This guided meditation invites you to settle into the core steadiness that is always present, that is never disturbed, and that is a resource you can lean into during challenging times. Using the metaphor of “becoming a mountain”, you have an opportunity to directly experience the qualities of steadiness that can be found in a mountain, experiencing yourself as a mountain. Here’s the YouTube version…
As I write this week’s practice, we’re about a month into “sheltering in place” here in New York City. For all of us, the whole world of human beings, this is a time of challenge beyond what many of us would have imagined possible. The fact that we are able to be connected around the globe is a previously unimagined gift of being able to move through this experience as a connected human family.
I had an experience this week that touched me deeply and I want to share it as the theme of this week’s practice that I’d like to invite you to explore. I got an email through my website and it was from someone who had noticed that I hadn’t posted a practice last week. She hoped that I was okay and wanted to make contact to be sure everything was all right with me.
As I read this unexpected email, my heart filled with gratitude and warmth that this person cared enough to be in touch and to check in with me. It got me to thinking about how powerful it is when we care about and for one another, what a balm it is to the heart, and how such an act can fill someone with a sense of connection, warmth, and gratitude.Read More “783rd Week: The Gift of Caring”
During this political season, there are constant and vivid examples of how we humans have a tendency to create categories of “us” and “them”. It seems to be a natural response to difference of just about any kind and often emerges from an underlying fear or discomfort in the presence of people, ideas, behaviors, and species who are different from how we know ourselves and our world to be. Read More “Week 634: Moving Beyond “Us and Them””
I’m in the process of putting together my next webinar for professionals and I find myself orienting to the subject of belonging, to the importance of feeling that we belong to something more than our individual selves. One of the practices I’ve followed for a while now is an adaptation of one that comes from David Spangler, the founder of Incarnational Spirituality and Lorian.org. The practice is called “heightening” and it focuses on offering acknowledgment and appreciation to the world around us.
Above and beyond being a practice derived from a spiritual approach, there is something deeply practical about actively acknowledging and appreciating ourselves and all that we encounter in the environment around us. From a psychological perspective, it is deeply important that we feel ourselves to be part of something bigger than our individual selves and that we find our connection to that “something more” that adds meaning to our lives.
Imagine a time when someone looked at you with delight in their eyes, a smile on their face, and expressed their pleasure in seeing you. You may have noticed that you suddenly felt more alive, more energized, as though all the lights inside you suddenly lit up. What if you noticed that the lifeforms and objects around you are made of the same “stuff” as you and are all alive in their own particular ways? If that’s an idea that’s too far out for your taste, then stick with what you consider to be living beings—plants, animals, insects, all the lifeforms in nature. For me, I consider everything alive in a certain way because all of us on this planet are made up of the same kinds of particles that we think of as comprising life as we know it. And, in my world view, everything is conscious and aware, although in a wide variety of ways.Read More “837th Week: A Practice of Acknowledgement and Appreciation”
As I write this, I’m sitting in the Admiral’s Club of American Airlines, waiting for a flight to California. I’m flying business class today, on miles, and I’m struck by the difference between the experience I’m having right now—complimentary coffee and food and a comfortable place to sit—compared to what it’s like when I fly economy. What this brings into my awareness is how easy it could be to overlook the quality of life being lived by people who don’t have the economic privilege I do. I find myself wondering how I would cultivate a deepened empathic awareness of people in need if my everyday life were regularly as generous and comfortable as the situation I’m in at the moment.
I remember reading some recent research that suggested that the more money people have the lower their scores on tests of empathy. Sitting here this morning, I can understand how that could happen. So, the question I have deals with any and all areas of privilege, be that economic privilege, racial privilege, gender privilege, ethnic privilege, religious privilege, or any other kind of privilege that comes automatically to certain classes of people. How do we expand our awareness to include those who don’t have access to whatever kinds of privilege we may take for granted and not even recognize as privilege? Read More “713th Week: Cultivating Empathy”