I often write about the importance of kindness. An essential companion to that practice is cultivating empathy. A definition of empathy found on google says: “Emotion researchers generally define empathy as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling. … “ I would add to this definition, “…and the ability to imagine what any other living being might be thinking or feeling…”
Because I have focused on cultivating a deepened awareness of heart perception in recent years, on the quality of intelligence that naturally arises when orienting to the heart brain, I find that it hurts my heart when I notice the increasing lack of expressions of empathy in public and social spheres of my American culture. And, this lack of empathy is not only focused on a wide array of our human kin. It also applies to many, if not most, of our other earth-kin. What often saddens me is how a lack of empathy leads to a lack of kindness, as well.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to pay more attention to your relationship with empathy. One way to do this is to ask your heart brain, rather than your head brain, what someone else might be feeling or experiencing. I find that heart intelligence has a different take on, or brings different qualities to, most experiences. In this week’s practice, notice what happens if you take the time to ask your heart what it has to say about someone else’s experience.Read More “827th Week: Cultivating Empathy, Along with Kindness”
884th Week : Orienting to Frequencies
I’ve talked recently about the importance of noticing the quality of energy with which we resonate, the frequencies we bring into our lives and experiences. This year’s monthly audio meditations on my website focus on frequencies and the subject of the quality and tone of energy comes up often in my work with the people who come my way.
Not only do I think that it is vitally important to track which frequencies we bring into the foreground of our awareness, but I also invite people to notice the tone and quality of the unique energy signature that emanates from their core presence, from that place inside each of us that is our internal home base.
I woke up one morning saying the following to myself: “I am a living expression of radiant health.” What struck me as I heard myself saying this in my mind was the quality of energy inherent in the words, radiant health. Since that morning, I’ve been saying this to myself every day, with an occasional alternate version that goes something like, “I am the living essence of radiant health.” Whichever way I say it, the key is the frequency, the quality of the words, radiant health.
Also, when I say radiant health, I’m not just focused on my physical being. I can sense into radiant psychological health, or radiant creativity, or radiant emotional resilience. For this practice, I recommend using the general statement of being a living expression of radiant health, but be sure to adapt this practice to what works best for you.
My sense is that frequencies, that all frequencies/energies/qualities of being, have a direct impact not only on our state of mind but also on the state of our physical being. Because of this, one of the ways I engage my explorations of frequencies is to call on certain qualities to accompany me throughout the day. An example that I may have shared before was very powerful for me when my mother was alive and needing a lot of support. On days when I would be with her, I would call on the frequency of kindness, what I think of as the Spirit or Archetype of Kindness, asking this quality to fill me throughout the day. What I discovered was, when I remembered to do this, the day would unfold with an experience of patience and kindness in me that were more accessible and easier to express than what was usual for me.Read More “”
One of the things the Internet has given us is more access to connecting and communicating with one another. This is all to the good when the communication promotes the well-being of everyone. It becomes a problem when it allows people to feed their fears. We see this phenomenon around the world in those groups that seek to oppress or eliminate other groups of people who may be different from them or in some way represent a threat.
As a trauma specialist, this got me to thinking about how important it is to be conscious of our fears and to cultivate ways to become even more conscious of, meet, and process this powerful emotion. So much of what creates division and conflict among human beings—be they in a one-on-one relationship, a family, a community, a country—is the presence of underlying, and often unrecognized or disowned, fear.
For this week’s practice, I’d like to offer a practice that can be helpful in recognizing and dealing with the presence of fear. Fear isn’t an emotion we can eliminate because it’s an important survival response that we need throughout life. It’s essential that fear can motivate us to jump out of the way of a bus we hadn’t seen, or remind us not to walk down a dark alley alone in the middle of the night. The problem is that we are often afraid of things that aren’t threatening and, when we act on these kinds of fears, we often generate even more trauma in ourselves and others.Read More “747th Week: The Power of Fear”
I’m sure I’ve written about this many times, but here I go again. Where we focus our attention, what we think about, how we engage our imagination has a powerful impact on the quality of our inner life and on how we behave and act in our world. What we attend to matters. What we imagine matters.
This week I want to share some thoughts about engaging what’s called the “imaginal realm”. When we enter the imaginal realm, we aren’t engaging something “imaginary”. Instead, we touch into a kind of language or communication that uses visual and other sensory impressions rather than strings of words. Our culture tends not to privilege awareness that operates in the imaginal realm and yet it’s one of the most powerful creative forces we have available to us.
For example, spend a moment right now bringing into awareness either an image of some beautiful place you’ve been—a place that touched you deeply, or recall a sound, fragrance, or sensation that moves you in a way that is meaningful to you. Since images are my main language in this realm, I often “see” trees that have touched me, such as the giant Sequoia I’m imagining right now. This image generates a powerful felt-sense of awe and heart-filling expansion, with my whole body-mind responding to the memory of the presence of this magnificent tree. Or, I might bring into awareness an image of one of the cats who live with me doing something amusing, something that fills me with delight and touches my heart, as well as generating a smile and a chuckle.
We know from science that our brains register imaginal experience in much the same way as actual lived experience, creating a full experience in the body (sensations) and psyche (emotional and mental states). The only difference is that these experiences and awareness arise and unfold in the imaginal realm.Read More “829th Week: The Imaginal Realm”
I’ve written quite a bit lately about frequencies and the foreground/background dynamics of our underlying wholeness. One of the practices that, for me, is an effective and useful tool in affecting the quality of both my inner and outer life experience is taking time to choose the frequencies with which I want to resonate.
As I’ve described a number of times, what I mean by “frequency” is the tone and quality of what we experience and embody, and what we radiate into the world around us in every moment. For example, think of people you meet who seem to exude a sense of curiosity, delight, kindness, friendliness, etc. And, also, think of people you meet who seem to exude a quality of anger, fear, harshness, etc. These are all frequencies, and they are the tangible expressions of the qualities with which we resonate and which we radiate into our environment—both consciously and unconsciously. Most of the time, many of us—if not most—are unconscious of the these qualities, and we aren’t taught about how they tangibly affect our internal and external experiences.
Another aspect of our relationship to frequencies is the fact of our wholeness. Everything we have experienced and are is ever-present as part of our underlying and inescapable wholeness. When I teach about wholeness, I emphasize the fact that there’s nothing about us we can “get rid of” or “erase”. Instead, our wholeness is always with us, with some aspects of self expressing in the foreground of our experience and others sliding into the background. In this work with frequencies, we aren’t being asked to get rid of negative or troublesome aspects of ourselves. Instead, we are invited to choose a frequency that we want to experience in the foreground of our experience even as we allow our awareness to enfold all of what constitutes our wholeness.
This is where I call on the metaphor of a kaleidoscope, which I’ve shared many times. When we turn the tube of a kaleidoscope, all the pieces shift into a new pattern. Sometimes, a color we haven’t seen for quite a while may pop into view while another drops away. This is the way I think of the dynamics of wholeness: aspects of ourselves slide into the foreground while others drop into the background.Read More “854th week: Choose Your Frequency”