Human Practices that Connect Us

During extra-ordinary times like these, stronger than usual stresses and strains pull on us from all directions. It is easy to get caught up in the economic trauma of the day, and potentially lose sight of who we are, and what is truly important to us. These ideas below are a compilation of wisdom coming to us from all corners of this planet. They include spiritual awareness practices, states of mind, levels of thinking, and wellness and life balance practices that have been around for a long time. They represent “practices” – covering both the “beingness” and “doingness” side of our life experiences.

The meta-framework for me that informs my point-of-view is most significantly the work of Cheri Huber, an American Zen Buddhist monk. Cheri is a prolific writer that makes eastern spiritual practice understandable by the western mind. The central message of Cheri’s work is how “ego-centric conditioning” completely blinds us to our spiritual experiences and keeps us in various states of suffering. It is only in getting back to our natural “center” – through an awareness practice – will we able to enjoy the broader dimensions of the life we were meant to live. Further, we are not human beings having spiritual experiences – we are spiritual beings having human experiences.

Especially during these troubling times, some of these ideas may help to reground us so that we might offer more of who we are to others we care about. They are a grouped listing – a family – of related ideas, plus a set of reflective questions that might serve to deepen your ability and willingness to utilize them for your own life. For all of us working in organizations and living in families during these times, it is a time when we need to summon the best of who we are. They are offered with the spirit of supporting the reader in becoming grounded, or maybe getting re-grounded when we lose our way. Here are the first three of nine to follow in BLOGS for December…

1. Attention/presence/awareness. Life presents us many opportunities to practice awareness. When we can be attentive to what is going on within us and around us, we are more fully present to the deep and rich experiences that life offers us. We are usually more able to see the bigger picture and understand our part in co-creating our life’s experiences.

a. How is my life different when I am fully present and in-the-moment?

b. What (or whom) do I need to be paying attention to that I have been ignoring?

c. What habits (ignoring, denial, staying too busy) do I have that obstruct my ability to be present?

2. Respect/honor/reverence. These principles might be described as the way we come to “hold” our life experiences. When we deeply value our own life experiences, then we better come to respect differences in others, and honor the unique gifts they bring to our family or organization. The opposites might be judgment, disdain and criticism. Those dynamics – when present – usually block the good feelings that come from revering, honoring, and respecting.

a. What values, ideas and skills do I most honor in myself and others?

b. How do I feel when locked in judgment of others or being judged by others?

c. What is one thing I might do to minimize self-judgment?

3. Intention/purpose/mission. These ideas group the basic elements of our directional system. One could add ‘goals’ to the list. They serve to focus our attention on where we are going, and what kind of family or workplace we want to create. They set up considerations on how we will conduct ourselves along the way.

a. What is my life’s purpose or mission? Why am I here? What unique contribution am I to accomplish that maybe no one else is able to do?

b. What outcomes do I hope for or expect that are different than they are today?

c. What do I want people to say about me after I am gone?