Sitting in Central Park the other day—one of my first leisurely days in the park during this new season of lush green—I found myself doing a lot of smiling. Often, I sit on a bench under a large tree near a walkway that a number of people use, even early in the morning. On this particular day, Read More “Week 635: Sharing Smiles”
Each morning, I post a daily inspirational quotation and nature photograph on the Devadana Sanctuary Facebook page and the one I put up recently has stayed on my mind. I thought I’d share it as this week’s practice, given the amount of contention and negative feelings and events happening in so many of our human communities around the world.
The quotation is from the work of Pierre Predervand, who writes about the powerful practice of offering blessings as an aspect of, and activity in, daily living. I include gratitude in this practice because, for me, both offering blessings and expressions of gratitude are powerfully related. Here’s the quotation from Pierre Predervand (from his book, The Gentle Art of Blessing) that I posted the other day:Read More “749th Week: Offering Blessings and Gratitude”
Several times in the last week, I’ve run across postings in classes I’m taking, as well as postings on Facebook, that speak to something that offers what, for me, is a source of support during these challenging and distressing times. Unfortunately, at the moment, my brain won’t give me the names of the people or places where I’ve run across these postings, so I’ll share some general ideas about what has touched me along the way.
I’ve written before about the importance of not going into collapse in the presence of what seem to be overwhelming circumstances. One of the ways to avoid collapse is to feel able to act in ways that meet, ameliorate, or change what causes suffering to our brothers and sisters of every species all around the planet, and to the planet itself. Read More “720th Week: Small Acts Matter”
As I begin this week’s practice, I’m watching a video of yesterday’s memorial celebration for the beloved Vietnamese teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, in Plum Village, France. For those of you who may not have encountered Thay or his teachings, he was a Buddhist monk who brought important and accessible mindfulness teachings to the West, was also advocate for peace and a supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr., who nominated Thay for a Nobel Peace Prize.
As I listen to the chanting of the people of Plum Village, I am reminded of the importance of accessing practices that allow us to access states of being that touch not only into the presence of the Sacred all around us, but also into those internal states that bring us into a deep inner quiet and settled ease. What I’d like to offer for this week’s practice is an adapted version of a very simple and direct meditation that Thay offered to us early in his teachings. It has stayed with me over the years as one of the most direct and effective ways to settle and find a sense of inner presence. As I weave his teaching into the following practice, I apologize for whatever changes I’ve made in this practice that may inadvertently not accurately reflect Thay’s intention, words or teaching.Read More “861st Week: Honoring Thich Nhat Hanh and the Practices He Taught”
Walking across Central Park on the morning I go to my office to water plants and pick up mail, I was struck—as I always am—by the return of the green. All over the park, many trees are putting out leaves, others are laden with beautiful flowers, bushes are filling out with their green garb. The main feeling of it all is an expression of the abundant presence of life, of the intelligence and vibrant expression of Nature’s intelligence and creativity.
As I took in the beauty all around me, I was reminded, powerfully, that this beautiful planet doesn’t need us, but we cannot survive without its gifts. We and all our earth kin are part of a complex ecology that many of us have studied for years and yet, collectively, many of our human kin somehow haven’t taken in or taken seriously this fact of our planetary life. With Covid-19 now a painful and challenging reality, and with the worldwide halt in our usual activities, we vividly see the impact we have had on our environment. Skies have cleared. Mountains hidden from view for decades now stand out clearly in the landscape. Waterways are clearing and wildlife is returning to areas previously avoided because of human activity. Even as we see how resilient and stunningly responsive the planet is when we stop polluting as we have been doing for so long now, I find myself wondering how many of us will remember this and commit to finding new ways to go forward.Read More “785th Week: Cultivating A Sense of “Earth Kin””