For those of you who prefer a meditation with images, here’s our YouTube version of this meditation:
For those who prefer a visual meditation along with the audio, here’s a link to the YouTube version of this month’s guided meditation…
I find myself continually returning to a commitment to express kindness as I move through each day. In a world filled with contention and disasters, it can be hard to remember to stand on a foundation of kindness rather than a foundation of fear or upset. There are a couple of concepts in psychology related to the developing understanding of what is called “memory reconsolidation”, which is how our brain adds new information to old learning. Drawn from the teachings of Juliane Taylor Shore, our experiences generate the “psychological floor we stand on” and the quality and tone of our “emotional knowing,” which I think of as a filter through which we understand self and the world. While I’m not going to go into these dynamics here, I want to draw on the idea of the “psychological floor we stand on” and our “emotional knowing” as we think about kindness and how we express it in our world.
In the psychological sense, these dynamics are unconscious and automatic. For the purposes of this week’s practice in conscious living, I’d like to propose that if we consciously hold the intention to stand on a “psychological floor of kindness” and hold the intention that we will look at the world through a filter of kindness, our everyday actions and states of mind would more naturally orient toward experiences and expressions of qualities of kindness.
When you imagine internally standing on a psychological floor of kindness, what comes into your awareness and experience? Are there images that arise? What physical sensations do you experience when you imagine standing on this “floor” of awareness? Spend a few minutes simply resonating with the quality of kindness and notice what else comes into your experience.
When you imagine viewing and interpreting the world through a filter characterized by kindness, what kinds of thoughts and emotions arise in you? Do mixed feelings arise, as well? How do your thoughts and feelings register in your body? Do you find yourself more settled, your heart more open or do you find yourself pulling back from what you experience?Read More “913th Week: Returning to Kindness”
Walking across Central Park one morning, I noticed the tee shirt of a man walking in front of me. The back of it said, “Imagine a world without cancer.” As I looked at it, the words, “Imagine a world without fear” drifted into my mind and stayed with me all the way across the park. I began to imagine Read More “Week 630: Imagine A World Without Fear”
Even though I’ve given up my office and am now practicing psychotherapy at home on zoom, I still get into Central Park just about every day. On weekends, I go to a bench that’s under a gathering of trees and read and do writing such as this. This particular morning, as I think about our troubled world, I am also aware of the steadiness, presence, and seeming serenity of the large, towering trees around me. When I’m able to clear my mind and simply be with the trees, I find that my bodymind begins to fill with their essence of steady presence. These earth-kin, because of their size and stature, convey to me—whether this is my projection or something actually coming from the trees—a deep settling.
I also notice the boulders and large rock formations that are so much part of the park and can sense into their grounded stability, as well. Somehow, these earth-kin, along with the trees, speak to me this morning about qualities of patience and presence. In addition, the vivid greens of the trees speak to me of healing, health, well-being, and I soak those qualities in, as well.
When I’m not in the park, I can have the same kind of experience with the “trees” that live in my apartment and with all the stone people who also share my home. The three felines who are my animal companions also convey a powerful ability to totally relax and then immediately be available for play or alertness, as the situation may invite or demand.Read More “807th Week: Nurturing Well-Being with Nature”
Listening to the news these days can be a challenge with all the reports of rabid polarization, anger, and fear. This got me to thinking yet again about processes of subtle activism—things we can do within our own body-mind being that might add something positive and, at the very least, not add to the distress going on all around us.
This morning, as I sit in Central Park taking in the green of trees and abundant birdsong, I remember that we all “interare”. The word “interbeing” was created by Thich Nhat Hahn, the Buddhist monk and teacher, and he offered it as a way of reminding us that we are not only dependent on each other and on every other life form that is part of our ecological niche, but we are also related to everyone and everything on the planet. Even when we violently disagree with one another, we are related, part of an earth community of interbeing.
For this week’s practice in conscious living, I invite you to spend some time living with this idea. If it’s already natural to you, then take it a step deeper and find even more earth relations you may have left out of your experience of connection. In a world of interbeing and interdependence, no one and nothing can be omitted. We are part of one global ecosystem and we deeply depend on this earth family with which we are connected.Read More “842nd Week: Interbeing: Connection, and Interdependence”