Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

805th Week: Everything is Alive, Everything is Earth-Kin

Sitting in Central Park among my tree friends, I found myself asking the following question: How do I help people understand that the earth and everything on it isn’t inert, isn’t passive and lacking in consciousness? How to I offer a perspective that holds the awareness that everything is earth-kin and that everything is conscious, alive, and aware in its own ways? Many of us raised in the Western world were taught that our planet was filled with “resources”, available for our use, rather than the more indigenous-oriented position that everything on and of our earth is alive and is valued kin. 

Here’s a quotation from an enchanting book, “Becoming Animal”, by David Abram that captures some of what we modern people have lost in our relationship to nature, our earth, and our earth-kin:

“Our chest, rising and falling, knows that the strange verb ‘to be’ means more simply ‘to breathe’; it knows that the maples and the birches are breathing, that the beaver pond inhales and exhales in its own way, as do the stones and the mountains and the pipes coursing water through the ground under the city. The lungs know this secret as well as any can know it: that the inward and the outward depths partake of the same mystery, that as the unseen wind swirls within us, so it also whirls all around us, bending the grasses and lofting the clouds even as it lights our own sensations. The vocal cords, stirred by that breath, vibrate like spiderwebs or telephone wires in the breeze, and the voice itself, laughing and murmuring, joins its song to the water gurgling under the grate.”

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

804th Week: Celebrating Our Beautiful Planet

A daily practice that has emerged for me over the years is to post an inspirational quotation and photo of nature each day on the Devadana Sanctuary Facebook page and also on the Devadana Sanctuary side of my Portal to Multidimensional Living, www.portaltomdl.com. As a result of this practice, I have found myself looking through thousands of photographs of this amazing planet each and every morning. More than once, I have found myself moved to tears by the stunning beauty and creativity of nature and have found that this has become a powerful and sacred morning practice.

One of the things I have noticed over these years is how much more aware I am of the intricacies, creativity, and stunning diversity that are part of Nature’s Intelligence. I capitalize those words because I think of Nature as a living Intelligence, one that informs and lives in, through, and as each and every one of us.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

803rd Week: “Do Unto Others…”

In writing this practice, I don’t want to slide over into political perspectives or a polarized discussion. What I want to bring into this week’s practice is the saying that is found in most religions and spiritual traditions, adding up to “treat others as you would want to be treated.” I think this is probably one of the fundamental values of just about every spiritual approach I’ve learned about throughout my years of exploring spirituality and religion.

With the Internet and the polarized nature of our world at this time, it can be far too easy to respond to people in ways that would have been unimaginable only a decade or so ago. I’ve had people comment about things I’ve posted on Facebook in ways that have shocked, saddened, and surprised me. It’s as though we have learned to interact as individuals and as a culture as if it doesn’t matter what or how we communicate with one another.

For this week’s practice, I invite you to carry with you the request to “treat others as you would want to be treated” and, in addition, “treat others as you would want your loved ones to be treated.” Then, measure your words and actions against these statements and notice if you are following this most basic human ideal. By making this a practice akin to mindfulness, pay attention to what you discover about how much awareness, consideration, and choice you bring to how you respond to and treat others, to your words, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

802nd Week: Cultivating an Open Heart

During times of extreme stress, such as those we collectively and individually face as a global community at this time, it can be a challenge to move through daily life with our hearts open. It can also be a challenge to feel centered and grounded, and I’ve written a few prior practices to support returning to a grounded center. 

One of the unfortunate side effects of the level of stress we collectively experience at this time is a tendency to constrict our hearts. More than ever, this is a time when, because of the pandemic and also the challenge of climate change, we need to awaken our hearts to ourselves, to one another, and to our planet. 

For this week, I’d like to offer a practice for cultivating an open heart. Many years ago, back in the early 1970’s, my first therapist often drew on approaches drawn from Psychosynthesis. Created by an Italian psychiatrist, Roberto Assagioli, Psychosynthesis is a transpersonally-oriented psychotherapy which uses guided imagery and work with symbols, among other approaches.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

801st Week: Nurturing Gentle Moments

I posted this quotation to the Devadana Sanctuary website and Facebook page, as one of the daily inspirational posts that go up each morning:

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours. 
And so may a slow
Wind work these words 
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak 
To mind your life.

~ John O’Donohue

One of the things I seem to always experience with the poetry of John O’Donohue is how alive his words become as I live into them and allow them to touch me. This poem feels deeply relevant to our current experience of the Covid pandemic and reminded me of the importance of taking time to nourish ourselves in gentle ways. 

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