Daily Practice for 2017.10.09 – What will you notice today?

Meditation

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

This is a zettabyte. Something I never considered until Friday. This number is used primarily to measure amounts of information. I believe that 2010 was the first year we crossed the zettabyte in data creation. In 2011, we created 1.8 zettabytes.

An article in the Digital Journal describes a zettabyte this way:

"The study says 1.8 zettabytes of data is equivalent to every person in the United States tweeting three messages per minute for the next 26,976 years non-stop. It is also equal to more than 200 billion high definition two-hour movies, which would take one individual 47 million years to watch."

This is incomprehensible.

With this creation of the largest data that we have ever experienced is the decrease in the human attention span. There is a magical number of 8 seconds being floated around vs. the 9 second attention span of a goldfish. But this is not true. It is a misreading of the data. There is a change in the way things hold our attention. From the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog:

"The overriding conclusion of the science on this is pretty clear: our attention isn’t diminishing; it’s becoming more demanding. It processes information increasingly intensively – and it’s almost always hungry for more. The neuro-scientific driver of this is the chemical dopamine, which makes us feel good and is released every time we do something rewarding. When we find something interesting, we get a dopamine hit. When we spend time reading or watching something dull and pointless, we don’t."

The idea being that our attention span is greatly decreased when we are doing something dull and pointless. But also this increased demand puts a pressure on our minds and bodies. It has led to what some have called the Attention Economy. In the attention economy, we can become information addicts. Consuming movies, articles, writing and more information seeking that next hit of dopamine. It is, indeed, the information highway at hyperspeed. Maybe we should call it the information hyperspace route.

All this is to say there is a crap ton of information floating around at every moment and we are smack in the center.

Don't you want to call a time out? I do! One antidote to the information hyperspace route is to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness has four components:

1. Present-centered awareness. Not focusing into the future or thinking about the past, but paying attention to right now.

2. Intention-doing such things on purpose. It is easy to be present if you hear a big kablam. But that isn't an intention moment. Well, unless you are creating the kablam.

3. Ability to discover novelty-seeing with new eyes or David Tracy's (philosopher) second naivete. Noticing how many greens are in a tree again for the first time. Savoring a sip of tea.

4. Non-judgmental acceptance

You can make anything into a mindfulness practice if you can involve those four qualities. Andy Puddicombe talks about mindfulness in his Ted Talk (video below):

His mindfulness practice is 10 minutes of sitting still. Other mindfulness practices are:

- a walk to nowhere: literally take a walk as you are able and don't make decisions about your route until you are at the decision point. Stay centered in the space and time that you are at rather than thinking ahead.

- mindful eating: savor each bite of a meal or snack. Don't simply eat. Eat with gusto! Notice the colors, the textures, the feeling in your mouth, the taste, describe it to yourself, savor the moment.

- take an everyday vacation for one week:

*      20 minutes every day, do something enjoyable, doesn't involve a screen
*     Before you go on "vacation" write a journal with all the anxieties, joys, noticings
*     Notice the things that bring pleasure and hold the feeling, savor the feeling
*     When 20 minutes are up, plan your vacation for the next day
*     Do this for 7 days
*     Do a review of the day at the end of the day (like an examen) and look forward to tomorrow
*     At the end of a week, review the whole week
*     Compare your feelings at the end of the week with how you began it

- lens to a new world: take a walk with your camera. Stay open to your surroundings. When you find the place in your walk that is speaking to you, stop and sit or be still with your eyes closed for about five minutes. Open your eyes and start noticing everything. Then start photographing. Take photos from many angles, up high, down low, in close, far(ish) away. When you are done and returned to your starting place, find the one photo you took that grabs your attention. Print it out and put it somewhere close to you.

- mindful prayer: Tara Broch describes it this way: "Whenever we pray, we might begin by reaching out, and in that way remember the warmth and safety of connectedness. Yet, we ground our prayer by reaching inward to the raw feelings of loneliness and fear. Like a great tree, mindful prayer sinks its roots into the dark depths in order to reach up fully to the light. When the pain is deep, the more fully we touch it, the more fully we release ourselves prayerfully into boundless, compassionate presence."

These are just a few suggestions of mindful activities. At BeguineAgain, Donna Pierce writes every Monday on mindfulness. Short and sweet, she always makes an impact.

What mindful activities do you practice? Can you imagine transforming one of your existing activities into one of mindfulness?


What will you notice today?

Onward!

The complete practice today includes:

  • centering with BIBO,
  • breath prayer,
  • music from Vangelis, Mythodea movement 9 with Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman
  • a reflective quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • links to scripture in the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions
  • prayers for the world
  • photo by Nadia Jamnik on Unsplash
  • credit for some of the ideas in this blog post go to Josh Misner, PhD. He writes the blog, Life of Dad.

Centering

Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.

BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh (repeat for one minute)

Breath prayer (repeat 3-5 times):

(inhale) Eyes of Life,
(exhale) Help me see.

Music

Sacred Text

Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen

Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad

Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading

Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran

Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!

Quotable

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Prayers

Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.

Let us pray.

We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while mourning for the desecration of hope.

This week we pray for the countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama.

For signs of hope and peace, we pray for

the mercy workers caring for the many affected by violence
those faithful who practice nonviolence
the rains that come to refresh the land
our political leaders, that their hearts may be softened and sensibility will prevail

For the oppressed and weary, we pray for

those seeking food and shelter, especially those without homes
those affected by hurricanes, especially Puerto Rico
those who have been harmed by violence, especially those in Las Vegas
those who suffer in systems of domination, especially the earth

For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to, we pray.
For the transformation from ME to WE, we pray.
Let peace prevail on earth.
So mote it be.

Lord’s Prayer

Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi

O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.

May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.

Photo by Nadia Jamnik on Unsplash
Categories: daily-practice daily-prayer prayer ritual spiritual-practice

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