If you’d like to experience this meditation with nature images, here’s a link to the youtube version:
During a recent attunement, I experienced myself orienting to my usual resource, steadiness, and I suddenly found myself “being a mountain.” My felt-sense experience was of the strength and steadiness of a large mountain and, what added to the experience, was the felt-sense of literally being part of the body of the earth. I could feel how I, as the mountain, had an unbroken connection with the entire mantle of the planet, that I arose from the depths of the earth, and that it was impossible to fall over or become disconnected from the stability of the earth itself.
As a regular practice, I invite myself and just about everyone with whom I connect professionally in the course of any given week to take a moment to feel into the steadiness that is an inherent part of their embodied, core presence. I remind people that the experience of our ever-present steadiness may fall into the background of our awareness and be momentarily unavailable, but it represents a part of us that cannot be disturbed. It’s an inescapable aspect of our wholeness and resides within our core presence.Read More “806th Week: Being a Mountain”
I’m writing this practice shortly after hearing that a pending strike by building workers in residential buildings in New York City has been resolved by an agreement with the union that, if ratified, will be in place until April 2026. For those of you who live in large buildings with a large staff as I do, you’ll understand the depth of relief those of us who no longer face the possibility of having to cope with what it means not to have the support of those who keep these buildings working. What moved me most about this experience is that these building employees are now recognized as essential workers, which they absolutely are.
This brought to mind the importance of acknowledging and expressing appreciation and gratitude for all the people whose efforts and time go into making life livable in both urban and non-urban settings. Each morning, as I give the cats fresh water in their bowls, I bless the Spirit of Water and also send acknowledgment and appreciation to all the people who make this water available to those of us living in this city. It’s an enormous undertaking and I am constantly grateful to have access to free-flowing and clean water. Then, there are the people who work to keep electricity running in the city and I acknowledge and appreciate them each day, as well. The list goes on and on and I’m sure there are many things I still take for granted and don’t actively recognize in this way.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to bring your awareness to all the essentials and conveniences you have in your life and take a moment to imagine the many people you will never know whose efforts have made possible what you have at your disposal. This kind of practice reminds us that we are inescapably interdependent—that our well-being is dependent on a multitude of people we will never know. What a powerful gift!Read More “870th Week: Service and Gratitude”
Brain research offers many new insights into the impact of our everyday attitudes and ways of being affect us as we move through our daily lives. Recently, I heard an interview on NPR where a neuroscientist talked about recent research in gratitude and its effects on neurotransmitters. The upshot of the interview was that focusing on gratitude automatically generates increased dopamine and serotonin. Both of these neurotransmitters are part of our “feel good” chemistry.
What was both intriguing and encouraging about the information offered in the interview was that it didn’t take an enormous amount of effort to elicit this neurochemical change in the brain. It got me to thinking about… Read More “674th Week: Cultivating Gratitude for Greater Well-Being”
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 “”