Gratitude practice has become a more common option for people who want to explore the impact of choosing a specific quality, essence, or energy as a focus of attention. Some gratitude practices Read More “Week 657: Choosing Frequencies”
Sitting in Central Park doing a meditative practice that has become very important to me, I find myself accessing ever deeper love for this beautiful planet. The practice is below but, first, I want to say a few things about strengthening our heart-based relationship with our amazing home, our planet and the Nature we are part of that manifests through a powerful and dynamic creativity and intelligence.
When I was in graduate school, many years ago, I wrote papers on what I called, at the time, “psychoecology” because I couldn’t think of any other term that would encompass our psychological experience of, relationship with, and responsibility toward our Earth mother. Way back then, which was in the early-to-mid ‘70’s (I didn’t go to graduate school until I was in my early 30’s), I was looking for a way to put into words, and then to develop practices around, our Western-oriented human family’s disconnect from our larger other-than-human earth family.
Recently, I read a book called “Towards an Ecopsychotherapy”, by Mary-Jayne Rust. It was published in 2020 and includes within its many offerings a focus on helping clients acknowledge and address their anxiety and grief around what’s happening on the planet. This includes climate change, mass extinctions, and the hazards we now face because of our lack of understanding of our place within Nature’s complex and dynamic eco-system.Read More “847th Week: Cultivating Love for the Earth”
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 would prefer to explore this meditation with images of nature, here’s our YouTube version:
Listening to an interview this morning with Krista Tippett and Trabion Shorters, the subject they explored resonated deeply with me. Shorters describes his approach as viewing people, institutions, and society within what he calls “asset framing” instead of the usual “deficit frame” we draw on to think about and perceive people who may be in need or are in a challenging situation. It reminds me of the solution-focused psychotherapy approach where we are encouraged to see what’s going right rather than focusing on what’s going wrong. It also reminds me of the way that our brain’s default mode network. It’s the part of the brain that—when nothing else is going on—drifts into daydreams, thoughts, or questions about ourselves and our world. If our fundamental beliefs are negative, this is where our default mode networks hangs out. If they are positive, that’s where our awareness will go. Fortunately, if we find ourselves mired in negative or deficit thinking, we can talk to our default mode network and create shifts toward the positive or asset frame.
Listening to the interview, I could sense how important it is to actively promote an “asset frame” as part of our fundamental assumptions about the world and about the people around us. Instead of thinking of people in terms of their poverty or lack of opportunity, we can begin with focusing on what’s going right in their lives, on what they have accomplished, what their dreams are. For me, this also touches on connecting more realistically with the fact that we all—regardless of our culture, race, socialization, gender identity, or any of the other aspects that support our diversity—want much the same things in terms of quality of life. It reminds me of the Buddhist Lovingkingness meditation where we ask that all beings be free from suffering and be happy.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to first listen to this interview if you haven’t already heard it. Here’s the link from Tippett’s On Being website: https://onbeing.org/programs/trabian-shorters-a-cognitive-skill-to-magnify-humanity/Read More “863nd Week: Exploring “Asset Framing””
This week, I have a request to make of those who read these practices and are willing to engage in a subtle activism activity on behalf of our collective human family. I’d like to ask everyone to take five minutes each day—it doesn’t matter when—to do the practice of Tonglen. The specific focus of the Tonglen practice in this subtle activism activity is on breathing in our collective fear and hatred and breathing out compassion, peace, love, ease, or whatever quality you would like to offer to our human family. If this practice resonates with you, I would ask you to consider making it a daily practice on a regular basis, not just for this week.
I’ve written about Tonglen many times and there are links to the practice on my website under Written Meditations – https://www.nancynapier.com/category/meditations/. For this week’s activity, I’d like to write a brief version of a Tonglen-like practice for this subtle activism activity. Because many people may not have done Tonglen before, and may not be thrilled with the idea of breathing fear and hatred into their heart, I’ve written up a “derivation” of Tonglen drawn from my early spiritual upbringing.Read More “756th Week: A Subtle Activism Request”
As I write this practice, current violent events that have caused immense distress and suffering continue to fill the news and Internet. Working through my own responses got me to thinking about what I might offer as this week’s practice that might be both supportive and useful.
Whenever I am in the presence of suffering and challenges that I can’t directly change, I inevitably turn to my heart space for support, comfort, and as a way to actively and mindfully process my sense of outrage, helplessness, or despair that may arise. And, inevitably and thankfully, my heart space is able to process and manage these difficult feelings in a way that always surprises and eases me. It may be because I feel like I’m doing something, or it may be—as the HeartMath Institute’s research has shown—that a coherent heart eases the amygdala and reduces activation.Read More “761st Week: Holding Space for Ourselves and All Our Kin (Which is Everyone)”