881st Week: Adapting with “Attitude Adjustments”
I just returned from a week away for vacation. I was at an all-inclusive spa-type location, surrounded by the beauty of nature. On the third evening there, a powerful thunderstorm came through, some said bringing it with it a “small tornado”. The storm brought down three transformers in the area, so all the power flicked out in a moment and didn’t return for a bit over 24 hours.
The loss of power ended every imaginable kind of activity and the employees at the resort were really quite creative and focused in coping with the loss of power, especially around how they managed a kitchen that needed to feed three meals a day to a lot of people.
An immediate effect of the power outage was the dwindling power in every kind of gadget. Because of this, many of us searched for the few outlets that were connected to the generators and this led to a group of five of us hanging out in a room that had four connections wired into the floor. Sitting together for several hours, we discovered new friendships we wouldn’t have had time to create had the power not gone out.
All this got me to thinking about the powerful impact of the choices we make when faced with challenging or disappointing circumstances—although, admittedly, this was a challenge of privilege and not a challenge of survival or even of need. I started thinking about the importance of being willing to have an “attitude adjustment” when faced with unexpected developments, and that awareness demonstrated how our attitudes generate the filter through which we experience and interpret our world and our experience.Read More “”
I recently read an article written by a brain scientist, explaining a dynamic that we all would do well to understand more deeply. It has to do with the ways in which our brain resonates with particular words and concepts, strengthening them even when they may be something with which we consciously disagree. Read More “Week 644: Feeding the Outcomes You Seek”
This month’s meditation on wholeness ends the year with touching into the fact that every living thing on the planet emits its own unique tone and quality of wholeness and that these individual contributions offer themselves to the brilliant light radiating from the wholeness of our precious earth.
If you’d like to see images with your meditation, the YouTube version is below the audio…
Recently, I read an article by a man named Michael Edwards, about the mysticism of living with “wide open eyes”. Edwards is a social activist, so the meat of the article focused on social transformation. The part of his writing that related to these experiments in conscious living had to do with what happens to the quality of life when we experience ourselves as part of a collective life filled with mystery and beauty.
Here are some of the quotations drawn from that article: Read More “673rd Week: Living with “Wide Open Eyes””
One of the things that comes to mind just about every day, as I listen to the news, is how powerfully fear motivates actions that cause suffering to so many. It might be fear of difference, fear of losing power, fear of the “other”. Whatever the focus of fear, it can become a motivator for lashing out, tearing down, striving to get rid of or destroy that which is feared.
One of the practices I’ve used over many years now is a derivation (my own “translation” of the process) of the Buddhist practice of Tonglen. As a trauma therapist, there have been many times where I’ve sat with someone working on an overwhelming trauma and what has offered me support in staying steady and present over all these years has been this practice of Tonglen. It allows me to keep my heart open in the presence of suffering and pain and has helped me not to be overwhelmed by what clients have shared over these years.
A number of years ago, I realized that Tonglen was a beautiful example of a subtle activism practice—of a practice I could use regularly to help metabolize collective fear and hatred. When I do this practice as subtle activism, I focus on fear because of my belief that this state of being is the source of hatred, violence, and so many other ways in which we harm one another.
And so, for this week’s practice, I invite you to explore the following guided process of using Tonglen (my derivation of it) to contribute to our collective healing. If you haven’t done this kind of practice before, let me say just a few things about it. Pema Chodron, the Buddhist teacher, has wonderful material on Tonglen. You can find her in her books and on YouTube. One of the things I heard her say early on in my explorations of Tonglen is that the light of the heart is fiery and is capable of neutralizing negative energy. She has also said that the more we do this kind of practice the brighter the fiery love in our heart becomes. I have found this to be true and, at this point in my life, I deeply trust the fire in my heart to be able to neutralize or transmute negative energy.Read More “902nd Week: A Practice for Healing Collective Fear“