A Glimpse Practice - Reminder Phrases

From 'The Little Book of Being' by Diana Winston'

'Natural awareness can sometimes be evoked with phrases that remind us of our own luminous awareness. It can be helpful to have a stable, concentrated, and somewhat receptive mind before you state the phrase in your mind and notice the impact (as if dropping a pebble into a pond and noticing the ripples), but it is also fine to use a reminder phrase at any moment. Here are a few you can try (attributed to the meditation teachers who taught them to me):

"Rest in the way things are." (Guy Armstrong)

"Mind luminous like the sun."

"Mind of no clinging." (Joseph Goldstein)

"Everything happens on its own."

"Aware of awareness."

"Our mind is like the sky, vast, open, and spacious; thoughts are like clouds floating by."






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Eating Sand



The following is taken from ‘Eating Sand. Tasting textures of Communication in Warm Data' - Nora Bateson, blog.usejournal.com


'Knowing about complexity and systems theory is fun for me. The crunchy work my head has to do to play with the theoretical language is a delicious charge. This is my geek zone. Others have theirs in tech, history, mechanics, gardening, crafts, music or whatever. It is nice to have a niche, but ultimately insufficient. Finding the ways in which those theories and ideas have a place in my day, my body, my identity, my community, my microbiome — that is where the rigor goes into hyperspeed. In the intimacy of the tiniest of gestures is the multi-processed, multi-contextual, mutli-lingual, multi-everything-ed tissuing of what it is to be an animate, sensing learning, changing being. This is a portal into a sensitivity that is intensely personal and simultaneously universal.

The future is found in the logic of the affect. The salt is now desperately needed. The why of why an article is written in a particular tone, the who of who is verified by that tone, the when of when that tone is necessary to use. What is it not possible to say? Noticing that — is a revolution in itself. It used to be heresy to bring up aesthetics and tone, but now maybe its possible to bring this warm data to the boardrooms and parliaments. Remember, the opposite of aesthetic is anesthetic.

Each encounter, each conversation. Each action is an action in contextual processes saturated both into the detail of everyday life, intimately — as well as into the wider world. The texture and aesthetic of the way the crises of this time are discussed will become characteristic of the “solutions” generated.The warm data matters.'

April 2. 2019

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You Belong

(The following is taken from 'You Belong - A Call for Connection' - by Sebene Selassie (p 19 -21)

'Indigenous people of the Pacific Islands have a unique tradition of sailing referred to as "wayfinding." When Europeans colonised these islands, they recognised that people across thousands of miles of open ocean shared heritage. These indigenous people explained to Europeans that, yes, they traversed the thousands of miles between the islands of the South Pacific (and perhaps as far as South America). They did this on their large, open boats (think Moana) by connecting deeply to everything around them - to the elements, the animals, the sky, the ocean, and the spirit world. This seemed impossible to the European navigators and scientists. Clearly the people are primitive. How could they travel all that way without written language, maps, instruments, external navigation tools, large ships, and a Christian God? Why, we ourselves had all those things and still got lost!  The Europeans settled on a theory that these natives must have accidentally drifted thousands of miles between islands (eye roll). It wasn't until the 1970's that Western disbelief was finally publicly discredited and way finders were recognised as expert sailors and navigators. But Europeans did not only not believe the way finders, they banned them from practicing their culture of way finding (though the communities secretly kept it alive). With colonisation came epistemicide....

'Epistemicide is the killing of knowledge. It refers to the wiping out of ancient ways of knowing. There was a rationalist/scientific paradigm within European Enlightenment that spread from the hard sciences to the social sciences and into the humanities. This worldview rendered nonscientific knowledge systems invalid. I believe epistemicide is a primary reason we as moderns have lost our sense of belonging...

(Science) is still only metaphor - words and numbers describing realities that are indescribable (time is an illusion!)... Science today (and for some time now) wields power. And science itself tells us that power makes us less likely to take on the perspectives of other people - it's shown we pay more attention to those we deem powerful... Power is wielded by those who master language and argument as well as access and resources...

All language is metaphor .. Some of it is complex. Some of it is simple (and poetic). All of it, as the Zen Buddhists say, "fingers pointing at the moon." We can call it a spirit realm or the energy patterns, but we will still  have a hard time rationally understanding the myriad things that form the mystery and wonder of belonging.'


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The Joyful Environmentalist

From 'The Joyful Environmentalist' by Isabel Losada

The following extract refers to a tree planting scheme in Scotland to recreate the Caledonian Forests:-

'This hillside is barren. There is no shelter, no protection from the biting wind or the driving rain. This is Scotland and we're in the Highlands. The saplings look so fragile. They are fragile. They have each been grown lovingly from seed and when we push them into the cold ground they are between 6 and 9 inches high. We give them one meal in their planting hole, one kiss and then they are on their own. But they have two friends each. We're planting them in groups of three: two downy birch and one rowan per overturned area. Trees, as we know, have ways of communicating with each other and supporting each other under the ground. seriously, they do. If nutrients are scarce, they share them: if danger arrives, they warn each other. Don't ask me how - but they do. So, the trees have two friends each. As they grow they will protect each other.

We dig another hole, add mixture, push in a tree, fill up any air gaps with earth and repeat. Four hours later we stop for hot coffee and tomato sandwiches. Then we plant from 2pm till 5pm. This is what I call a 'Zen job' - it requires lots of action and very little thought, other than the occasional, 'Would this tree be better higher up the mound or down a bit?' or 'Is that pushed in firmly enough?' Apart from having to watch where you put every footstep, there is no room to think. No thoughts of past broken hearts or future anxieties. Each tree is far more important. And so, with each of us fully noticing the miracle, with no breath to talk but with our eyes and hearts open - we plant another tree and another until, with ten of us working for a day, another thousand trees are planted and we are walking carefully back down the hillside, as happy and satisfied as a bunch of scraggly volunteers can be.' (pp 18 - 19: Earth 1.)

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Building calm


In times of duress we can help ourselves build a core of calm to strengthen our resilience to better cope with challenging times.


The following is taken from Rick Hanson's online Wednesday meditation series.


'Brain tips for deep calm' (24/09)


1. Take a minute every day to focus on really calming the body, for example through making long exhalations.Take 3 breaths where the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation (3 secs: 6 secs). Simply breathing into the diaphragm reduces anxiety as can focusing on the eyes, and the space between the eyes.  The parasympathetic nervous system is being primed to soothe and calm the body. This kind of breath practice and visualising focus for a minute at a time can help build trait relaxation - neurologically we are hard-wiring new ways of being.


2. Grounded in research on memory and learning - we have discovered the benefit of knowing where we are and what is okay about it. This goes back to our rodent ancestors - often related to what they were smelling. The capability of the brain for place memory - focusing on and highlighting where you are is calming.

This is especially the case if there is trauma history. Ask: 'What is ok in the place where you are?". Whatever is going on outside - and the place may not be perfect - but what is okay about it? When there's inner insecurity and shakiness, we can still literally 'know our place'. From the conceptual this can become embodied. This knowing comes from a very ancient part of our brain where self-protection is key.


3. We can gain calm through relatedness ... thinking about people important in our lives... looking at photos of family members ... or reminding ourselves of those people who serve as examples to us .. teachers, mentors, spiritual guides.

Having a sense of community and identification with others can both soothe and strengthen.


4. Deep within us there is an animal vitality, a sense of fundamental resilience where we can draw upon a core of strength and grit that remains when all else is down. A feistiness, determination that we can draw on at moments of huge challenge. This is deep visceral knowing we can remind ourselves about.


These are simple ways to build resilience in our minds and bodies. 






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