I seem to be returning to a theme I’ve written about many times in recent weeks—the healing power of love and the benefits of living with an open heart. Those of us in the United States, as well as so many people all over the world, find ourselves living in a world of loss, suffering, and discord. I’ve spoken many times about my sense that our species is in a developmental crisis, where we have an opportunity to grow into a deepening sense of oneness and a recognition of our underlying interdependence. The question that is not yet answered is whether we will take this developmental step into recognizing that we are inherently responsible for one another, as well as having responsibility for how we treat all our other earth-kin, including the care and well-being of the earth itself.
Because I can’t begin to imagine what the answer is to resolving this developmental crisis, I have consistently turned to calling on universal love to enter the hearts of everyone and, there, to elicit whatever healing is possible. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I hold the intention that universal love will generate healing that serves the greatest good for the greatest number. I have some confidence in this particular intention because it draws on a wisdom well beyond my own that orients to serving the greater good, whatever that may be.Read More “819th Week: More About Focusing on Love”
This year, we focus on the theme of frequencies, of the qualities of energy with which we resonate, what we express, and how we perceive and interact with ourselves and our environment. The theme for May is the frequency of Love, one of the most powerful energies we can access, experience, and express.
If you’d rather experience this meditation with images of nature, here’s the YouTube version…
There is no question that we live in a time of intense crisis and disruption. I think of the indigenous prophecies I have heard about this time and the one that constantly comes to mind is about how we are in the darkest time of a “dark age”. I don’t remember where I heard it, but it may be a Hopi prophecy or from some other indigenous nation and, when I heard it, it struck me that being at the apex of a “dark age” implies that there will eventually be a swing into a new cycle.
At this moment in time, and this possibly feels more extreme because we are globally connected via the Internet and are much more aware of what’s happening in other places on our planet, it seems that fear has become an even stronger driving force behind much human interaction and activity. It’s not the whole picture by any means, but it seems to be what is in the foreground of awareness much of the time. Read More “712th Week: Meeting Fear with Your Heart”
Listening to a recent conversation on Buddha at the Gas Pump (www.batgap.com), the host, Rick Archer, and guest, Roger Walsh, talked about the ethics that relate to spiritual practice. This got me to thinking about the ethics of many kinds of practice, among them kindness, gratitude, generosity. As I listened to the interview, it seemed to me that an active expression of ethics is inevitably found in the ways we live, how we move through the world, the values we embrace and embody, what we do that relates to what we believe.
As this week’s practice, I invite you to focus on whatever quality speaks to you most powerfully and then explore what values, ethics, and behaviors arise from that quality. For example, if you choose kindness as your focus of the week’s practice, ask yourself what broader values encompass a life expressed with or through kindness. What beliefs and attitudes emerge naturally from expressions of kindness? What everyday behaviors arise within a context of actively expressing kindness. When you bring this exploration into the foreground of your awareness, what’s different in your interactions with others and in the quality of your thoughts about them and yourself? Keep in mind that your relationship to kindness, your ethics and values around this theme, are in addition to acts of kindness. Here, you are exploring how kindness lives in you, how it affects not only your actions but also your thoughts, attitudes, and values.Read More “779th Week: Embodying the Ethics of Practices We Engage”
Sitting in my living room on a Sunday morning, I’m filled with the gift of silence. No city noises disturb the quiet this morning and that is a great gift. It has gotten me to thinking about the brain research I’ve mentioned before that reflects the benefits of silence in fundamental and literal ways.
One of the benefits of having quiet time, time spent in silence, is that we gain access to our default mode network. This is the aspect of brain activity where we allow our minds to wander, to think deeply, to listen to our internal experience. All it requires is for us to move away from distractions and give ourselves quiet time to simply be present to our awareness.
Another reason to seek out times of silence is that research has shown that two hours of silence daily can lead “…to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, a key brain region associated with learning, memory and emotion.” In addition to this, we know that noise pollution raises blood pressure and creates stress for both body and mind. According to researchers, “Just as too much noise can cause stress and tension, research has found that silence has the opposite effect, releasing tension in the brain and body.” These findings were reported in the Huffington Post by Carolyn Gregoire and shared by Daily Good a while back.Read More “816th Week: Return to Silence”
Listening to the news these days can be a challenge with all the reports of rabid polarization, anger, and fear. This got me to thinking yet again about processes of subtle activism—things we can do within our own body-mind being that might add something positive and, at the very least, not add to the distress going on all around us.
This morning, as I sit in Central Park taking in the green of trees and abundant birdsong, I remember that we all “interare”. The word “interbeing” was created by Thich Nhat Hahn, the Buddhist monk and teacher, and he offered it as a way of reminding us that we are not only dependent on each other and on every other life form that is part of our ecological niche, but we are also related to everyone and everything on the planet. Even when we violently disagree with one another, we are related, part of an earth community of interbeing.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to spend some time living with this idea. If it’s already natural to you, then take it a step deeper and find even more earth relations you may have left out of your experience of connection. In a world of interbeing and interdependence, no one and nothing can be omitted. We are part of one global ecosystem and we deeply depend on this earth family with which we are connected.Read More “842nd Week: Interbeing: Connection, and Interdependence”