Sitting in Central Park on a Sunday morning, there is a loud and enthusiastic race going on nearby with lots of hoots and hollers as people run by. I’m here amongst my tree friends and what I’m aware of is the pervasive and steady quiet they radiate into my awareness. This moment has taken me back to my experience of the foreground/ background dynamic that is always present. By bringing my awareness to the background of pervasive quiet here amongst the trees, it shifts into the foreground of my awareness even as the enthusiastic shouting of the race slides into the background. I feel my body relax into the quiet, into the pervasive silence that the trees radiate.
This got me to thinking yet again about how important it can be to be able to choose what we bring into the foreground of awareness and what we allow to hover in the background. In my practice of attending to wholeness as much as possible, I do my best not to leave out an awareness of what’s happening around me, what’s happening in the world, and to acknowledge not only what brings me ease and happiness but also what touches into an awareness of suffering, outrage, and compassion. And so, shifting things from foreground to background and vice versa doesn’t mean to actively go into denial about what’s unfolding in my immediate environment or in the world. Rather, it offers a way to choose which awareness is most appropriate and most healthy in any given moment.Read More “764th Week: Choosing the Focus of Attention—Foreground/Background”
During a recent attunement, I experienced myself orienting to my usual resource, steadiness, and I suddenly found myself “being a mountain.” My felt-sense experience was of the strength and steadiness of a large mountain and, what added to the experience, was the felt-sense of literally being part of the body of the earth. I could feel how I, as the mountain, had an unbroken connection with the entire mantle of the planet, that I arose from the depths of the earth, and that it was impossible to fall over or become disconnected from the stability of the earth itself.
As a regular practice, I invite myself and just about everyone with whom I connect professionally in the course of any given week to take a moment to feel into the steadiness that is an inherent part of their embodied, core presence. I remind people that the experience of our ever-present steadiness may fall into the background of our awareness and be momentarily unavailable, but it represents a part of us that cannot be disturbed. It’s an inescapable aspect of our wholeness and resides within our core presence.Read More “806th Week: Being a Mountain”
For this week’s experiment in conscious living, I draw from my book, Sacred Practices for Conscious Living, 2nd Edition, from the chapter on “Compassion and Lovingkindness: Living with An Open Heart”. Here’s a quotation from that chapter:
“For many people, the process of awakening to a greater sense of compassion initially feels overwhelming. A question many ask is, “What can I, one person, do in the face of so much suffering?” The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, quite a lot… Read More “672nd Week: Nurturing Compassion”