Here’s this month’s audio meditation. Above is the YouTube version with images…
Sitting in Central Park on a Sunday morning, there is a loud and enthusiastic race going on nearby with lots of hoots and hollers as people run by. I’m here amongst my tree friends and what I’m aware of is the pervasive and steady quiet they radiate into my awareness. This moment has taken me back to my experience of the foreground/ background dynamic that is always present. By bringing my awareness to the background of pervasive quiet here amongst the trees, it shifts into the foreground of my awareness even as the enthusiastic shouting of the race slides into the background. I feel my body relax into the quiet, into the pervasive silence that the trees radiate.
This got me to thinking yet again about how important it can be to be able to choose what we bring into the foreground of awareness and what we allow to hover in the background. In my practice of attending to wholeness as much as possible, I do my best not to leave out an awareness of what’s happening around me, what’s happening in the world, and to acknowledge not only what brings me ease and happiness but also what touches into an awareness of suffering, outrage, and compassion. And so, shifting things from foreground to background and vice versa doesn’t mean to actively go into denial about what’s unfolding in my immediate environment or in the world. Rather, it offers a way to choose which awareness is most appropriate and most healthy in any given moment.Read More “764th Week: Choosing the Focus of Attention—Foreground/Background”
There is an excellent documentary on a Tibetan monk, Lobsang Phuntsok, who trained with the Dalai Lama, taught Buddhism and meditation in the West, and now takes in children in the Himalayan foothills of India. The name of his community translates to “the garden of love and compassion” and he and his colleagues/assistants work with kindness and gentle, but consistent, guidance as his way of offering them a safe and secure family experience. Here’s a link to the video:
I am living with cats for the first time in 24 years. There are three of them, all related, and less than a year old. What I’m aware of constantly these days is how much more often I find myself smiling. I’m kind of a “smiley” person to begin with, so it’s not new territory to me but—even with that familiarity—I’m surprised by how much moreof the time I seem to find myself smiling.
This got me to thinking about the research that’s been done around smiling. Read More “726th Week: Smiling as A Resource”
If you’d like to experience this meditation with nature images, here’s a link to the youtube version:
The contention around whether to wear masks or not during this pandemic brings into vivid focus what happens when we forget that we are all in this together and that we need to work together to help prevent unnecessary illness and death. So, this week’s practice in conscious living is going to be somewhat shorter and to the point:
- For the coming week, I invite you to notice what you are doing to contribute to the welfare and well-being of all of us. That might include wearing a mask, which infectious disease scientists have said again and again will reduce the spread of the virus. It might include donating money to a cause you care about, marching in a protest, or doing volunteer work in your community. It might mean checking in on elderly neighbors to make sure that they have what they need, or creating a friend network, if you haven’t done so already, so that everyone has someone to turn to in case of need.