The Core Practices
We tend to move through life with blinders on or with eyes closed, unaware of how we participate in creating the situations that most perplex us. We often react quickly, habitually, and without thought and then wonder what happened. We may feel we are making up our own minds when we are actually operating blindly from unexamined mental models. It is essential to first see what is happening before we can understand what we are doing and why. Only then is it possible to change the way we show up and the way we engage with others. As we increase awareness we will recognize that two people who see the same thing may have totally different responses or reactions to what they just saw. We can then move beyond reaction into response, which can change any of life’s interactions.
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Compassion invites us to a more open hearted, nonjudgmental way of integrating our awareness. Unless we slow down and reflect on what happens inside us and around us it can be tempting to quickly dismiss or react. A compassionate presence eases tensions, invites us to look deeper, and invites us to connect more intentionally with the deeper stories and realities inside and around us. It is not just being compassionate with others but with ourselves as well. When we practice compassion, we are better able to look into our own heart, discover what causes us pain, and then refuse to inflict that pain on anyone else. As a practice, it helps us learn how to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and to respond as though the situation was happening to us personally; not as a defense maneuver, rather in alignment with another.
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Practicing Creative Freedom invites us to explore the blocks that seem to keep us from connecting with each other and to creatively engage in ways that free us from those blocks. With creative freedom we can release ourselves from those charged, polarized positions of opinion and belief that cut us off from each other. We can allow ourselves the freedom to recognize our default defended reactions and choose a different way of engaging, a different and healthier way of treating ourselves and each other.
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Interdependence invites us to realize that we impact each other. Even people we do not know are impacted by us, and we can be impacted by them. Our attitudes, thoughts, actions, and beliefs make a difference. What would it be like to understand and live out of the idea that we need each other? The challenges of this complex interconnected world require the most thoughtful, compassionate, creative engagement to free us to recognize and meet our common needs. This way of being invites us to practice ways of thinking and acting as part of a web of relationships and impact.
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