897th Week: Orienting to the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

I’ve mentioned often that I believe that each of us is a participant in a dynamic collective human consciousness (as well as a collective planetary consciousness) and, because of this, that we are both contributing to and receiving from this collective all the time. When we develop new skills, discover new understandings, master something that was a challenge before, my belief is that we contribute what we experience to our human collective. Then, people who are on the verge of similar accomplishments can spontaneously draw on what we have contributed to the collective through our experience. In the same way, I believe that we also draw from the collective to support our individual journeys.

One of the powerful realities of our collective being is that we are affected by both positive and negative events and responses happening within our human family. As a trauma resolution specialist, I’m keenly aware that groups of people can generate what is called a “trauma vortex” that affects people who aren’t directly involved. Deep suffering can touch all of us even if we aren’t consciously aware of it. We resonate with one another simply because of our participation in collective consciousness. It can be the same on the positive side of things, as well, as was demonstrated in research a number of years ago where people in large groups in a city doing transcendental meditation seemingly affected the statistics on lowered crime in that city during the time of these meditations. We affect one another whether we mean to or not and whether we are conscious of it or not.

During  the years that I taught Somatic Experiencing®, and whenever I have done workshops for the public or professionals over many years, one of the thoughts/wishes/intentions I have held was that the workshop or training would offer whatever amounted to the greatest good for the greatest number of those present. I would also hold the intention that the workshop or training would offer healing support in whatever ways was needed for each person present.

896th Week: Finding Steadiness in Challenging Times

896th Week: Finding Steadiness in Challenging Times

During this time of political struggle and worldwide human suffering and strife, I’d like to begin this week’s practice in conscious living by sharing a quotation from Steven Charleston, a Native American elder who posts messages on Facebook. Here is one I read recently that I feel speaks to this time in our lives:

“There is a spiritual skill that many of us will probably need in the days to come: the ability to maintain a sense of calm in times of trouble. While I cannot predict the future, common sense and the front page both tell me we have more economic and political white water to come. Therefore, I engage my focus on serenity now in order to be prepared. I intentionally sit still, breathe slowly, and look to the Spirit in meditation. I steady my soul. I become the calm I need.”

I have seen other spiritual teachers echoing this same idea—that this is a time when being able to access a state of calm, as well as steadiness, is something that can benefit each of us. Because of my belief in collective consciousness, I also feel that when we are able to be steady and calm we contribute those qualities to our human collective and, for me, that is an important form of subtle activism.

For this week’s practice, I invite you to deepen your familiarity with calm and your ability to access it, as well as to deepen your access to the steadiness that lives at the core of your being, a steadiness that cannot be disturbed no matter what happens. For me, one of the important aspects of orienting to calm and steadiness is that these qualities in no way detract from also being able to act in whatever ways you feel called to do in response to what you experience in your world. It’s a both/and kind of thing. You can be calm and steady and also take action you feel is necessary.

I emphasize this because sometimes we think that being calm and steady equals not being engaged or moved by what’s happening around us. Nothing could be further from the truth. I feel that the calm and steady presence naturally lead to a powerful orientation to our heart space, where we open ourselves to the suffering in the world, to injustices that need to be challenged, to whatever situations we feel called to respond to. 

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2022  November Meditation

2022 November Meditation

This month, we continue our focus on frequencies for this year. For this month, we bring our awareness to generosity, spending time experiencing this frequency and imagining what it brings into our awareness and into our lives.

For those you who prefer a meditation with images of nature, here’s our YouTube version of this meditation…

895th Week: Noticing the “New You”

In a recent class I took through Lorian.org, we were presented with the thought that each time we bring something into our lives, be it a job, a development, an object, an accomplishment, a relationship, an activity, what comes to us brings with it a “new you”. The underlying idea is that we are changed by the things that enter our life, whatever those “things” may be.

I’ve been very taken with this idea, as it invited me to pay more attention to changes I might notice as I move through experiences and situations. For example, for a number of years, I’ve read about quantum physics and have had a commitment to move beyond my conditioned linear thinking. Starting in 1982, I began to experience and work with the optimal future self and optimal futures, and I offered this process to people as an inner journey to meet their optimal future self. As a result of diving even deeper into quantum dynamics, I found myself thinking one day about the way in which the optimal future arrives and arises in our lives without our necessarily being aware of the process.

This shift in my thinking orients more, now, to being open to receive my optimal future, based on the fact that quantum physics appears to demonstrate that there is an infinite array of possibilities moving in and out of manifest reality all the time. (As I write this, I can imagine the groans of quantum physicists…) 

Anyhow, for me this is an example of the “new you” dynamic of allowing something to deepen into my life, to affect my awareness and perceptions of the world around me. There can be much more subtle shifts pointing to a “new you”, as when you have a thought you’ve never had before, experience an understanding that hasn’t been accessible until now, find yourself orienting to an activity that didn’t interest you before…that kind of thing.

894th Week: Self-Talk and Your Worldview

894th Week: Self-Talk and Your Worldview

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. 

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893rd Week: A Meditation on Our Earth Family

893rd Week: A Meditation on Our Earth Family

One of the themes that has accompanied me throughout most of my adult life is how to support a shift away from our everyday humancentered thinking and behaving and to move toward the recognition that we are part of an Earth family. This kind of shift offers us a perspective that invites us to honor and respect the vast array of our other-than-human earth-kin, all the life and beings with whom we share this planet. 

So much of Western philosophical and religious thinking has divorced our physical lives from our “spiritual lives”, holding an attitude that part of our journey here is to transcend this physical world. Thankfully, I think that this is no longer a dominant attitude to the degree it used to be, but it has been a source of great harm to our planet and our other earth-kin.

Thankfully, people such as Daniel Siegel, a psychiatrist who has become a dominant figure in the trauma resolution community along with others have developed approaches that challenge our tendency to put the individual before our collective. Here’s a link to a brief talk by Dan about his approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo8Yo4UE6g0

It orients us to our larger collective and is an important perspective to have in place when beginning to shift away from a humancentric and individualistic orientation. It invites us to collective well-being and it’s not a huge leap to include our other-than-human earth-kin as well as our human kin.

When I was in graduate school many years ago now, I wrote about what I called Psychoecology, focusing on the place of humans within the larger ecological context. I never developed it beyond that but there are many other people who offer perspectives that move away from humancentric thinking and behavior and I recommend exploring these more deeply if you are interested. Look up Animism, Pantheism and more on google.com. Here’s a piece from the BBC about humans and the natural world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gWGP34-4tY

And, many indigenous cultures have always experienced humans as part of Nature, as part of an earth family with whom humans must cooperate if we are to survive. Here’s a clip of the voices of young indigenous people who are involved in climate change efforts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm8Ctb2w81Y

For this week’s practice in conscious living, I offer the following guided meditation that offers an opportunity to explore shifting away from humancentric thinking:

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