Over the course of the past year, it has disheartened me to see how many people on Facebook and in other social media contexts have become comfortable using language that is attacking rather than curious, inviting, clarifying, or compassionate. Not only are the words being used distressing through their intention to diminish or humiliate other people, but the anger inherent in these posts—anger that doesn’t suggest solutions or options—is decidedly jarring.
In my years of teaching about trauma resolution, I’ve drawn on something one of my dear friends and teachers taught me many years ago… Read More “694th Week: Practicing Mutual Empowerment”
For this week’s experiment in conscious living, I draw from my book, Sacred Practices for Conscious Living, 2nd Edition, from the chapter on “Compassion and Lovingkindness: Living with An Open Heart”. Here’s a quotation from that chapter:
“For many people, the process of awakening to a greater sense of compassion initially feels overwhelming. A question many ask is, “What can I, one person, do in the face of so much suffering?” The answer is, perhaps surprisingly, quite a lot… Read More “672nd Week: Nurturing Compassion”
Even though I’ve given up my office and am now practicing psychotherapy at home on zoom, I still get into Central Park just about every day. On weekends, I go to a bench that’s under a gathering of trees and read and do writing such as this. This particular morning, as I think about our troubled world, I am also aware of the steadiness, presence, and seeming serenity of the large, towering trees around me. When I’m able to clear my mind and simply be with the trees, I find that my bodymind begins to fill with their essence of steady presence. These earth-kin, because of their size and stature, convey to me—whether this is my projection or something actually coming from the trees—a deep settling.
I also notice the boulders and large rock formations that are so much part of the park and can sense into their grounded stability, as well. Somehow, these earth-kin, along with the trees, speak to me this morning about qualities of patience and presence. In addition, the vivid greens of the trees speak to me of healing, health, well-being, and I soak those qualities in, as well.
When I’m not in the park, I can have the same kind of experience with the “trees” that live in my apartment and with all the stone people who also share my home. The three felines who are my animal companions also convey a powerful ability to totally relax and then immediately be available for play or alertness, as the situation may invite or demand.Read More “807th Week: Nurturing Well-Being with Nature”
One of the truly challenging practices for many of us is to live with harmlessness, called “ahimsa” in Sanskrit. A question that arises is, how do we engage the world actively without causing harm? I remember someone once saying that the Buddha said it’s impossible not to cause harm in many small ways, simply by living. We eat other beings as food, we inadvertently step on insects when walking around, we use and then throw away many things throughout the course of our daily lives. And, when it comes to social action, how do we engage that if we have a commitment to ahimsa?
Read More “667th Week: Practicing “Ahimsa”, Harmlessness”