In our world at this time, the Internet allows us to see more vividly the impact and effects of how we aren’t figuring out how to be in a world that thrives on diversity. This is an unfortunate response that encounters disagreements about worldview and beliefs and turns them into a response that views people with whom we disagree as “other”. Because of my belief in, and experience of, a fundamental oneness underlying reality, it isn’t really possible to have anyone or anything be an “other”. Everything and everyone are kin within a context of oneness, or what Thich Nhat Hanh and Charles Eisenstein call “interbeing”.
What I’d like to offer this week is a practice that supports a sense of connection with everything around us. Deepening this sense of connection can have an impact on how we perceive and respond to the world and may serve to support more constructive responses when we are confronted by people or situations with which we disagree.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t many times when we come up against situations that need to be changed. This isn’t a call not to act on our own behalf and that of others. Instead, it’s an invitation to remember that, even when we may vehemently disagree with what someone is doing, or with a situation that is untenable, we still remember that we are all connected within a fabric of life that weaves us together as kin. And, our kin are comprised of every kind of life form we encounter along the way, not just human beings.
It also doesn’t mean there aren’t times when anger, outrage, grief, and fear may arise and pervade your experience. The key is how you move through these intense feelings and it’s been my experience that an underlying sense of connection keeps me from generating stories that feed extra fuel to feelings that potentially bring about a sense of overwhelm, helplessness, or unmanageable rage.
Here’s a practice I invite you to explore this week and then to see if it affects your perception and responses as you move through your daily activities:
The Space that Connects
- Begin by settling into a position that allows you to be comfortable and also focused.
- Locate the place in your body that you experience as your “home base”, your “internal landing place”, the place you would identify as your “core presence.”
- Settle there for a few moments and notice that there is a fundamental and underlying steadiness that is always there, a steadiness that cannot be disturbed.
- You may not be aware of this steadiness as you move through your daily life, but it is always there in the background, always there to return to.
- Now, sense into the space around you and notice what you experience when you recognize that this space is what connects you to everything else.
- Feel into the space and notice whatever sense of connection may arise as you sense what’s around you, that everything around you is also part of the unbroken presence of space.
- Now, expand your awareness as far out as you’d like, allowing the space that is everywhere to be the field within which you sense this expansion.
- Notice that you are connected to everything that inhabits this infinite, unending space.
- Explore whatever you encounter, whatever arises in your awareness, taking whatever amount of time is right for you this time.
- When you’re ready to conclude your experience, come back to the steadiness in the core of you and spend a moment or two experiencing your embodied presence.
- Then, as you reorient to your surroundings, wiggle your fingers and toes to bring yourself all the way back.
After doing this brief practice, notice if there is any shift in your experience as you step into your daily activities. Play with bringing awareness of the “space that connects” into everyday activities, into the various environments you move through in the course of a regular day. Notice the tone of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations as you do this, becoming aware of any shifts in your usual responses.
As with all these practices, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise as you explore the space that connects. You might want to take notes each time you do this practice, as ideas and impressions may arise that you don’t want to forget.