Recently, my husband shared this tidbit : We have 99.9% of the same DNA. We are all close, close, close. Close as twins. 7.5 billion individuals genetically matching each other. All nearly the same, with similar hopes, dreams, fears and hostilities. Although there are obvious cultural contrasts, not one of us is that different from the other.
If that is the case: How do we want to interact with one another within this global family? What do we want to say to each other, all 7.5 billion of us?
On the other hand, there are more than three million differences between your genome and anyone else’s. 3,000,000 dissimilarities. We are so different. How can we ever know anyone?
That is the paradox.
We feel familiar, close and yet so far away from one another. In this place of near, when we are together – we can feel safe or suffocated by the proximity/likeness of others, or in the experience of far or apart – we can feel spacious or extremely misunderstood and lonely.
And it is here in the space between close and far that I want to sit with you today for a meditation; to recognize that we are one and many. Different and alike. Whole and part. Conservative and liberal. Left and right. The friend and the enemy.
To sit amongst contradictions as if sitting at the beach, peaceful and calm is what we are going to practice today.
Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to quieten. Listen to the sound of your breath in and out.
Now begin to notice the breath just before it enters your nostrils. Observe its composition. What is the air like before it enters your nose? Is it soft? Is it cold?
Next take your awareness to your lips. Place your top lip on top of the bottom lip. Gently, barely resting on the bottom lip – allow it to almost hover. How does it feel to place your lips on top of one another in this way?
Take another breath and close your eyes. And just as you did with your lips, close your eyes lightly resting the eyelids on their natural closing spot. What do you perceive?
Apply this technique of not being slumped or compressed together to all your body parts whether organs or bones, cells or neurons. Imagine them bearing no weight or pressure on any of the other body parts.
How does it feel? Does it make you straighten your spine or feel more spacious within your body? Do you feel light and airy? Do you like the sensations being this way creates for you?
Now watch your nostrils, lips, eyes, organs, bones and the way you are carrying yourself and imagine you can carry yourself very lightly, with very little effort. Imagine you can let go of the effort of this exercise. How does this feel?
Take a moment to breathe with awareness and when you feel ready, open your eyes and begin to move around the room being aware of the almost imperceptible way your body is stacked.
Look, smell, touch, hear and sense with effortlessness. As you move realize that even though there may be many contradictions in your life you can move with awareness and lightness of being.
If you find yourself becoming distracted return your awareness to the air just below your nostrils or your lips resting lightly one on top of the other and continue with the exercise.
When you feel complete take one more breath and find a place to sit. Contemplate what has changed for you since you started the exercise? How do the contradictions within you feel?
The more we embrace that lightness in our daily lives, moving our awareness away from slumping and clumping, the more unencumbered and present we can be in any situation, making it spacious and wholesome with our energy.
I know all this may sound rather simplistic in the face of the many complications and challenges facing us but I’d like to remind us that more times than not, simple is the way to go.
Look at water or the wind, animals or the light – all these elements and creatures they all move according to this law; they all find the simplest route to move forward.
Perhaps as we unfold into the potentials that simplicity holds we may find ourselves happier, clearer and more connected than we’ve ever imagined possible.
I love technology; laptops, smartphones, tablets, and their A.I.s like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. What I don’t like is the hold they can have over all of us, especially our kids. I’ve noticed that they become almost obsessive in their efforts to get more device time.
In my household, we have an almost daily discussion/debate/fight over how much time my 8 year-old can spend on the devices. Even though we have set time limits, he will try to negotiate more time especially when his time on the device ends.
These discussions/debates/disagreements are not always pleasant and more times than not extremely frustrating for all of us.
I have started tracking how each of us in our household contributes to this non-productive use of time and what brings us back to harmony.
I feel at this stage of technology use, we need to get control over our existing obsessive tendencies if we are to have any hope of handling the next generation of devices.
Here’s some food for thought: we are now fully in the handheld stage and experimenting with wearables, and the cost associated with Virtual Reality has plummeted, making the experience of Virtual Reality affordable for almost anyone.
Augmented Reality is at our fingertips as well. The latter adds layers of filtered data and information between you and the world around you. The former blocks it out completely, replacing it with frenetic sensory overload.
If we can’t stop ourselves from focussing all our attention on the box in our hand, how are we supposed to break away from a virtual sensory experience so total and complete?
I would like to share 2 techniques to get us started on retaking control of our relationship with technology.
1 Open focus – after being on a device, whether checking Facebook likes or uploading Instagram photos or playing Slither.io open your focus, come back into your body. Do this sooner rather than later. Look around the room, notice colors, textures – connect to your environment through your senses and movement, and consciously shift the energy from being focused in your head/mind to the rest of your body. *With kids jump around, play tag, roll like a log on the ground to get the blood moving throughout the body.
2 Breath works – if you feel a pull to stay on the device or to keep checking every few minutes, or you have been working on a computer for a long period of time this breathing exercise is super handy to reorient your senses and reset your overtaxed nervous system.
This breathing exercise works well with kids especially if they are being particularly difficult (kids can be this way even if they haven’t been on a device).
Breathe in through your nose. Pause. Breathe out through your mouth. And here’s the trick – always make the exhalation longer than the inhalation. Even after a few breaths, you will feel yourself returning to sanity and with solutions.
Our future includes existing technologies and much more yet to come. We don’t want to avoid them because they provide great services to us and improve our lives in so many incredible ways.
That is their job.
It is our job to be vigilant and not disappear into the technologies like ghosts in a shell.
It is our job to be in the world and of the world; to enjoy life through the experiences our bodies create through our senses and awareness. It is up to us how much technology we incorporate into our lives. However much we do incorporate, let’s do it consciously and purposefully.
Thanks for reading. Now it’s your turn. How do you navigate your time on devices? Do you consider yourself pro technology or against it? Let is hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As for 2016, it was a year that made us all wake-up, right?
It reminds me of a story attributed to the Buddha (aka Siddhartha Gautama) (SG) where he is asked by a Brahmin priest (BP): Are you a celestial being?
BP: A spirit of some kind?
BP: A human being?
SG: No, I am not a human being.
BP: Then, what sort of being are you?
SG: Remember me, Brahmin, as awakened.
I believe this story sets the table for the upcoming years and even lifetimes for those of us that want to be good human beings and experience the awesome gift that this life truly is.
Being awake has power and purpose.
When I’m awake, meaning not trapped in old patterns, dissociated, bingeing on real life dramas (news) or busy-ness, I feel fantastic. I feel even more electric and alive when I consciously disengage from being on automatic pilot and look at my surroundings taking in the colors, textures, sounds, temperature, rhythm and the hum of life.
Everyday objects and moments become precious, sacred and profound.
Everything resonates, sings and dances in its beingness. I feel belonging and wholeness. Gratitude and appreciation in every cell. So, it’s a no-brainer for me to commit to a practice of waking up/becoming aware/mindful as my starting point for creating peace and prosperity, health and wellness and all those lovely things that we all want when we dream big.
That’s how I want to approach 2017. Awake, filled with presence, willing and ready to be counted. My goal this year is to remain present and aware in the face of anything.
Want to join me? Here are some pointers.
- Go on an inner journey
- Become more mindful/ thoughtful
- Be of service to others
- Ask a lot of questions
- Breathe easily and deeply.
These actions lead to peace and prosperity but are only the beginning of that journey. The following are more involved
Become aware of cultural, political, social, religious, familial narratives that shape you as part of your awakening and become curious about what is dear to you and what you are loyal to further free yourself.
Unpack this little gem from Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, “The more you know, the less you need.” I’ve heard it said in other ways too: “less is more” for example. Could less be more for you? In which areas of your life?
Choose to make peace.
Connect to your inner light. Your light can come in the form of ideas, dreams, laughter, delight, magic, knowing, love and so much more. Flood your being with this light.
Freedom is an action, not a possession or state. Free yourself first. Engage, expand and energize your freedom.
Get to know your body. Make it strong in the way that works for your body.
Dare to love passionately – people, animals, plants, rocks, the planet
Tread gently on the earth
Now take it all apart – all of your ideas, thoughts, visions. Become Naked. Present.
Take some time for you today or over the next few days and give yourself the permission to experience new, continued awakened states. See what unfolds for you. Being awake can make us aware of attachments good and bad.
Being awake can make us feel alive and sensitive even in trying circumstances. It can also be a burden. Being present and aware means that you are present and aware for the good, the bad, and the ugly truth as it happens.
It can be uncomfortable at times, even painful, but it is important, because more than anything else, being awake allows us to choose consciously, effectively, and purposefully.
So, here’s to you, my friends and to our ever awakening hearts and minds. May they lead the way to our ever unfolding peace and harmony.
The New Book
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