As a child, my grandmother was my first spiritual teacher and many of the things she taught me have stayed in my awareness over all these many years. One of the things she taught me I’ve written about before—the raincloud of knowable things. What continues to touch me about this concept is how vividly it reminds me that I’m never alone, that I am always and inevitably part of something much bigger than myself. In this case, it reminds me that I’m part of a vast collective consciousness that contains the wisdom of all humans across all time and that I and everyone else contributes to and draws from this collective all the time. This is an idea that has supported my work as a trauma specialist in psychotherapy and it is an idea that has given me hope even when things may have looked profoundly bleak.
It also touches into an experience that gets stronger for me as I age—that I am in community with a reciprocal environment all the time. I saw an illustration of this the other day as I walked across Central Park. I noticed a gentleman, early in the morning, taking cans and bottles out of the trash bins scattered throughout the park. It was a Monday morning, so the bins had quite a few offerings and I began to think about how this man’s activities support recycling, and that he contributes something meaningful that I usually wouldn’t know anything about. That got me to thinking about all the activities going on in my world that I don’t see and yet add to the quality and support of my life. It reminded me of the fact that, even at subtle levels, we constantly contribute to and draw from our collective environment.Read More “769th Week: The Raincloud of Knowable Things”
As I write this practice, I—along with most other people in the U.S. and in many places around the world right now—am at home practicing “social distancing”. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic, I’m not having my daily experience of crossing Central Park, to and from my office. I have to say that I miss the powerful and inspiring emergence of Spring in the park as well as the quiet presence of so many trees.
A couple of weeks ago, before we were all asked to stay home, I was in daily amazement at the beautiful colors of this season in the Northern hemisphere, the emergence of abundant, colorful life after the quiet grays and dun colors of winter. As I write this, I’m sitting at a bench I often inhabit on weekend mornings. This is a cool morning and it will be raining soon, but I wanted this early-morning opportunity to touch into this favorite place where I feel deeply connected and attuned to the nature around me.
As I sit here, I find myself wondering, yet again, how did nature ever know to create the brilliant yellows, pinks, and whites of Spring? All around me, trees are in bloom and all over the park are daffodils and other bulbs showing their wonderfully enthusiastic yellows, blues, whites, and purples. These colorful displays speak to my bodymind in ways that bring me alive, that remind me that life seems to always be waiting to express in creative and energetic ways.Read More “781st Week: The Gift of Inspiration”
I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to go to Central Park on some days to get exercise and to plop myself down on a bench where I have spent so much time over the years in meditation and contemplation with my tree friends. One of the things that I’ve noticed each time I’m in the park these days is how many people are jogging and walking without wearing masks. This got me to thinking about our participation as members of a community and how we have an ongoing opportunity to take responsibility for our part in supporting everyone around us.
As I pondered the question of why people aren’t wearing masks as they exercise and walk around Central Park, I could only imagine that they haven’t quite registered that we are wearing masks to protect one another. They aren’t really to protect ourselves, since most of us don’t have the kind of mask that will filter out viruses. The reason we are wearing them is because we could unknowingly be carriers of the virus and we are protecting everyone around us.
For this week’s practice, I invite all of us to be aware of our place within our communities. Wherever we live, we are part of a collective and we are responsible for our contributions to our community, however that might be arranged and however small or large those contributions. What I’d like to ask all of us to consider is how are we caring for our community? What practices do we bring to help support and protect those around us? In the building where I live in New York City we have active cases of the Covid virus, so all of us are asked to be sure to wear masks and gloves when interacting with the doormen and concierges in the lobby of this very large building and in the laundry room as a way to protect the people who work here, as well as to protect each other.Read More “784th Week: Being Part of a Community”