One of the great gifts of vacation time is to have an opportunity to do some reading. One of the books I had an opportunity to read over this year’s recent vacation is Pierre Pradervand’s book, “The Gentle Art of Blessing.” In his book, Pradervand speaks of offering blessings as a powerful practice of presence. In part, this practice brings us back into presence because of the way it invites us to shift from reactions and judgments into offering blessings in a spontaneous, moment-to-moment way.
As I read his book, my feeling was that what he offers powerfully supports a shift from moving through the world from a mental perspective, drawing primarily on the brain in the head, to moving through the world from the perspective the heart. Read More “724thWeek: The Practice of Blessing”
One of the things the Internet has given us is more access to connecting and communicating with one another. This is all to the good when the communication promotes the well-being of everyone. It becomes a problem when it allows people to feed their fears. We see this phenomenon around the world in those groups that seek to oppress or eliminate other groups of people who may be different from them or in some way represent a threat.
As a trauma specialist, this got me to thinking about how important it is to be conscious of our fears and to cultivate ways to become even more conscious of, meet, and process this powerful emotion. So much of what creates division and conflict among human beings—be they in a one-on-one relationship, a family, a community, a country—is the presence of underlying, and often unrecognized or disowned, fear.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a practice that can be helpful in recognizing and dealing with the presence of fear. Fear isn’t an emotion we can eliminate because it’s an important survival response that we need throughout life. It’s essential that fear can motivate us to jump out of the way of a bus we hadn’t seen, or remind us not to walk down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night. The problem is that we are often afraid of things that aren’t threatening and, when we act on these kinds of fears, we often generate even more trauma in ourselves and others.Read More “747th Week: The Power of Fear”
Sitting in Central Park among my tree friends, I found myself asking the following question: How do I help people understand that the earth and everything on it isn’t inert, isn’t passive and lacking in consciousness? How to I offer a perspective that holds the awareness that everything is earth-kin and that everything is conscious, alive, and aware in its own ways? Many of us raised in the Western world were taught that our planet was filled with “resources”, available for our use, rather than the more indigenous-oriented position that everything on and of our earth is alive and is valued kin.
Here’s a quotation from an enchanting book, “Becoming Animal”, by David Abram that captures some of what we modern people have lost in our relationship to nature, our earth, and our earth-kin:
“Our chest, rising and falling, knows that the strange verb ‘to be’ means more simply ‘to breathe’; it knows that the maples and the birches are breathing, that the beaver pond inhales and exhales in its own way, as do the stones and the mountains and the pipes coursing water through the ground under the city. The lungs know this secret as well as any can know it: that the inward and the outward depths partake of the same mystery, that as the unseen wind swirls within us, so it also whirls all around us, bending the grasses and lofting the clouds even as it lights our own sensations. The vocal cords, stirred by that breath, vibrate like spiderwebs or telephone wires in the breeze, and the voice itself, laughing and murmuring, joins its song to the water gurgling under the grate.”Read More “805th Week: Everything is Alive, Everything is Earth-Kin”
In this time of so much polarization and conflict, it feels more important than ever to include heart perception and intelligence as part of moving through everyday life. I’ve written many times about how being mindful offers ongoing opportunities for choice and, these days, having access to being able to choose how we want to engage and move through conversations with people with whom we may disagree becomes a very important resource.
One of the other things I know I’ve mentioned a number of times is the powerful quality and orientation of the heart brain’s intelligence and perception. Most of us are quite familiar with our head brain’s ways of perceiving and of our cognitive styles of intelligence and understanding. The heart brain often perceives and understands things quite differently, which becomes immediately apparent when we take the time to tune into it.Read More “741st Week: Cultivating Heart Perception”