For those of you who prefer a meditation with images, here’s our YouTube version of this meditation:
This month, we continue with our theme of presence and the many reciprocal relationships we have with the world around us. We breathe in oxygen, a gift from trees who then breathe in our carbon dioxide. Bringing into awareness all the organisms and beings whose presence and activities contribute to what makes the world work for us, i.e., fungi, micro-organisms and more we don’t see and may not even recognize. Also insects, amphibians, reptiles, beings that fly, crawl, and swim and many other participants in the collective, interrelated system that creates your local environment and ecology. We have an opportunity to offer gratitude and blessings to everything in the environment with which we have a reciprocal relationship.
Please remember never to listen to these audio meditations when driving or operating dangerous machinery…
One of the things I often share with others, and have no doubt written about in these practices a number of times, is how our ongoing flow of self-talk is a form of self-hypnosis. We program ourselves with our self-talk and it’s worthwhile to notice how it affects, if not shapes, the quality of our internal lives.
This week, I want to take a particular orientation to tracking and engaging self-talk. Because our self-talk so deeply reflects our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us, for this week’s practice I would like to focus on the impact of self-talk that focuses on kindness. And, in the same way, to invite you to notice the quality of your internal experience when your self-talk focuses on unkind statements about yourself and/or others.
For most of us, the flow of self-talk is automatic and pretty much unceasing. It moves along on the stream of consciousness that constantly flows by and, even though we may not pay particular attention to it, this flow of self-talk affects the quality of our body-mind being from moment to moment.
And so, for this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to track your self-talk around the theme of kindness. Notice when you become aware of thinking unkindly about yourself or someone else. Have you noticed that we will sometimes talk to ourselves in ways we would never think of doing with someone else? That’s a key self-talk habit to change, by gently refusing to talk to yourself in ways you wouldn’t talk to someone else. In addition, I invite you to notice what happens when you talk to yourself gently, with kindness and comfort or encouragement. If what you say doesn’t feel authentic at first, that’s normal. Keep it up and notice over time how, when your heart becomes involved, you discover that you actually care about how you treat yourself.Read More “894th Week: Self-Talk and Your Worldview”
Sitting in Central Park on a quiet Sunday morning, I find myself wondering what to offer for this week’s practice. One of the things most of us need at this point are ways to settle ourselves, reliable ways to re-center in the presence of so many adaptations required in this world of both a pandemic and an essential confrontation with racial and economic inequities that have been accepted as normal for far too long.
As I’ve been doing lately, I’d like to offer some practices that might be of help during stressful times. As a collective, we face necessary demands for fundamental social change even as we adapt to learning to manage a pandemic we don’t yet fully understand, and these inescapable realities are sources of stress for most of us.
Drawing from my hypnosis background as well as Somatic Experiencing and EMDR, here are some practices I’ve found useful over the years:Read More “800th Week: Some Approaches to Ease Stress”
Sitting in Central Park this morning in my usual place, which is quite close to where dogs play together during the off-leash time, I’ve enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm they bring to chasing balls or just running around together. One small poodle came by and was so excited to be able to run that he squeaked as he went in ever widening circles around his human companions as they walked down a hill.
Something in the way this little dog gave his whole self to the activity touched something in me, bringing me a little more alive this morning. It got me to thinking about how we engage opportunities to express ourselves enthusiastically, celebrating life energy. There are times when the felines who share my home with me get into this same kind of abundant enthusiasm and one particular feline friend has a way of squeaking as she purrs when I rub her head in a certain way.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to do two things. First, notice what you experience when you take time to watch people or other earth-kin engaging in play or some other activity with unbridled enthusiasm. Pay attention to what happens in your body, the quality of your emotions, the tone of your thoughts when you do this. Then, notice how you engage pleasurable activities, things you really enjoy doing. They don’t have to be dramatic, just sources of pleasure or engagement. If you’re in a situation where you can’t actually physically engage in an activity, take some time to imagine that you are doing so. Allow yourself to experience the sensations and state of being that arise as you imagine whatever activity gives you real pleasure. Remember, the brain responds to imagined experience in just about the same way it does actual lived experience.Read More “834th Week: Engaging Enthusiasm”
Sitting in Central Park doing a meditative practice that has become very important to me, I find myself accessing ever deeper love for this beautiful planet. The practice is below but, first, I want to say a few things about strengthening our heart-based relationship with our amazing home, our planet and the Nature we are part of that manifests through a powerful and dynamic creativity and intelligence.
When I was in graduate school, many years ago, I wrote papers on what I called, at the time, “psychoecology” because I couldn’t think of any other term that would encompass our psychological experience of, relationship with, and responsibility toward our Earth mother. Way back then, which was in the early-to-mid ‘70’s (I didn’t go to graduate school until I was in my early 30’s), I was looking for a way to put into words, and then to develop practices around, our Western-oriented human family’s disconnect from our larger other-than-human earth family.
Recently, I read a book called “Towards an Ecopsychotherapy”, by Mary-Jayne Rust. It was published in 2020 and includes within its many offerings a focus on helping clients acknowledge and address their anxiety and grief around what’s happening on the planet. This includes climate change, mass extinctions, and the hazards we now face because of our lack of understanding of our place within Nature’s complex and dynamic eco-system.Read More “847th Week: Cultivating Love for the Earth”
I’ve run across a number of articles recently that speak to the physical benefits of silence. One I just read a few days ago talks about how silence generates new cells in the hippocampus of mice. This is an intriguing finding, given that we know that trauma shrinks the hippocampus. Here’s the link to that article: http://www.lifehack.org/377243/science-says-silence-much-more-important-our-brains-than-thought
Another article, which I read a while ago, speaks to a number of benefits that arise from spending time in silence, Read More “702nd Week: Befriending Silence”