I seem to be returning to a theme I’ve written about many times in recent weeks—the healing power of love and the benefits of living with an open heart. Those of us in the United States, as well as so many people all over the world, find ourselves living in a world of loss, suffering, and discord. I’ve spoken many times about my sense that our species is in a developmental crisis, where we have an opportunity to grow into a deepening sense of oneness and a recognition of our underlying interdependence. The question that is not yet answered is whether we will take this developmental step into recognizing that we are inherently responsible for one another, as well as having responsibility for how we treat all our other earth-kin, including the care and well-being of the earth itself.
Because I can’t begin to imagine what the answer is to resolving this developmental crisis, I have consistently turned to calling on universal love to enter the hearts of everyone and, there, to elicit whatever healing is possible. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I hold the intention that universal love will generate healing that serves the greatest good for the greatest number. I have some confidence in this particular intention because it draws on a wisdom well beyond my own that orients to serving the greater good, whatever that may be.Read More “819th Week: More About Focusing on Love”
Walking in Central Park this morning, I came across a Springer spaniel who was having the time of her life. I watched her run full tilt here and there, sometimes chasing a squirrel, sometimes a bird, but mostly just running full out. Every so often, she would orient to her human companions and then take off again. It was clear that she was experiencing complete delight and I noticed that my body resonated with her and also filled up with a sense of freedom and delight. I wish I had a video of her to share, as it was one of the most exuberant expressions of pure enjoyment I’ve seen in a long time.
Noticing how energized, enlivened, and filled up my body and psyche felt as I watched this sweet earth-kin enjoy herself, the experience got me to thinking about how important this kind of nourishment is for the well-being of our entire body-mind being. I often feel delight when watching the three felines who live with me, as they engage in their own forms of play and discovery. I also touch into this experience at times when watching animal videos on Facebook.Read More “914th Week: Discovering Moments of Delight”
One of my daily practices is to post an inspirational quotation and nature photograph to the Facebook page of Devadana Sanctuary and to the Devadana Sanctuary website at www.portaltomdl.com each morning. A surprising gift that comes to me as part of this practice is to be able to look at our beautiful planet at the beginning of each day as I choose the photograph of the day. As I review the library of inspirational quotations that I collect along the way, each morning also offers an immersion in the wisdom of so many inspiring people.
As I prepared the posting for today, I came across a couple of quotations that stuck with me and I want to share them here. They touched me because they speak to the ways in which our moment-to-moment, day-to-day choices make a difference in how we move through our world and in what we contribute—or don’t—to our collective well-being. Here are the quotations that caught my attention: Read More “723rd Week: Making A Difference, Choice by Choice”
878th Week: Appreciating the Life Around You
In a recent practice, we explored what it would be like to notice that everything we encounter is conscious in its own way and that we are in relationship with everything around us. I wanted to offer some examples of those relationships here, as well as another practice. This week’s practice adds another element.
One of the things that has added profound levels of richness to my life across my adulthood has been my sense that everything I encounter is a companion along the way. For some people, my way of living is too far out there and would land in a category of “fantasy”, I’m sure. I say this because I have relationships not only with the humans, felines, plants, and stone people who are part of my life, but I also have very active—and interactive—relationships with all my gadgets. My computers are always my friends and I bring a great deal of gratitude to them whenever we work together. My kitchen has a deep sense of how much I appreciate it and my vacuum cleaner has my constant appreciation and gratitude.
This may sound way out there or even silly, and I can understand that, but I can only say that to live in relationship with all that I encounter offers me a number of gifts. First, it invites me to stay conscious of how I’m interacting with my world and orients me to stay centered, grounded, and present even when doing mundane tasks. Because I feel I’m interacting with everything around me, I’m mindful of being attentive and present to what’s unfolding. Secondly, it keeps me oriented to a sense of gratitude, which is always a gift, as it is such a heart-opening state of awareness to be in. Thirdly, it nourishes a sense of relationship, which is also heart-opening and heart-nourishing as an internal state.Read More “”
As I sit to write this week’s practice, I find myself orienting to some recent research that was brought to my attention. At a time when we need increased empathy for all life forms, for all our kin and for the earth itself, it seems that there is a new trend. The report shows that people in the United States, where the research was conducted, have shifted in their relationship to empathy. Whereas people used to feel empathy in general, it now seems that it is becoming normalized not to care about what happens to people who are outside a person’s immediate sphere of relations. It seems that anyone outside the “tribe” doesn’t deserve empathy. Instead, people tend to blame the victim instead of opening their hearts to the suffering of people who are different—be they different because of ethnicity or different because of their beliefs or lifestyle.
We can see reflected in the state of our planet’s environmental destruction, with the extinction of species caused by human activity, and with the escalating levels of conflict between so many groups of people all around the planet that we need a collective awakening to the cost of being empathically disconnected from one another.
Because of this new trend toward less empathy, it feels more important than ever to engage practices that cultivate empathy and compassion not only for the people we know, but for all life—to make empathy a true practice of the heart.Read More “751st Week: Cultivating Empathy”
One of the themes I’ve explored and lived with over many years now is my experience of the importance of acknowledging and honoring all aspects of our wholeness. I’ve also been keenly aware of the fact that life on this planet thrives most efficiently within communities, ecologies of diversity. We know from science that natural environments thrive most dynamically when they contain a wide diversity of life forms, working together as a complex community. I think it’s the same with our own, individual selves. Our wholeness contains and expresses the unique diversity of characteristics, talents, challenges, qualities, expressions that each of us embodies. Through our unique wholeness, we contribute to the “ecology of life” within which we live.
Over the years, I have also found myself orienting to an experience of “being lived” by life. My sense has been, and continues to be, that each of us—whether human or some other-than-human, more-than-human earth-kin being—represents an opportunity for life to have a unique experience within and through each of us. Our unique wholeness offers life the opportunity for diverse experiences and expressions, honoring this planet’s seeming preference for diversity.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following guided meditation and see how it feels for you to imagine “being lived” by the life that expresses itself within and through everything on this planet, as well as acknowledging, honoring, and embracing the wholeness within you, leaving nothing out. It’s your wholeness that makes you unique in all the world and it’s your wholeness that allows you to contribute to the diversity that our human family offers to the planet’s ecology.Read More “904th Week: Self-Acceptance and Wholeness“