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The Fertile Act of Thanks Giving

by | Nov 23, 2015 | Mindfulness | 0 comments

Take a moment to talk about gratitude.

This week I want to take a moment to talk about gratitude. As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, we are confronted with a global violence crisis and a domestic fertility crisis that have me reflecting on how crucial it is now, more than ever, to incorporate mindfulness into our modern lives; for the sake of our yet to be born children, for the world’s children, for ourselves, our fertile health and for an increasingly violent, disconnected and destructive global community.

To become mindful is to see the world afresh without being lost in our reactions and judgments, and in seeing it afresh with a clarity, we begin to be able to respond to the world rather than react to it. Practiced in the East and in the West, in ancient times and in modern societies, mindful awareness techniques help people move toward well being. Some people hear the term mindfulness and think “religion.” But the reality is that focusing our attention in this way is a biological process that promotes health – a form of brain hygiene – not a religion. Learning the skill of mindful awareness is cultivating the integration of consciousness.

Cultivating the integration of consciousness — which modern neuroscience has now shown in 3,000 papers and studies in the last two decades to help bring emotional regulation, steady attention and physical healing, including reproductive healing — really allows us to become present for our own body and for the life we’ve been given. Out of that grows quite naturally the spirit of gratitude.

Anne Wilson Schaef has described ours as an addicted society. Whether it’s consumerism or addictive substances or working 80 hours a week, we have things that keep us busy because, in some ways, the culture wants us to keep engaged and not to look around much… not to see the consequences of synthetic birth control hormones, toxic food, overworking, the struggles of people, skyrocketing infertility, the continuing injustice, the economic disparities, the people who are hungry, climate change. What becomes clear is that there’s no outer fix or satisfaction — no amount of assisted reproduction, no amount of nanotechnology or biotechnology and all the great things that we’ve developed that will stop us from continuing to struggle to conceive, warfare, racism and environment destruction.

A transformation of human consciousness.

Those outer developments have to be matched by a transformation of human consciousness to realize that we are interdependent and that our fertility depends on the food we eat, the birth control we take, the words of our parents and our doctors, society and politics, the air we breathe, and on the cultural attitude regarding female and male fertility. We are woven, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, into a single garment of destiny. When we see this, we begin to realize that the values of modern society — which start to become emptier and emptier — don’t satisfy the heart and are NOT FERTILE, not sustainable. When we look at what’s satisfied us in the past week after the devastation in Paris, it’s been the connections, the love and the openness for those who are suffering through this violence. This really is the basis for gratitude.

Mindfulness is a science of mind.

Mindfulness is a science of mind which simply offers us training that can steady and balance our attention, and give us a deeper connection to ourselves and one another. Fortunately, with all those 3,000 research studies that I mentioned and the great neuroscience that’s been done, it becomes clear with the understanding of neuroplasticity that we can train our mind and our heart through attention. It helps schoolchildren, it helps inmates, it helps relationships, it helps CEO’s, it helps women and men struggling to conceive, whether they’ve been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, have challenges ovulating, male factor, endocrine disorders, failed IVF’s  — the ability to steady the attention to be fully present is an enormous gift. I’ve seen mindfulness as a training and as an opportunity for the growth of presence and wisdom to be spreading in all these areas.

For those who argue that mindfulness is too inactive, leaving the practitioner cut off from the culture, from what really matters; in fact, mindfulness allows us to become agents of change because we are actually attentive and present for what is without being overwhelmed by it and without distracting ourselves. In that way, mindfulness is actually one of the necessary components of making a real transformation in the world. It supports it, and it leads towards it, and it allows people to evoke great change. If you work toward fertile health but you do it out of anger and frustration and guilt — and all of those other motivations I’ve seen among women I’ve worked with — you will burn out. But if that same compassion and care comes instead from the power of GRATITUDE, love and steadiness and a deep devotion to practices that promote fertility; the food you buy, the medicine you take (or don’t take), the practices you do everyday at home, it has equal if not greater power.

Mahatma Gandhi took one day a week in silence, even in the midst of marches of thousands and the ending of the British colonial empire. When everything was in the middle of this huge transformation, he would say, “I’m sorry, this is my day of silence.” And he would sit and quiet himself and try to listen to what was the most compassionate and skillful and powerful response he could make, coming from that deep center of wisdom. So rather than removing us from the world, it allows us to affect the world in a different and in many cases more profound way.

Take a moment and sit quietly with yourself.

During the business of the holidays, take a moment and sit quietly with yourself DAILY and listen to your body, mindfully. Ask yourself, what is the most compassionate, skillful and powerful response I could make? If I am interested in a peaceful world and a fertile society and body, what is the most powerful response I could make? Self Aggression or Self Kindness?  Perfection or Humility? Condemnation or Gratitude? Resentment or Thanksgiving?

I want to end this post with heartfelt gratitude for YOU – those who are interested in this transformation of human consciousness so your fertility can blossom and so your yet to be born children grow into a fertile, peaceful world.

It takes courage to be thankful.

It takes courage to be thankful when you long for a child – to face loss and heartbreak with kindness and humility. The alternatives, however, are simply not sustainable, nor are they fertile. The world needs your courage. Thank you.

Buffy

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