For those of us in the United States, the autumn holidays can also be seen as Colonization season, with the dominant culture celebrating occasions like Columbus Day and Thanksgiving, both of which have direct ties to settler colonialism and the suffering of Indigenous people. In this edition of The Quieted Mind, James leads us in a recitation of the Haundenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. Despite the title, this address has no connection to the North American Thanksgiving holidays. It is an invocation recited at the opening and closing of religious and cultural meetings among people of the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations). In reciting it, the Haudenosaunee express and reaffirm their gratitude for life, the world around them, and the interconnectedness of all things. Join with us in honoring the Haundenosaunee people and decolonizing our understanding of Thanksgiving as we feed and nourish seeds of love and gratitude.
The change of seasons, for some of us, can bring to the surface any number of thoughts and emotions. Times like these are a perfect opportunity to stop and breathe, to unite our body and mind as we acknowledge that our true home is the here and now. In that lull between summer fun and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and even in the midst of these things, we can always return to our true home. This is the heart of our practice.
In this episode, we are introduced to the practice of Metta, or Lovingkindness meditation, and its origins in early Buddhist teaching. Metta meditation practice can be a useful technique in breaking down our notions and concepts of separateness and realizing the interconnectedness of all sentient beings.
In our everyday lives, we spend so much of our waking hours running away from the present moment. We run around making ourselves busy, chasing whatever’s next. When we have a chance to stop this rushing and running, our thoughts are often consumed with fears about the future or regrets about the past.
The practice of conscious breathing is a way for us to stop running, quiet our minds for a moment, and fully inhabit the present moment with our body and mind. It can help bring us into a state of calm and ease, and leave us better equipped to face life’s circumstances as they arise rather than losing ourselves in constant worry about what *might* happen.