For those who would like to have images with your meditation, here’s our link to YouTube for an audio meditation with images…
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”
One of the great gifts of my life is my relationship with gratitude. As I move through New York City, and most especially in Central Park each morning, I find myself full of gratitude much of the time. Each morning, I fill up with it as I encounter the beautiful trees, birds, and other animals, rock outcroppings, and plants I pass by on the way to my office. Also, when I’m out and about on the busy streets of New York, I find myself feeling gratitude for the fact that such a diverse array of people manages to move through this city with relative grace and I’m always moved to hear so many languages spoken as I walk from here to there.
One of the companions of gratitude has become, for me, another of the great gifts to my life—the ability to offer blessings as I move through the world… Read More “688th Week: The Dynamic Impact of Blessing”
Walking in Central Park a few days ago, I found myself deeply nourished and uplifted by the return of the green and by the powerful wind that accompanied my walk and workout. Again and again, my eyes were drawn to the green, to the beauty of the trees again filling out their leaves, creating patterns of light and shadow that have been missing over the winter season. And, the wind brought with it a sense of invigoration that was, in its own way, quite delicious.
At some point along the way, I also noticed a trumpet player who competed with a singer who has a weekly gathering of children on Saturday mornings. Fortunately, the sound of the trumpet didn’t overpower the singing and guitar playing of the entertainer and his class of young ones. Then, I also noticed the ever-present helicopters that hover over the park these days as a tourist activity, usually beginning sometime around 9am, taking away the silence that is so precious here in the city.
What struck me most is that these sounds didn’t seem to take away from my deep enjoyment of the return of green and the beauty of the tall trees all around me. This got me to thinking about how important it is to notice where our attention is absorbed, where we focus and what we notice. Even though the sounds were obvious, they weren’t in the foreground of my awareness and I also noticed how my lack of irritation allowed both the trumpet and the helicopters to slip into the background. There have been mornings where these kinds of sounds seem to pierce through my wish to drop into silence or into awareness of the beauty around me and irritation takes the place of pleasure. Today, for whatever reason, it was powerfully clear to me that my focus of attention allowed for the pleasure with no hint of irritation.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even closer attention to what you focus on, where you place your awareness, and what you choose to notice. I could have shifted into dwelling on the helicopters or the trumpet and that would have created a whole different quality of experience. Just as I couldn’t make those situations go away, notice how it is when you are faced with something you can’t change but where you can shift your focus of attention to something else. It might be noise, a smell you don’t like, disruption of some kind—anything that might normally create irritation or some other reaction in you. Then, notice what happens if you shift your awareness to something that inspires, nourishes, or pleases you in some way.Read More “833rd Week: Where We Place Our Attention”