Early this morning, before the world was really up and going, I awakened to hear fire engine sirens going down Second Avenue here in New York City. As I listened, I found myself filled with gratitude for all the people who have worked to take care of the rest of us during this time of the pandemic. I thought about the firefighters on the trucks I heard outside my window. I thought of the people who collect garbage, all the workers in my apartment building who have traveled back and forth from home to work throughout the pandemic. I thought of police officers (those who serve with care), grocery workers, street cleaners, the amazing health-care workers who have given their all during this time, those people working to offer vaccines to the rest of us—the list goes on and on and on.
Without all these people, life in the city—pretty much life anywhere—would not be possible and I am filled with gratitude overflowing for their service to the rest of us. I have been safe in my apartment, working on zoom throughout the past year, and because of countless people, most of whom I will never meet, I’ve been able to have food, electricity, water, medical care if needed.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay even more attention to expressions of gratitude than you may already be doing. These expressions needn’t be out loud. The important thing is that the contributions of so many people can live in your heart and generate the internal experience of gratitude. That said, I have a tendency to thank people as I see them, which includes those I mentioned above, as well as the people who take care of Central Park so the rest of us can enjoy some time there.Read More “828th Week: Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude”
I post a daily inspirational quotation and nature photo each morning on Facebook and on the Devadana Sanctuary side of my Portal to Multidimensional Living that keeps coming back to me this morning, so I’d like to share it here, along with some resources that have inspired me recently. Here’s that quotation. It’s a long one, but it has two elements in it that will be the basis of this week’s practice:
“So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassionand insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhala warriors must have compassionbecause it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.
But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other you need insightinto the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart.
With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion. Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world.” ~ Joanna Macy Read More “737th Week: Embracing Compassion and Insight”
Here’s our November meditation. If you’d rather do this meditation with images, we’ve also included our YouTube version…
Here’s the YouTube version:
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”