For those who prefer a visual experience with their meditation, here’s the YouTube version…
Note: At the bottom of this written practice there is a recording of it, if you would prefer to listen. In the practices that contain a guided meditation, please remember never to listen to these recorded meditations when driving or working with dangerous machinery.
One of the themes I’ve noticed in my work in recent years is an increasing emphasis on inviting clients to notice their wholeness, and on accepting the fact that our human wholeness includes aspects of ourselves that we don’t particularly like. This means acknowledging and accepting these aspects of self, recognizing that we can’t remove or eliminate parts of our human wholeness.
One metaphor I use for managing wholeness when we’re in touch with things about ourselves that we want to hide or exorcise is a rainbow. We can’t take a color out of the rainbow, even if we don’t like it. Another metaphor is the foreground/background dynamic I’ve written about a number of times, where aspects of our wholeness are sometimes in the foreground of our awareness and behavior and then sometimes in the background. Whatever moves into the foreground can be invited into the background and whatever lives in the background can be invited forward.
In addition to becoming aware of and engaging more consciously the foreground/background dynamic inherent in our wholeness, one of the practices I’ve encouraged people to engage is to imagine that they put a gentle arm around parts of themselves that they don’t like. This would include aspects of themselves that generate shame or discomfort of some other kind, ways of being that they see in themselves that they swore they would never express, responses and behaviors that embarrass them or that they dislike intensely. We can’t escape our wholeness, but we can learn to relate to this fact of being with kindness and gentleness rather than with criticism, aggression, and anger.
And so, for this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to explore the following guided meditation and notice what works for you and what doesn’t. Please be sure to allow and track mixed feelings, as they are inherent in our wholeness. The key is to bring awareness to them without having to do anything with them right now.Read More “889th Week: Embracing Wholeness with Kindness”
Continuing with a recent theme, I’ve been thinking about what practices can offer support during a time when so many sources of distress, uncertainty, suffering, and fear are in our personal and collective atmosphere just about all the time. As I pondered our current collective situation, solution-focused therapy practices came to mind. In solution-focused therapy, clients are invited to place an emphasis on noticing things that go right in their environment, relationships, and everyday lives.
With this in mind, I’d like to offer a practice around noticing what’s going right. When we are able to do that, we perceive the world through a filter more focused on wholeness, where there is room for everything—for what causes discomfort and distress and what offers support, optimism, hope, inspiration, and enjoyment. All too often, it seems to me, we can become caught in a focus on what’s negative or destructive and forget that there are also positive and constructive things going on in our world.
A mundane example related to the situation with my feline housemates that I described last week is not only a recognition of the pain and distress caused by surgery but also a recognition of the blessings offered by medication that reduces pain and the slow “bouncing back” of all concerned.
And so, for this week, here’s a practice to play with. As you do, please track where you find yourself not wanting to shift from problems to what’s going right. It can be very illuminating to discover how loyal we can be to what causes us distress and our culture tends to discount, if not negate outright, positive actions and events happening locally and around the world.Read More “857th Week: Noticing What’s Going Right”
For those who prefer images with the audio meditation, here’s the link to the YouTube version…
It’s a holiday weekend and I spent a bit of time on Facebook this morning. Reading about the plight of immigrant families being separated at the U.S. border and all the other unfortunate developments arising in so many different ways, I found myself again wondering how to cultivate hope and hold a sense that things can be better. Then I remembered a documentary I recently watched that ended up giving me some unanticipated optimism. It’s a talk given by Jeremy Rifkin, an economic and social theorist. It’s called “The Third Industrial Revolution” and, even though it begins with examples of our dire environmental crisis, it ends on hopeful notes of what is emerging already within the awareness of millennials around the world. Even with all the challenges and misuses, the Internet has created a more directly connected experience amongst young people in many countries and that is already creating change in how they think about and treat one another.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to watch the documentary and notice what it touches in you. Your experience may be different from my own, and it may not bring a hopeful sense to you. Whatever arises when you have watched it all the way through, notice what it may prompt you to do. We are all in this together and our individual and collective actions matter. For me, having a sense of possibility, a sense that there may be solutions to what we see happening in the world today, is a great gift. I hope it is for you, too. Here’s the link to the documentary: Read More “715th Week: Cultivating Hope”