We believe that democracy as a way of life can be strengthened and deepened through spiritual practices—both those traditionally considered to be "inner work" and those that require active engagement with our neighbors and communities. In partnership with our friends at Spirituality & Practice, we are sharing monthly practices to help us all “practice democracy” from the inside out.
In these tumultuous times, "practicing democracy" can feel overwhelming. Maintaining our well-being requires finding our center, our sense of balance, our breath, again and again.
This way to "practice democracy" comes from The Sufi Book of Life by Neil Douglas-Klotz. Many people observe their breath during meditation. This is a different way of doing breath meditation, using it to reinforce your sense of freedom, compassion, positivity, and hope. These feelings in turn enhance your resilience.
“Perhaps right now life is calling you to reach deeper within yourself for [your] source of compassion, or to remember it as you begin a new project, relationship, or phase of life. Or the message may be to first direct some of this compassion to your inner self. Even if you feel restricted and unable to shine outwardly, acknowledge and love this limited part of yourself unconditionally. Just as we are held within our mother’s womb until the time is right for us to be born, we can think of our own limitations as a new self waiting to be born...,” writes Douglas-Klotz.
“Take a moment today to breathe in the heart. Then place your hands lightly over your belly as you expand the heart to include it, and breathe more and more deeply there. Feel a sun there, radiating warmth and positivity in all directions.”
How might this practice ground your sense of freedom and hope?