflects the benefits of silence in fundamental and literal ways.
One of the benefits of having quiet time, time spent in silence, is that we gain access to our default mode network. This is the aspect of brain activity where we allow our minds to wander, to think deeply, to listen to our internal experience. All it requires is for us to move away from distractions and give ourselves quiet time to simply be present to our awareness.
Another reason to seek out times of silence is that research has shown that two hours of silence daily can lead “…to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, a key brain region associated with learning, memory and emotion.” In addition to this, we know that noise pollution raises blood pressure and creates stress for both body and mind. According to researchers, “Just as too much noise can cause stress and tension, research has found that silence has the opposite effect, releasing tension in the brain and body.” These findings were reported in the Huffington Post by Carolyn Gregoire and shared by Daily Good a while back.Read More “816th Week: Return to Silence”
Sitting in Central Park on a Sunday morning, there is a loud and enthusiastic race going on nearby with lots of hoots and hollers as people run by. I’m here amongst my tree friends and what I’m aware of is the pervasive and steady quiet they radiate into my awareness. This moment has taken me back to my experience of the foreground/ background dynamic that is always present. By bringing my awareness to the background of pervasive quiet here amongst the trees, it shifts into the foreground of my awareness even as the enthusiastic shouting of the race slides into the background. I feel my body relax into the quiet, into the pervasive silence that the trees radiate.
This got me to thinking yet again about how important it can be to be able to choose what we bring into the foreground of awareness and what we allow to hover in the background. In my practice of attending to wholeness as much as possible, I do my best not to leave out an awareness of what’s happening around me, what’s happening in the world, and to acknowledge not only what brings me ease and happiness but also what touches into an awareness of suffering, outrage, and compassion. And so, shifting things from foreground to background and vice versa doesn’t mean to actively go into denial about what’s unfolding in my immediate environment or in the world. Rather, it offers a way to choose which awareness is most appropriate and most healthy in any given moment.Read More “764th Week: Choosing the Focus of Attention—Foreground/Background”
A daily practice that has emerged for me over the years is to post an inspirational quotation and photo of nature each day on the Devadana Sanctuary Facebook page and also on the Devadana Sanctuary side of my Portal to Multidimensional Living, www.portaltomdl.com. As a result of this practice, I have found myself looking through thousands of photographs of this amazing planet each and every morning. More than once, I have found myself moved to tears by the stunning beauty and creativity of nature and have found that this has become a powerful and sacred morning practice.
One of the things I have noticed over these years is how much more aware I am of the intricacies, creativity, and stunning diversity that are part of Nature’s Intelligence. I capitalize those words because I think of Nature as a living Intelligence, one that informs and lives in, through, and as each and every one of us.Read More “804th Week: Celebrating Our Beautiful Planet”
I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to go to Central Park on some days to get exercise and to plop myself down on a bench where I have spent so much time over the years in meditation and contemplation with my tree friends. One of the things that I’ve noticed each time I’m in the park these days is how many people are jogging and walking without wearing masks. This got me to thinking about our participation as members of a community and how we have an ongoing opportunity to take responsibility for our part in supporting everyone around us.
As I pondered the question of why people aren’t wearing masks as they exercise and walk around Central Park, I could only imagine that they haven’t quite registered that we are wearing masks to protect one another. They aren’t really to protect ourselves, since most of us don’t have the kind of mask that will filter out viruses. The reason we are wearing them is because we could unknowingly be carriers of the virus and we are protecting everyone around us.
For this week’s practice, I invite all of us to be aware of our place within our communities. Wherever we live, we are part of a collective and we are responsible for our contributions to our community, however that might be arranged and however small or large those contributions. What I’d like to ask all of us to consider is how are we caring for our community? What practices do we bring to help support and protect those around us? In the building where I live in New York City we have active cases of the Covid virus, so all of us are asked to be sure to wear masks and gloves when interacting with the doormen and concierges in the lobby of this very large building and in the laundry room as a way to protect the people who work here, as well as to protect each other.Read More “784th Week: Being Part of a Community”