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 would never have thought of myself as someone who is easily distractible, or even has a tendency in that direction, but I have to admit that after a number of years of attending to social media, I have learned to be distracted, which is a great surprise to me. As a psychotherapist, being focused is part of what I do every day, just about all day, and yet I notice that in my personal life my tendency now is to jump around from focus to focus in ways that are entirely new to me.
This development has gotten me to thinking about not only the benefits of regular mediation, which I don’t do in as focused a way as I used to, but also the importance and gifts of silence. Thinking about distraction took me back to some notes I collected about silence a couple of years ago and I want to share them here. The benefits of silence are profound and cultivating practices that include it becomes increasingly important in these times where there are so many ways to be distracted.Read More “738th Week: The Gifts of Silence”
Walking through Central Park the other day, I had an encounter with synchronicity that has stayed with me because of the delight of the moment. Whenever I have an opportunity to do so, I go off the regular pathways in the park and find my way in amongst the trees. There’s a small footpath that I often take in the morning, lined by tall evergreens and old, stately deciduous trees. When I’m there, it feels as though I’m in the midst of towering spires of a cathedral and the quiet of this place always touches me.
On this particular morning as I walked along, a bright red cardinal landed on a tree just to the right of me and a bit ahead on the path… Read More “684th Week: Celebrating Synchronicity”
In this month’s meditation, we continue with the theme of wholeness–our own and that of all our other earth-kin, including the wholeness of the earth itself.
If you would prefer to listen with images from nature, here’s the YouTube version of the same meditation:
Walking across Central Park one morning, I watched a dog wiggle and waggle in anticipation of chasing a ball. His attention was absolutely fixed on the ball in his human companion’s hand. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else registered as the ball was finally in the air and he ran after it with great enthusiasm. This got me to thinking about how powerfully the focus of our attention affects what we perceive and how we engage the world. Read More “Week 628: Where Do You Place Your Attention?”
In a recent article entitled, “Your Brain Has a Delete Button—Here’s How to Use It”, the authors, Judah Pollack and Olivia Fox Cabane, talk about research that’s been done on the presence and function of the brain’s “microglial” cells that are the “gardeners of the brain”. These cells prune and remove synapses while we sleep. Most importantly, they remove those synapses we don’t use very much. In fact, the brain marks the unused synapses with a protein that signals the microglial cells to go ahead and prune them.
Because all self-talk is self-hypnosis, and because where we focus our thinking activates the synapses related to these thoughts, it behooves us to be mindful about where we’re spending our internal self-talk time. One example in the article is this:
“If you’re in a fight with someone at work and devote your time to thinking about how to get even with them, and not about that big project, you’re going to wind up a synaptic superstar at revenge plots but a poor innovator.”
They go on to say:
“To take advantage of your brain’s natural gardening system, simply think about the things that are important to you. Your gardeners will strengthen those connections and prune the ones that you care about less. It’s how you help the garden of your brain flower.”Read More “768th Week: More Reasons Why Tracking Your Self-Talk is So Important”