Knowing that the one thing we can depend on in life is change is a very helpful orientation to have. Then, when change does come, we’re not as surprised when things aren’t the way we would prefer them to be. Read More “Week 633: Grappling with Preferences”
As I pondered what this week’s practice in conscious living might be, I came across an article I saved a while back about research that’s been done on gratitude. This research demonstrates the powerful health-giving effects of what David Steindl-Rast calls gratefulness. Then I ran across another note I saved about a Buddhist practice that focuses on “finding the hidden people”… Read More “691st Week: Return to Gratitude”
I write this practice on the first weekend of the new year. The year just passed brought many challenges, not the least of which has been our global, collective experience with Covid 19. Other challenges arose, as well, bringing with them an inescapable awareness of cultural beliefs and norms that need to be updated, changed, eliminated, or transformed depending on what they represent and what they support in our social consciousness and behavior.
I’ve also been thinking about the intersection between deeply held intentions and what has been called the “quantum foam”—the arena in which an infinite array of probabilities may be found. In quantum research and theory, it has become apparent that probabilities dance in and out of reality all the time, responding in part to the “observer effect”. For me, this equates with how our deep choices interact outside our conscious awareness with the emergence of particular probabilities and I find this a much more dynamic and creative idea than our usual “New Year’s resolutions” type of activity.Read More “823rd Week: Beginnings, Intentions, Probabilities”
In a recent On Being broadcast on NPR, I heard a story about Howard Thurman’s grandmother. Howard Thurman was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement and was an influential theologian. He was a mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King and also one of the principle architects of nonviolent protests. His grandmother was a former slave who owned land in an area where there were also white people.
Apparently, Thurman’s grandmother had a neighbor, a white woman who apparently was unkind to all in her neighborhood and not just to Thurman’s grandmother. At one point, the neighbor began to gather chicken droppings from her chicken coop on a regular basis and dump them on the garden of Thurman’s grandmother. Rather than retaliate, his grandmother turned the chicken droppings into the soil each time they arrived. In time, her garden flourished because of all the natural fertilizer in the chicken droppings.
The neighbor woman eventually became quite ill and, because of her way of relating to people, no one was willing to visit her or help her. One day, Thurman’s grandmother went to visit the woman, taking her a large bouquet of flowers. The woman was surprised and delighted to receive the flowers and commented on how beautiful they were. Thurman’s grandmother said in response that the flowers were so beautiful because of all the neighbor’s contributions of fertilizer to her garden.Read More “814th Week: Being Kind Doesn’t Mean You Have to Agree”
In a recent article entitled, “Your Brain Has a Delete Button—Here’s How to Use It”, the authors, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane, talk about research that’s been done on the presence and function of the brain’s “microglial” cells that are the “gardeners of the brain”. These cells prune and remove synapses while we sleep. Most importantly, they remove those synapses we don’t use very much. In fact, the brain marks the unused synapses with a protein that signals the microglial cells to go ahead and prune them.
Because all self-talk is self-hypnosis, and because where we focus our thinking activates the synapses related to these thoughts, it behooves us to be mindful about where we’re spending our internal self-talk time. One example in the article is this:
“If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.”
They go on to say:
“To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.”Read More “768th Week: More Reasons Why Tracking Your Self-Talk is So Important”