Early this morning, I turned on the radio and listened to a brief political report on WNYC, the local public radio station here in NYC. What I heard was a recording of a recent political rally where what I call “the language of separateness” characterized what was said by the speaker. In addition to the sadness I felt at hearing language that had a violent and aggressive tone, language that demonized the “other”, I also began to think about the difference between “the language of separateness” and “the language of interbeing’. Interbeing is a verb created by the Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, and is now used beautifully and often by Charles Eisenstein, a speaker who focuses on social, economic, and ecological issues.
Later, I listened to an interview with Krista Tippett in her On Being broadcast where she talked with a woman who described how she engages people on the opposite side of the spectrum from where she lives politically and socially as a way to discover what was of key importance to both her and to the other person. Read More “728th Week: Language of Separateness; Language of Interbeing”
Several times in the last week, I’ve run across postings in classes I’m taking, as well as postings on Facebook, that speak to something that offers what, for me, is a source of support during these challenging and distressing times. Unfortunately, at the moment, my brain won’t give me the names of the people or places where I’ve run across these postings, so I’ll share some general ideas about what has touched me along the way.
I’ve written before about the importance of not going into collapse in the presence of what seem to be overwhelming circumstances. One of the ways to avoid collapse is to feel able to act in ways that meet, ameliorate, or change what causes suffering to our brothers and sisters of every species all around the planet, and to the planet itself. Read More “720th Week: Small Acts Matter”
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”