I ran across the quotation on Facebook the other day, from Pema Chodron’s book, “The Pocket Pema”:
“Am I Going to Add to the Aggression?
Every day we could think about aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Darfur, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?’ Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, ‘Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?’”
This got me to thinking about how, in just about every moment, we face choices about how we move through the world, how we choose to express ourselves in a multitude of situations and circumstances. Even when we are in a situation like the current pandemic, where most of us stay at home much of the time. As we move through our daily experience even at home, endless moments arise, each offering choices about how we are going to respond to whatever may be unfolding.
Because I believe that we are part of a larger collective consciousness, one to which we contribute and from which we draw all the time, I also believe that it’s impossible not to affect ourselves and the collective through the choices we make as we respond to the world around us. I’ve written before about experimenting with orienting to heart perception and intelligence by asking ourselves, “What would my heart do right now?” Or, “How would my heart respond right now?” This doesn’t mean we will never be angry, distressed, embarrassed, or outraged. What it touches on is how do we choose to handle these feelings.Read More “831st Week: What Do We Add to the World Each Day?”
With all that has happened in the United States since January 6th, it seems a good time to revisit the process of returning to steadiness. Also, it’s a time to keep in mind that where we place our awareness and attention has an impact on the quality of reality that we experience and engage.
For many of us, it’s challenging to even begin to imagine how we will collectively heal the polarities and divisions we see not only in the United States, but all around the planet. I have framed this current situation as a potential “healing crisis”, where we are seemingly stuck in a collective situation that seems not to have an easy or ready solution.
In my recent return to explorations into dynamics that are more “quantum” in nature, I have been inviting myself to be curious as to how to orient myself to the idea of an “optimal human family” living on the planet in ways that support healthy living for everyone, including our non-human earth-kin. I’ve done this in much the same way as I have worked with the concept of the “optimal future self” over the past almost 40 years.
When I think of the idea of an “optimal human family”, I recognize that I have no way to envision specifics around this potential. So, drawing on what I have done with the “optimal future self” over all these years, I find myself calling on this potential, more than imagining it, and asking for it to move into this reality, holding the assumption that such a process is possible.Read More “824th Week: Returning to Steadiness Revisited”
Listening to an episode of On Being on NPR, Krista Tippett interviewed a journalist on the subject of how corporations and people who do good work for the world need to ask not only, what can I give, but also, how can I stop taking so much? He mentioned that, as individuals, we need not only to want the best for our own children but also for everyone else’s children. He went on to say that this doesn’t seem to be the value system he sees in the United States at this time and his comments got me to thinking about recent studies around empathy. These studies have revealed that there appears to be a correlation between increasing wealth and lessening empathy. When I listen to the news and look at the world around me, I see rather stark expressions of this correlation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t well-off people who express empathy in powerful, positive, and important ways. Instead, it points to an invitation to all of us who live in a materially privileged society such as the U.S. to pay attention to the world around us and to find ways to support and increase our empathic awareness and choices. Read More “733rd Week: Supporting Empathy”