Sitting in my living room on a Sunday morning, I’m filled with the gift of silence. No city noises disturb the quiet this morning and that is a great gift. It has gotten me to thinking about the brain research I’ve mentioned before that reflects the benefits of silence in fundamental and literal ways.
One of the benefits of having quiet time, time spent in silence, is that we gain access to our default mode network. This is the aspect of brain activity where we allow our minds to wander, to think deeply, to listen to our internal experience. All it requires is for us to move away from distractions and give ourselves quiet time to simply be present to our awareness.
Another reason to seek out times of silence is that research has shown that two hours of silence daily can lead “…to the development of new cells in the hippocampus, a key brain region associated with learning, memory and emotion.” In addition to this, we know that noise pollution raises blood pressure and creates stress for both body and mind. According to researchers, “Just as too much noise can cause stress and tension, research has found that silence has the opposite effect, releasing tension in the brain and body.” These findings were reported in the Huffington Post by Carolyn Gregoire and shared by Daily Good a while back.Read More “816th Week: Return to Silence”
I just spent a week teaching at the Cape Cod Institute in Massachusetts and find myself filled with a celebration of green trees and fresh, cool air. As I contemplate returning to New York City on what will be a hot summer’s day in the city, I find myself deeply grateful for the ability we have to carry images and impressions with us wherever we go. I can take the green along with me, and the generous remembered presence of birds, and, at times, deep quiet.
This all gets me to thinking yet again about the importance of where we place our awareness, and with what kinds of memories and impressions we nourish ourselves. Where we focus our awareness matters, and has a direct and noticeable impact on the resilience and health of our body-mind being. Read More “719th Week: Taking Time to Renew Yourself”
Sitting in Central Park on a Saturday morning, a couple walked by with two adorable small dogs. One was on a leash and the other ran free. One member of the couple needed to walk back to see if she had dropped something and, as she returned, the dog on the leash saw her and began to excitedly wiggle and run toward her. What I noticed were her smile and delight in greeting the dog and it reminded me of the power of appreciation shared with a smile.
There’s a concept called “heightening”, offered by David Spangler, a spiritual teacher and guide. What the word addresses is the natural response of “coming to life” and becoming more energized when we feel seen, acknowledged, appreciated, and celebrated. Watching the dog brought to mind the inflow of life energy that is naturally experienced when we offer and are offered delight in someone or something else.
This brings to mind a practice I’d like to invite you to play with this week. As you move through your regular daily routines, take a moment when appropriate to offer appreciation and a smile to the people you encounter, as well as to the other-than-human lifeforms you engage along the way. Remember to include as much of the world around you as you can and then notice the quality and tone of your inner experience as you do. Not only will you be “heightening” the enlivened experience of everything around you, but expressing appreciation will tend to heighten the enlivened experience within you, as well.Read More “851st Week: Sharing Smiles, Offering Appreciation”
If you’d like to experience this meditation with nature images, here’s a link to the youtube version:
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…