Towards dissolving obstacles between the heart and mind of people in power
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Now until November 20
and/or November 21-December 21 Would you like to join a some friends and me in doing your choice of a daily practice towards harmony in your life and this world?
What kind of practice? Whatever helps you connect. Some people feel to do a little longer meditation than usual, and others are going with prayer, mantra, lighting a candle, creating or doing a ritual, dancing, or some other way of connecting to life.
What kind of focus, intention or wish? All wishes for harmony and awakening are welcome. Some people feel like including in our “field” a specific tangled situation near to them. Some people are focusing on world leaders. It's wonderful to hear about the specific situations different people are bringing in, and I will share some of them below. How did this idea come up? This idea of committing as a group to practice over a certain period of days came up in conversation with someone on my 2-year online program, as she wonders “whether to stay or go” in her job. She works with a nonprofit that has painful blind spots, but that also does incredible work.
She loves welcoming kids at risk into nature and even creating homey spaces in nature from natural materials together with them. But how long should she keep exposing herself to the systemic disrespect in the organization? Is it more supportive of awakening to stay and try to help leverage this organization awake? Is it more supportive of the common good to take oneself away from a repeat-offending situation that reinforces past trauma?
We happened to listen to native American activist and spiritual teacher Sherrie Mitchell in an interview with Sharon Blackie. Mitchell described how a group of elders in her community devoted days of practice at dawn towards “dissolving of obstructions between the heart and mind" of people in power in their area. The elders did "ceremony for an awakening of ...[the political leaders'] compassionate awareness of their connection to life...would pray for them to see the value of the living beings that they were harming in our environment. Would see the value of every life that they were willing to sacrifice for profitability.” Within 3 months, 12 of these political leaders left their positions because “they could no longer in good conscience continue doing the work that they were doing.”
And we decided it is worth a try, in our own small ways, to dedicate practice towards the dissolving of obstacles in specific situations that are important to us—situations near and far, small and large.
The idea of practicing at dawn and dusk came up. But we know how easily people could get discouraged if they missed that specific moment once or twice.
So we suggest that each person craft their own specific practice. And anyone who wants to can join us in chanting the Gayatri mantra in Sanskrit—the number of times that you like, whether a traditional number like 11, 54 or 108, or your own number.
Or of course you can find your own words that resonate for you. You can of course find examples of the Gayatri mantra online.
Here is Mitchell's interview: https://soundcloud.com/thismythiclife/sherrie-mitchell
Thanks for joining us, and feel free to spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested. What is important to you is welcome "in the field." But I would also like to share a theme I am noticing in different people's focus for this dedication of meditation of prayer. I would summarize the theme as “Dignifying Venus.” Or “rigor and Eros.” Or “valuing the subtle.”
What I mean by dignifying is basically “valuing” and “treating as important”—for example, specifically: Honoring, valuing, recognizing the dignity of, supporting, staying with (even when it is challenging), finding rigor, giving strength, clearing, “owning” or waking up to.
What I mean by Venus is a whole range of subjects: Women in our lives, and in our ancestry; female sexuality; and what has often been assigned to the “feminine,” such as receptivity, the inner life, emotion, intuition, affection. beauty, home, hospitality, taking care of someone who needs care, nurturing in general, and even specific types of work like housework, cooking or cleaning.
Below I share some more examples of what people are bringing to this field of prayer or meditation this week. I hear “dignifying Venus” in all of them. Feel free to bring in anything you like though...no need to try to make it fit this idea. Some people are... ~Realizing they have “the responsibility” (or permission) to meditate, to rest, to leave space, to enjoy, and/or to daydream. Remembering the power of these passive or irrational states. Letting these revolutionary states give a foundation and intelligence and efficiency and magic to action.
~Planning and enjoying enough time to cook or clean, or do any of the ordinary, necessary tasks of life, so that the power and magic of these tasks can act on and through us. ~Some people are honoring and connecting with women who are important in their lives--clarifying an ancestral line, feeling gratitude and connection with sisters, mothers or grandmothers; appreciating good women friends. Leaving open a possibility of de-complication of family constellations. One friend is working with her narcissistic mother, who has just inherited lots of money but has very little experience in handling wealth. Another friend is living part-time with her ailing and aged mother, who is afraid to die. ~Remembering and rejoicing in the necessity and power of beauty. My mother is inspired during these days to pray that Trump and other political leaders around the world may see and feel beauty. She is reflecting on a Navaho prayer in the Diné language about Hozho, usually translated as “balance and beauty.” The prayer starts like this: In beauty I walk With beauty before me I walk With beauty behind me I walk With beauty above me I walk With beauty around me I walk It has become beauty again
~Women awakening in their wants and their sexuality—realizing they don't know what they want or need. Realizing they need to know. Are allowed to know or feel. Realizing when they are wearing a transparent dress or “trying to look cute”...not realizing there is something wrong with dressing sexy, but realizing the power of being awake and embodied in what they are feeling and communicating sexually. ~Being steadily present with those coming out of trauma from sexual abuse and exploitation. Someone in my 2-year online program, Emma Philander, is offering massage to former sex workers through an NGO. However challenging it is to feel these women's trauma, and even though it stirs up a lot in herself, Emma feels a fierce willingness to stay with this work.
~Rigor and fulfillment. Someone I know recently had a dream that each person in a circle of friends is receiving a challenge that is just right to “grow up” any parts of us that are still immature.
Photo of Mount Arunachala in South India, by Jaya Julienne Ashmore, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.
This dream feels like an emblem of our times, and I would love for each of us to accept any challenge that might help us find our feet, establish roots, or stretch out of our zone of convenience and familiarity.