The planet we call home is definitely being put through its paces. What’s on the news these days?
- Evidence everyday of climate change
- New viruses
- Mass shootings
- Refugees, especially children
- Ongoing wars
- Racism / Hatred
This is only a short list. To condense the news cycle isn’t the point here. If you’re a breathing, feeling, thinking person you know what’s dominating the airwaves and are probably sickened by it. You’re probably also at a loss about how to navigate this terrain. If you’re a compassionate and mindful person who seeks to infuse life with meaning and make the world better, these times may feel, and are disheartening.
Intensified occurrences on the planet have a cyclic life. I began writing about the current cycle we’re in back in 2011. Here are those links. They all have very useful information. And below that you’ll find other tips to maintain your sanity and grace.
These times aren’t easy to navigate. The following are only useful if you actually read them. This post or any one of the previous ones build a whole approach. Any single article isn’t enough to cover all the subtleties.
It’s now more important than ever to deepen and recommit to all the practices that have brought you peace, strength, resourcefulness, compassion and power. Our brains are designed to hyper-learn from negative experiences and feelings, and conditioned to respond with fight, flight or numbing to any perceived threat or fear.
R – Recognize what is happening
A – Allow life to be just as it is
I – Investigate inner experience with kindness
N – Non-Identification
RAIN undoes the habitual ways in which we resist our moment-to-moment experience. It creates distance which enhances awareness. Rather than being taken over by external events or your feelings about them, you can stop and just notice.
Meditation and self-healing contribute to this process, especially the final one, non-identification, which is where we can stop being reduced by fear and anxiety to a single, disempowered point. Meditation and healing enlarge the spaces our mind occupies.
Get together in community and share your feelings. This helps in feeling less anxious and isolated. In community we’re also able to share common values and strengthen them. For example there’s a lot of insane political rhetoric infecting the airwaves. Together with natural disasters and terrorism events, there are both real and false sources of fear.
One way to counter fear is to elevate inner peace, compassion and enlightened qualities. Often it’s easier to validate these in a community of like-minded peers. (Read: The Power of Community.)
Great spiritual traditions are used as a means to ripen us, to bring us face to face with our life, and to help us to see in a new way by developing a stillness of mind and a strength of heart.
— Jack Kornfield
In the same way that you treat your inner feelings with kindness, notice and validate all the good and kindness that’s around you. No matter what else is happening, good and kindness continue to happen. It may take some purposeful effort to seek out acts of goodness but appreciating them increases our humanity and thankfulness.
It’s equally important to also take time and make space for all you love, cherish and is of value to you. These include people of course, family, friends and others. But it also includes personal activities and outreach.
The whole point in creating a counterbalance to what’s happening in the world is to really engage your values, strengthen and empower them in a variety ways. Our values, those principles that we’ve chosen to guide our life are deeply connected to every aspect of our life. They show up in spiritual practice, at work, with family, during personal time and activities and social interactions. They’re not limited to only one sphere.
Therefore, creating a concentration of avenues that display our values is a powerful way to not only give in to what’s happening in the world at large, but also providing a strong counter narrative to it. It also gives us an opportunity to show the world an alternative and a way to move forward.
It can be overwhelming to witness the events and trends of our time. Yet, we’re not helpless. We’re not here simply to go with the tide. It’s our world. The world happens with us not to us. It’s only when we freeze that we can’t influence the direction of the world.
When we have a strong emotion, we know it can be dangerous to act, but we don’t have the strength or clarity to refrain. We have to learn the art of breathing in and out, stopping our activities, and calming our emotions. We have to learn to become solid and stable like an oak tree, and not to be blown from side to side by the storm.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
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Sustaining member with recurring monthly donation:
- Health is a Personal Responsibility - 06/25/2018
- The Essential Lesson of Self-Love - 06/04/2018
- The Compassion of Less Consumption - 01/29/2018
- Year’s End is a Mindfulness Moment - 12/03/2017
- The Reiki Precepts as a Guide for Our Times - 09/04/2017
- Reiki Stories Project 6/12/17 - 06/12/2017
- Take Inner Care - 06/05/2017
- Modulate Your Meditation - 04/24/2017
- The Space of Being - 04/10/2017
- How Important is Posture in Meditation? - 03/23/2017