This week’s practice invites you to consider something that may be second nature to you, or it may be a new idea that seems way out there. One of the ways I move through the world is with the assumption that everything I encounter is conscious—not in the way I am conscious as a human but in the way that is unique and appropriate for whatever it is that I encounter along the way. I guess that’s another way of saying I believe we live in a conscious universe and that it’s impossible for anything that exists to be outside that consciousness.
I also believe that I am in ongoing and inherent reciprocal relationship with all the life around me, and I wonder if you would be willing to bring that hypothesis into this as-if experiment, as well. My belief is that I affect everything I encounter and that everything I encounter affects me, that it’s impossible not to be in relationship with the consciousness of my world.
At the very least, at the most basic level of biology, everything I encounter is comprised of the same kinds of molecules as those that comprise my body. We share an ecology that arises from the same carbon-based life and, even in that most basic way, we are part of each other.
I am also a believer in collective consciousness so, for me, we share not only our common biology but also our consciousness. (You will know from this that I do not believe that the brain generates consciousness…)Read More “873rd Week: An “As-If” Experiment in Conscious Living: Living in A World of Reciprocal Relationships”
I’m sure I’ve written about this many times, but here I go again. Where we focus our attention, what we think about, how we engage our imagination has a powerful impact on the quality of our inner life and on how we behave and act in our world. What we attend to matters. What we imagine matters.
This week I want to share some thoughts about engaging what’s called the “imaginal realm”. When we enter the imaginal realm, we aren’t engaging something “imaginary”. Instead, we touch into a kind of language or communication that uses visual and other sensory impressions rather than strings of words. Our culture tends not to privilege awareness that operates in the imaginal realm and yet it’s one of the most powerful creative forces we have available to us.
For example, spend a moment right now bringing into awareness either an image of some beautiful place you’ve been—a place that touched you deeply, or recall a sound, fragrance, or sensation that moves you in a way that is meaningful to you. Since images are my main language in this realm, I often “see” trees that have touched me, such as the giant Sequoia I’m imagining right now. This image generates a powerful felt-sense of awe and heart-filling expansion, with my whole body-mind responding to the memory of the presence of this magnificent tree. Or, I might bring into awareness an image of one of the cats who live with me doing something amusing, something that fills me with delight and touches my heart, as well as generating a smile and a chuckle.
We know from science that our brains register imaginal experience in much the same way as actual lived experience, creating a full experience in the body (sensations) and psyche (emotional and mental states). The only difference is that these experiences and awareness arise and unfold in the imaginal realm.Read More “829th Week: The Imaginal Realm”
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”
For those of you who would like to see images with the meditation, here’s a link to the YouTube version:
Each time I teach a Somatic Experiencing® training, I am touched yet again by the impact of people’s experience when they discover the power of the body-mind connection and the importance of grounding ourselves. Having a “home base” to return to in the body is an invaluable resource for re-centering and stabilizing ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis. Read More “Week 624: Finding Home Base”