A while back (764th Week’s practice), I wrote about choosing frequencies and engaging practices that make that process more fluid. Another helpful approach is to cultivate an awareness of the “foreground/background” dynamic that is present in every moment. Whatever is in the foreground of your awareness, there is likely to be something different in the background.
One way to think about these foreground/background dynamics could be the distinction between moments of upset in the foreground and an awareness of the present-day observer in the background. The observer is the part of us that notices what we experience and is able to make choices about what to do with what we notice. In this case, we’re exploring finding ways to shift from the foreground upset to a background of a more regulated quality, if that’s what you choose to do.
Drawing on an awareness of foreground/background allows more choice about whether you want to continue with the focus of your attention and experience or if you want to shift frequencies to something else that you may find in the background. For example, you may be upset over a news report you just heard, with your body tense, fear in the foreground, and thoughts of what terrible things might unfold. These responses are natural in these times, but you don’t need to live there. Once you notice how distressed you are, it’s possible to become curious about what might be in the background. Perhaps you notice a quality of quiet, or ease, internal steadiness, or reassurance of some kind. This doesn’t mean you are ignoring or denying issues that are realistically upsetting. Instead, it means that you will be able to respond more coherently if you aren’t caught up in the activation related to them.Read More “778th Week: Foreground/Background Dynamics Revisited”
Walking across Central Park one morning on my way to my office, I was aware of a cacophony of insect sounds all around me. It reminded me of when I lived in the Berkshires, where summer nights were filled with the songs of tree frogs and insects. Something about being enfolded in all that beautiful sound also reminded me of times I’ve been in landscapes with waterfalls, or near the ocean, where complete silence is never present, except in the momentary pause between waves on the shore.
As the enthusiastic insect songs accompanied me that particular morning, it got me to thinking about the place each of us has inside that embodies silence, no matter what may be going on around us. Our culture doesn’t tend to promote a conscious relationship with this aspect of ourselves, but deep inner quiet is always available somewhere deep inside each of us. Read More “727th Week: Finding Inner Silence”
For many years now, I have explored and practiced a variety of mind-body approaches. This focus in my life came naturally, as I was raised in a family that followed a health-food-oriented physician named Henry Bieler. This was many years before that was a popular idea, so my family’s ideas about how to stay healthy were different from most of the other people in my world. My grandmother was also a healer, so I was immersed in an environment where alternative options to everyday physical ailments were also available… Read More “687th Week: The Inner Smile”
I post a daily inspirational quotation and nature photo each morning on Facebook and on the Devadana Sanctuary side of my Portal to Multidimensional Living that keeps coming back to me this morning, so I’d like to share it here, along with some resources that have inspired me recently. Here’s that quotation. It’s a long one, but it has two elements in it that will be the basis of this week’s practice:
“So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassionand insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhala warriors must have compassionbecause it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.
But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other you need insightinto the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart.
With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion. Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world.” ~ Joanna Macy Read More “737th Week: Embracing Compassion and Insight”