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.
- I also invite you to spend some time each day, perhaps after your morning meditation or whatever other practice you may follow, coming into your heart space and focusing your attention on whatever sense of connection you may feel in relation to the world around you. This might include the people you live with, maybe animal companions, the physical environment around you. It might include your local neighborhood, with all its people, animals, birds, trees, etc. It might include groups to which you belong. It might even include all your earth kin, if you experience your sense of connection on a global scale.
- As you focus in your heart space and orient to whatever experience of connection you may find, notice what happens in your body, on the sensations that arise as you do so. Also notice the quality and tone of your emotional experience and of your self-talk—the mental aspect of your being.
- The invitation here is to bring alive a deeper sense of connection in whatever ways that makes sense to you. Our culture seems to promote individuality, focusing on individual needs and wants. A practice such as this one can help to counter this emphasis and remind us that we are always and without exception part of a larger community without which we could not live as we do.
As with all these practices, there’s no right way to do this one. It’s just one more opportunity to notice how the quality of moment-to-moment choices, attitudes, along with where you focus your attention and activities, impacts the quality of your inner life. Please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to gently pat on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything with, to, or about them.