Sitting in Central Park on an absolutely beautiful morning, I find myself focusing on a daily practice I’ve taken up since the political situation in the United States became so contentious. I’d like to share it here, in case you, too, would like to engage a way to contribute each day to whatever healing may be possible for all of us.
Because of my history of growing up in a multidimensional reality, where my grandmother was a healer and collaborated actively with the “unseen world”, I have been deeply grateful to have been able to engage in what is called subtle activism. For some people, this means a practice of prayer and/or meditation. For others, it’s a practice of imagining positive energies and outcomes, offering healing energy to situations of trauma and distress, and more.
The practice I’ve taken on as a serious daily aspect of my spiritual life is to imagine the essence of universal love flowing onto the planet and into every living being, offering whatever healing and inspiration may be available. I also imagine this universal force as flowing into our human collective consciousness, touching our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with the healing essence of love. My underlying intention is to support “the greatest good for the greatest number”. This intention allows me to be fully engaged without having to figure out how we will get to an outcome that serves the greatest good for the greatest number.
What appeals to me about imagining universal love touching and filling everything and everyone is that this force doesn’t come with any belief system. Every spiritual approach I’ve encountered has identified love as the most healing force in the universe and it comes with an open neutrality, content-wise, that appeals to me. One doesn’t have to believe anything in particular to have the healing benefits of universal love. One doesn’t have to do anything at all in order to receive love—it holds no prejudice, it expresses absolutely no separateness or tribalism.Read More “817th Week: The Healing Power of Love”
I often write about the importance of kindness. An essential companion to that practice is cultivating empathy. A definition of empathy found on google says: “Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “ I would add to this definition, “…and the ability to imagine what any other living being might be thinking or feeling…”
Because I have focused on cultivating a deepened awareness of heart perception in recent years, on the quality of intelligence that naturally arises when orienting to the heart brain, I find that it hurts my heart when I notice the increasing lack of expressions of empathy in public and social spheres of my American culture. And, this lack of empathy is not only focused on a wide array of our human kin. It also applies to many, if not most, of our other earth-kin. What often saddens me is how a lack of empathy leads to a lack of kindness, as well.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay more attention to your relationship with empathy. One way to do this is to ask your heart brain, rather than your head brain, what someone else might be feeling or experiencing. I find that heart intelligence has a different take on, or brings different qualities to, most experiences. In this week’s practice, notice what happens if you take the time to ask your heart what it has to say about someone else’s experience.Read More “827th Week: Cultivating Empathy, Along with Kindness”
As I begin to put together the year-long offerings of audio meditations on my website, I’ve been thinking about the focus for the coming year. Lately, I’ve had a deepening awareness of the importance of experiencing all the other life on this beautiful planet as “earth-kin”. We are all related, all children of the same mother planet, and many of us humans have been taught that we are somehow superior or “more evolved” than our other earth-kin.
I recently read a book, “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?”, by Frans de Waal, that addresses this humancentric bias. De Waal offers many examples of how our research on other earth-kin has tended to orient to human assumptions and human ways of doing things. One of my favorite examples had to do with making a mark on an elephant’s face or head and then having this earth-kin look in a mirror to see if he or she recognized themselves. They didn’t and someone realized that the problem wasn’t that elephants can’t recognize themselves but rather that the mirrors weren’t elephant sized. Once large enough mirrors were provided, the elephants immediately recognized that something was on their face and responded appropriately.
Another example had to do with research on gibbons, where researchers decided that they weren’t as intelligent as other primates because they couldn’t do a particular task that required them to use their hands in a certain way. A young researcher noticed that the task was oriented to human hands and not to the way that gibbons use theirs. When the experiment was retooled to reflect gibbon digits and manipulation, not surprisingly they performed as well as any other primate.
It can be both surprising and startling to know that slime mold does very well solving the challenge of a maze, better and faster than some other kinds of earth-kin. It can also be surprising to know that some species chose to evolve toward more complexity while others chose to evolve into less complexity, each and all having their own style of measurable intelligence. Here’s a link to a quick video about slime mold moving through a maze and also creating a complex network of connections that match the design of the Tokyo rail system. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyzT5b0tNtkRead More “822nd Week: Honoring Our Earth-Kin”