For those who would like to have images with your meditation, here’s our link to YouTube for an audio meditation with images…
There is a Japanese philosophy called “wabi sabi”, which is about accepting and embracing that which is imperfect or flawed. Most of you have probably seen kintsugi pottery, where gold is used to fill cracks that appear in a piece of pottery—a bowl, cup, vase. One person who wrote about this said that kintsugi is how one can acknowledge the fact that the pottery object earned those cracks through the process of living and that filling the cracks with gold honors the fact of that experience.
Brain research offers many new insights into the impact of our everyday attitudes and ways of being affect us as we move through our daily lives. Recently, I heard an interview on NPR where a neuroscientist talked about recent research in gratitude and its effects on neurotransmitters. The upshot of the interview was that focusing on gratitude automatically generates increased dopamine and serotonin. Both of these neurotransmitters are part of our “feel good” chemistry.
What was both intriguing and encouraging about the information offered in the interview was that it didn’t take an enormous amount of effort to elicit this neurochemical change in the brain. It got me to thinking about… Read More “674th Week: Cultivating Gratitude for Greater Well-Being”
For those who prefer images with the audio meditation, here’s the link to the YouTube version…
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”
Walking through Central Park one morning, my usual, meditative state of mind—which emerges naturally when I walk through areas of trees—focused on a small act of kindness that someone had recently done for me. I touched back into the quality of friendliness the person seemed to radiate and I realized that the actual act of kindness offered was only part of what made the interaction meaningful. The other part was the quality of who this person is in the world, and that felt like the most important aspect of the experience.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with an acquaintance one afternoon in Starbuck’s, where she began to speak apologetically about how she didn’t feel like she ever did anything really important or meaningful in her life… Read More “680th Week: What We Radiate Into the World”
When the world is so filled with suffering and chaos, we can sometimes feel not only overwhelmed but pushed into collapse and fatigue because of how helpless we may feel. One of the practices I’ve been doing for quite a while that now has a name is “subtle activism”. Subtle activism involves activities such as prayer, blessing, sending healing thoughts, intentions, and images, radiating gratitude and other life-affirming qualities into the world. Subtle activism involves anything we do with our imagination and our heart-felt emotions that orients to wholeness, healing, easing of suffering, and fundamental well-being.
One of the qualities that many people believe is healing in and of itself is love—love for life, love for the planet, love for all beings—however that may express in any of us, along with a recognition that everything we encounter anywhere in life arises from the same sacred source as we do. Here are some thoughts that others have had about subtle activism, love, and the importance of the recognition of the underlying sacred in everything:Read More “763rd Week: Subtle Activism—Practices We Can Do When We’re Overwhelmed”