Sitting in Central Park one morning, I thought about an On Being interview I heard about the importance of hope when looking toward what needs to change in our collective world of human presence and activity. As I listened, I thought about the war in Ukraine and about the powerful polarization that exists in my country, the U.S., and also in other countries around the world.
From a spiritual perspective, I interpret this polarization to involve those who, perhaps because of fear, orient to a stance of individual rights, discomfort with “difference”, and what I would call an orientation to separation. And, on the other hand, there are those who orient to collective well-being, interdependence, and an underlying sense of oneness within our human family and with nature. I’m sure there are many people in the middle, but in our seats of power it seems that the polarization expresses itself in fairly distinct ways.
I’ve written before about a dynamic in Nature, emergence, that has given me hope over the years, even in times like these where our human family seems to orient to short-term goals and tribal kinds of interests. What emergence refers to is the tendency of Nature to generate unexpected and unanticipated solutions, creating new options to meet and shift existing conditions. The example I usually offer is how Nature somehow brought together molecules of air that, when combined, created liquid—when oxygen and hydrogen came together to create water. I don’t think anyone could have imagined that air could create liquid and yet our lives depend on this moment of emergence from so long ago.
I think of emergence, in a sense, as Nature’s creative intelligence grappling with and solving challenging problems and issues that arise in the course of life’s unfolding itself. When I look around the world at this time, I find myself thinking a lot about emergence and wondering how to “call on it” to help us resolve all the various ways in which our human family is harming ourselves and the planet.Read More “871st Week: Honoring and Invoking Emergence”
One of my daily practices is to post an inspirational quotation and nature photograph to the Facebook page of Devadana Sanctuary and to the Devadana Sanctuary website at www.portaltomdl.com each morning. A surprising gift that comes to me as part of this practice is to be able to look at our beautiful planet at the beginning of each day as I choose the photograph of the day. As I review the library of inspirational quotations that I collect along the way, each morning also offers an immersion in the wisdom of so many inspiring people.
As I prepared the posting for today, I came across a couple of quotations that stuck with me and I want to share them here. They touched me because they speak to the ways in which our moment-to-moment, day-to-day choices make a difference in how we move through our world and in what we contribute—or don’t—to our collective well-being. Here are the quotations that caught my attention: Read More “723rd Week: Making A Difference, Choice by Choice”
A while back, I listened to a book by Merlin Sheldrake, called “Entangled Life”. Sheldrake is a specialist in fungi and the book is an inspiring journey through all things fungal. He shares stories about how fungi participate in the “wood-wide web”, creating mycelial networks in collaboration with tree roots to support communication and access to nourishment under forest floors. He also describes the creative and truly inspiring research and development that are happening that use fungi to generate building materials and countless other products used by humans.
Listening to the book reminded me how important it is to find sources of inspiration that support an awareness that there is a much bigger picture unfolding than the one our daily lives encompasses. Given our current range of local and global crises, it can be challenging to access inspiration, possibility, and an awareness of potential creative solutions to so many problems we humans have generated and now must solve.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to take a bit of time each day to orient your awareness to something that moves, enlivens, inspires, or fills you up in a positive way that I don’t know how to put into words for you. It may be something as simple as looking out the window and seeing a bird on a tree branch, as I just did. I’m on vacation out of the city and it was inspiring to see this bird standing on a branch in a beam of sunlight. It may be that you are reading a book that touches your heart and that reading just a few lines is a way to begin a new day with a sense of possibility, or with the feeling of a deeper connection in a way that nourishes you.Read More “838th Week: Finding Inspiration in Troubling Times”
I’ve developed a practice when I walk across Central Park each morning of taking the time to thank all the various volunteers and employees I may pass along the way—people who give their time and energy to helping keep the park clean and well- tended. One recent morning, after a particularly heavy rain, Read More “Week 629: Expressing Gratitude”
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”
In times of personal and collective distress, it’s important to have ways to re-center ourselves as we move through daily life, as we hear news reports of terrible things happening to people and the planet, and as we face the ordinary challenges and stresses of everyday life. One of the things I do each morning is take time to settle myself, even if I don’t have time to meditate or do my regular attunement process. Each of us may have a different way to settle ourselves. The practice that follows organizes itself around what I think is the fundamental importance of not only having a reliable way to ground yourself but also to have a commitment to do so each day.
One of the reasons I feel it’s so important to re-center and settle ourselves each day is because of the powerful impact of collective consciousness on all of us. Read More “718th Week: Supporting Re-Centering”