Here’s our December 2020 audio meditation on mp3…
For those of you who prefer to have images with your meditation, here’s our YouTube version of the same meditation…
For mental health practitioners and others in the healing arts, it’s helpful to have a way to sit with people’s suffering and distress without getting caught up in it ourselves. In reality, for everyone, regardless of the focus of your work, it’s helpful to have a way to cope with the suffering and distress in the world so that you don’t become swept away by it.
For me, doing therapy with an open heart is essential and yet having my heart open means that I can’t ignore, deny, or distance myself from the suffering of others. Instead, I use the Buddhist practice of Tonglen to metabolize and manage the emotional experiences—my own and those of others—that touch my heart or threaten to overwhelm it. What I want to share is my version of this practice. In Sanskrit, Tonglen means taking and sending, and it’s a breathing practice that focuses on neutralizing activating emotions in oneself and in others in the world who feel the same way.Read More “754th Week: Psychological Support in Troubled Times”
With the impact of the Delta variant of the Covid 19 pandemic, with suffering from effects of climate change all around the globe, and the intensity of the political polarization that affects much of our global population, it seems more important than ever to have available a practice that allows us to return to the steadiness that is always present in the core of our being, in our internal home base. Many times a day, I bring myself back to this awareness, when I find myself drifting into lines of thinking that either fuel activation or intensify feelings of helplessness in the face of all that is happening.
We know from work with trauma that cultivating the “noticing brain”—which is our present-day observer awareness—calms activation and helps the body and psyche to settle. “Noticing” is a lot different from “thinking”. It represents simply becoming aware of what is happening—what’s arising in this moment in our physical experience, our emotions, and our thoughts. Once we are aware, we have more choice. We can consciously choose to seek out sensations of settling, of steadiness—of whatever the qualities are that help us to center and ground ourselves.
For this week’s practice, I offer a brief approach that supports a return to steadiness and ease when you feel overwhelmed or captured by what’s going on in the world around you. As with all practices, play with this one so that it suits your sensibilities and style of settling. What follows are suggestions for how the process might unfold for you. You can do this standing, sitting, or lying down.Read More “843rd Week: Returning to Home Base, Cultivating ”Noticing””
Listening to an episode of On Being on NPR, Krista Tippett interviewed a journalist on the subject of how corporations and people who do good work for the world need to ask not only, what can I give, but also, how can I stop taking so much? He mentioned that, as individuals, we need not only to want the best for our own children but also for everyone else’s children. He went on to say that this doesn’t seem to be the value system he sees in the United States at this time and his comments got me to thinking about recent studies around empathy. These studies have revealed that there appears to be a correlation between increasing wealth and lessening empathy. When I listen to the news and look at the world around me, I see rather stark expressions of this correlation. That doesn’t mean there aren’t well-off people who express empathy in powerful, positive, and important ways. Instead, it points to an invitation to all of us who live in a materially privileged society such as the U.S. to pay attention to the world around us and to find ways to support and increase our empathic awareness and choices. Read More “733rd Week: Supporting Empathy”
Here’s the 2022 January Audio Meditation. This year, we’ll focus on frequencies, the energy qualities that we embody and express in every moment. Each month, we’ll draw on a different frequency, exploring identifying, accessing, embodying, and deepening awareness of various frequencies.
If you like to listen to the meditation along with images of our beautiful planet, here’s the YouTube version…